Motorcycle Parking

1st July 2015

parking-map-250Belfast Parking – Friendly “Revolution”

Belfast City Centre is in the middle of a small motorcycle friendly “revolution”. Motorcycles were allowed access to Bus Lanes over a decade ago and TransportNI are now moving forward with proposals to open free solo motorcycle, scooter and moped on-street motorcycle parking bays.

Two of the planned bays are already in operation at Linenhall Street and Bankmore Street with a further five parking sites planned for Adelaide Street (outside Harvester House), Brunswick Street (outside the Travelodge Hotel), College Square East (two sites – at the entrance to RBAI and outside Electronic Centre) and May Street at the junction with Oxford Street on the Law Library side.

These site locations would appear to have been based on responses from a rider questionnaire – Proposed Provision of Free On-Street Parking Facilities For Motorcycles – that took place in 2013.

The five further planned sites will be open to a public consultation and if there are no objections, TransportNI would hope to implement them this summer.

At Right To Ride we did not specifically push for this free parking, neither do we know of anyone who did. So somewhere somebody has recognised the advantages of motorcycle (Powered Two Wheeler – PTW) commuting that requires a safe place to park at journeys end and return journey. TransportNI (or as they were then Roads Service) have in our opinion played a bit of a blinder on this.

Each site will have between five and eight motorbike bays and will eventually have a pedestrian guardrail installed which will run the entire length of the bay, with intermittent gaps to allow riders to gain access to the footpath, without having to walk to the ends of the bay. The guard rail is positioned behind the kerb line enough so as to avoid contact with wing mirrors or other overhanging parts of your bike. Riders will be able to lock their bikes to the rail.

The bay at Linenhall Street is waiting to have this rail installed.

Bike Theft

bankmoreparking1-250Bike theft and lack of secure parking in public places is not a new phenomenon in Belfast or in any location where motorcycles are parked.

For example we have received a message from a rider that when parking up at the “Black Man” area in Belfast that a passer-by stopped to tell him to make sure that his motorbike was secured as apparently a bike was stolen yesterday by two male youths.

This something to highlight yet again as it’s the same every summer in Belfast, said the rider.

The sites have been chosen due their proximity to CCTV cameras and some will share sites with the new Belfast City Council hire bicycles, which would be seen as a precious commodity to protect.

As one rider said, security is key!

It is up to riders to Lock It or Lose It.

Dead Spaces – Private Estates

parking2-250 At this point we would like to thank the folks at TransportNI for their help in giving us the information we asked regarding the motorcycle parking plans and also for further questions we asked on parking in dead spaces, against buildings and general motorcycle parking.

As we know historically motorcycle parking locations in Belfast has relied on dead spaces including that at the Black Man at College Square East. Although there are thoughts from the annals of time that this space was actually designed for motorcycle parking when the roads were upgraded in that area – very forward thinking as the Black Man motorcycle parking has been there for decades!

So we follow with a review of replies from the TransportNI – folk!

  • Other spots such as Oxford Street and Brunswick Street have been accepted (tolerated). However, where there are parking restrictions at other locations, uncontrolled motorcycle parking on footways is not permitted and where this occurs Traffic Attendants should taking enforcement action.
  • Where it is brought to the attention of TransportNI that motorcycles are regularly parking at such locations, their policy is to issue a Parking Enforcement Advisory Notice. This notice details that they are parked in contravention of a restriction and if detected again at the same location Penalty Charge Notice would be issued.
  • Regarding parking in dead spaces an answer could not be given by TransportNI but an explanation was forwarded.
  • Firstly, some of these dead spaces are on private ground over which TransportNI have no authority or responsibility, for example the area around Lanyon Place in Belfast.

parking-newcastle-pic1-500As one rider explained, “Problem is a lot of these new pedestrian walkways around the new office blocks – Lanyon Plaza – BT and the Hilton – are privately owned so the bikes may also be lifted and impounded. There is no signage up saying that the footpaths are private so folk are risking parking on the path against the buildings hoping there will be no hassle when they get back. With the better weather coming in more guys are using bikes more often creating a lack of legal parking space.”

TransportNI would say that, in these cases motorcycle riders should seek the permission of the owner of the ground or whoever has responsibility for it.

Secondly, when parking motorcycles on the footway or back of a footway, cognisance must be given to the needs of other users, such as, the visually impaired, disabled etc.

Thirdly, and naturally TransportNI, would have to discourage anyone from parking in contravention of restrictions.

However as has been noted by riders, there seems to be no issues with dozens of push bikes securing to the newly planted trees and railings in the same area.

There seems to be one policy for going green, riding a pushbike into town and another for a motorbike.


parking1a-250 The Department for Regional Development’s (DRD) TransportNI takes responsibility for the enforcement of most parking restrictions.

On-the-ground enforcement is provided by TransportNI’s contractor, currently NSL Services Group, who employ the Traffic Attendants.

A “little hint” is that where parking restrictions are marked on the road, for example yellow lines, those restrictions also apply to the footway (pavement).

For the private land around the previously mentioned Lanyon Place then parking enforcement is in the control of private management by PEA – Parking & Enforcement Agency – based in Belfast – part of the NCPS Group – Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems – based in Dublin.

Car Parks

TransportNI also kindly responded with an overview of parking provision for motorcycles in Belfast.

Motorcycles have been, up to the 1st April 2015, permitted to park free of charge in all TransportNI (formerly Roads Service) car parks.

coleraine-parking-4-250Responsibility for car parks was transferred to local Councils on 1st April 2015 and to the best of their knowledge the provision for motorcycles has not changed.

Motorcycles are also permitted to park on-street in Pay & Display (P&D) bays.

However, they must clearly display a P&D ticket or use the more practical option of using cashless parking using the cashless parking service ‘Park Mobile’.

Motorcycle Parking Map

This is the latest of what we know and we hope that you will find our on-line parking map useful, with the motorcycle specific parking locations, not just in Belfast, but in other places that we are aware of, mainly around County Down.

Although we wait to see if the motorcycle parking bays will be signposted for out of town visitors – Tourists – or those that just need to come into Belfast and don’t often venture in.

If there any motorcycle parking spaces that you are aware of let us know and we can get these up on the map!

Links & Information & Original Sources

Right To Right – Motorcycle Parking Map – Click Here
NI Direct Government Services – Off-street and on-street parking – Click Here
NI Direct Governement Services – Parking Enforcement – Click Here

Motorcycle Parking – Extra

bangor parking smallAs previously mentioned motorcycle parking in Belfast in the past has relied on “dead space” areas for motorcycles to park and one specific area at the “Black Man” has been used for decades by riders to park, utilising the barriers in place to secure their machines.

In some circumstances, the initiative to include motorcycle parking in towns in NI has come from the motorcycle community itself.

An example has been the inclusion of secure and dedicated motorcycle parking facilities in Newtownards (Mill Street Gasworks South) and in Bangor (Queens Parade – Marina – Seafront).

Motorcycle parking locations should be:

Signposted clearly, especially those who are not aware of the area but this does not appear to be the case.

Be as close to facilities as possible.

Some supermarkets and shopping centres provide parking space for motorcycles, these provisions seem to be haphazard.

There is no central provision of the location of motorcycle parking facilities which can be viewed. Knowledge of these facilities appears to be down to local knowledge or word of mouth. This does not help if a motorcyclist is not from the area and especially for visitors from outside of Northern Ireland.

Motorcycle Parking Standards – Northern Ireland

sainsburysbollard4-250Standards for motorcycle parking are specified by the Northern Ireland Planning Service as follows:
Parking provision for motorcycles will be assessed on demand.

The number of motorcycles in use in Northern Ireland is approximately 2% of the total number of cars.

Where provided or required the location of motorcycle bays within a development should take account of the requirements of users and recognise that they are vulnerable in tight or enclosed space.

Motorcycle theft is also a problem that concerns most riders.

The provision of carefully planned, secure parking facilities which provide for natural surveillance can help to reduce this concern.

Additional security can be afforded through the provision of security bollards or inground motorcycle clamps to which motorcycles can be chained.

Purpose built security systems are also available which clamp the front wheel of a motorcycle and include combined storage facilities for clothes and accessories.

Northern Ireland Planning Service – Click Here

Trike Parking

trikeparkedpic1-250 Jackie Hill from “N.I. Bikers & Trikers Riding For Charity” contacted the DRD’s Road Service, Parking Enforcement Unit regarding parking for trikes and recieved a response, which we picked up from their Facebook page. Jackie gave us an, “Absolutely, go for it” when we asked to put the info up.

It is good information and good advice with a Trike being defined as a motorcycle for off street parking.

Excellent stuff and while the advice may seem to be somewhat complicated it is workable and remember to add a pen to your motorcycle gear!


Under current legislation for off-street parking, a motorcycle is defined as “a mechanically propelled vehicle not being an invalid carriage or motor car having fewer than 4 wheels”.

Your trike may therefore also be defined a motorcycle in which case the following applies:

Motorcycles can avail of free parking in pay and display car parks providing they park wholly within a parking bay or in a space designated for motorcycles.


The reply mentions Control Parking Zones (CPZs) – where all permitted vehicles (including trikes) are expected to pay and display (p & d) the same tariff.

But recognising that p & d tickets attached to motorcycles (or similar) in an outdoor environment may get blown away or stolen,

Where you are forced to use a p & d bay, riders are advised to write ‘Motorcycle’ (or Trike in your case) and their registration number (number plate) on their ticket to avoid it being stolen.

Such sites also suggest that riders invest in a weatherproof holder (similar to a tax disc holder) in which to place a valid p & d ticket to be clearly visible for Traffic Attendants on patrol.

It is also generally recommend that you record the unique reference number from the p & d ticket should you need to refer to it as proof of purchase if you are issued with a Penalty Charge Notice for failing to display a valid p & d ticket and you wish to challenge on the grounds that you purchased a p & d ticket.

Full information – Click Here

Scottish Guidance for Road Authorities on Motorcycles

“Motorcycle users will naturally look for parking opportunities close to their destination because the relatively small-size and flexibility of the motorcycle allows easy progress through traffic and the exploitation of marginal parking opportunities without causing obstruction.”

“Any difficulty in finding a suitable formal parking area will tend to negate the natural advantages of motorcycle use, if riders looking to park for any length of time are to use formal facilities, they need to be able to find them.”

“Physical security need not be difficult or expensive to provide, and inclusion of fixed robust features such as rails, hoops or posts designed to provide a simple locking-point for securing motorcycles is often all that is required.”

Parking Information

European Cities have either provided bays or have a more relaxed attitude to motorcycles parking on pavements.

The Australian motorcycle council offers guidelines on parking motorcycles on pavements.

The UK’s British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) has produced a resource guide for Parking for Motorcycles and Scooters.

The Department for Transport (DfT) in GB has produced a Traffic Advisory Leaflet regarding motorcycle parking.

United Kingdom

Weston-super-Mare Seafront Bike Park – Weston & North Somerset Motorcycle Action Group pdf – 2.66mb
Department for Transport – Motorcycle Parking Leaflet pdf 806kb
Parking for Motorcycles and Scooters – A Resource Guide – BMF pdf 1.71mb
Vehicle Parking Standards – Essex Planning Officers Association – August 2001 pdf 319kb


Provision For On Road Motorcycle Parking – Vic Roads – April 2001 pdf 92kb
Guidelines for Parking Motorcycles on Footpaths – Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council (VMAC) – June 2001 pdf 231kb

Motorcycle Parking Map

Zoom out the map to see other locations – If you know of any specific motorcycle parking in Northern Ireland drop us an email of the location (a picture would also be good) –  email
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Motorcycle Parking Pictures

On SmugMug

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  1. As the ‘Black Man’ parking area in Belfast has gotten a mention I would like to provide a warning to all riders using this area just as I do week in week out.
    In early September I spotted a youth tampering with my ignition wiring in the middle of the day! Luckily I had caught him on early enough that he hadn’t damaged anything apart from snapping a few cable ties but I believe he was setting the bike up to be stolen.
    My bike wasn’t chained or alarmed so it was an easy target. The owner of the running shoe shop across the road had also spotted him and called the Police and he said he regularly saw spide type youths hovering around the bikes during the day and had even saw a group loitering with a large set of bolt cutters in the past.
    I know of one bike that was stolen from there a couple of years ago and found destroyed in West Belfast. The owner never received the full value of the bike from his insurance company.
    I would recommend using a heavy chain and locking it to the railings, if you can, everytime you park. The police spy street cameras don’t cover that area so you cant depend on video footage if the worst should happen.
    My bike and another one beside mine was also tampered with recently and you should check your bike for anything suspicious or out of sorts before you ride off for your own safety.

  2. Did you know that Roads Service in Belfast is currently trialling an alternative way of paying for car parking. It is a cashless system in which you can use your mobile phone to pay.
    Details of how the service works are provided on individual parking machines.
    If the trial is successful, consideration will be given to extending the service across the whole of the on-street and off-street pay and display parking network.
    We hope that motorcycle charging will not be included in any future plans.
    More information at

  3. The Roads Service left questionnaires on bikes for riders this week in Belfast regarding a pilot project to consider allocating free motorcycle parking for motorcycles. This could involve converting some existing city centre car pay and display parking spaces to motorcycles spaces. Proposed sites would be in busy public areas. Anchor points may not be be provided though. This is a very welcomed proposal and I applaud Roads Service for considering it at least.
    Dedicated FREE motorcycle parking without time limits is a great concept considering the limited spaces that motorcyclists currently are able to occupy in Belfast and riders would be able to park without any worries of receiving a parking ticket. The recent changes made to the Met College traffic island used by bikers have made it more awkward for riders who use it, with more limited access and space for parking. It appears that riders were not considered when they planned the changes in any case so alternative areas would be great,
    Anyway I would encourage anyone who received the questionnaire to complete and return it so they receive some feedback at least and show we have a presence and an interest that they meet riders needs for parking in Belfast.

  4. Like many others I have been parking on the College Square East traffic Island for years. I noticed this week that the majority of the area is currently ‘out of bounds’ for parking, whilst they are installing what appeared to be bicycle bays in the area where motorcycles usually park.
    I have today been informed of the new Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes scheme which is being launched in Belfast. It’s now apparent that this area will be one of the 30 new public bike share scheme locations for Belfast, and the area is being installed with bicycle ‘docking stations’. Im not sure if motorcyclists have been considered before this area was earmarked for the scheme as the council would have been well aware that motorcyclists have been parking there for decades, (albeit unofficially), without any issues. Im sure a kiosk of some sort will also have to installed in the area which would further reduce motorbike parking, or possibly put an end to its use by motorcyclists.
    Personally for me, as a daily commuter, this has always been a very convenient location for parking. If no alternative free parking is offered in a location nearby I would have to consider not using my bike for commuting and switch to the car as it can be too uncomfortable and difficult to walk whilst wearing and/or carrying motorcycle gear over even reasonable distances, (due to overheating/bike boots/luggage, etc).
    I will be watching this installation closely to see what happens.

    • Thanks Jay
      We have put this info up on our Facebook page for discussion and have mentioned this in an email to the Minister responsible – in a general reply on other issues – non-slip man hole cover treatments – stone chip dressing – wire rope barriers.
      Trevor Baird
      Right To Ride

  5. Hey guys,
    I’m after a bit of advice on parking in Belfast City centre.
    My work office has just moved into the city centre and I commute on my bike. Until now I haven’t needed to park in the city centre for the entire day. I’ve located two possible places to park and wanted to know your experienced thoughts on which would be safest.
    The obvious fist option is at the Black Man. The second is the corner of Brunswick St and Amelia St (behind Robinson’s). Both spots are about the same distance from my new office building and I’d welcome any thoughts.
    I plan to use a disc lock on my front wheel and a chain around the back wheel (and also preferably through a fence/railing).

    • Hi Pete
      Our own opinion would be that your best bet would be behind Robinson’s as feedback on the Black Man is that it would appear to be a bit of a target for bikes not secured too well.
      The Coca-Cola Zero Bike Scheme (Boris Bikes) seems to be going to use both these sites for their bikes, so we have asked and are waiting for a reply for the continued use for motorcycles all Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs).
      We have other stories of the “wee scrotes” not really giving a flying two bobs worth wherever a bike is parked even with the owner challenging them.
      So the disc lock and chain around the back wheel and through a fence/railing would be the least measures to take.
      We have put your query up on the Facebook page for any advice from those that regularly park in Belfast.
      We have also recently chased this up – from 2013 to see if this is being progressed:
      If you have been parking in Belfast last week, you may have had a questionnaire placed on your bike from Roads Service – Proposed Provision of Free On-Street Parking Facilities For Motorcycles.
      The survey is intended to access the parking needs of riders in Belfast with the hope to improve motorcycle parking facilities in Belfast city centre.
      The intention then is to carry out a pilot project by converting some existing on-street Pay and Display parking bays, at a number of locations throughout Belfast City Centre, to allow motorcycles and scooters to park free of charge and without time limit.
      On Right To Ride – Click Here

  6. Thanks for the detailed response Trevor. I got a space behind Robinson’s this morning and it turned out there were quite a number of bikes parked there when I was heading home.
    I know that parking on the pavement is risky (or just not allowed?) but I did see a number of bikes parked against and locked to the cycle posts running up Upper Queen St. No one (i.e. Traffic wardens) seemed to be bothering them.
    I’m assuming these guys have been parking there for some time and that experience has taught them that they can do it without getting a ticket.
    I’ve told myself that I should ask a traffic warden for their thoughts the next time I see one (although I wouldn’t want to inadvertently get anyone into bother by bringing it up).
    So far, the area at the back of Robinson’s seems to be spot on, although I’m only basing that on my first day. I’m sure time will tell me better.
    Thanks for the help,

  7. Thanks Trevor.
    I’ll certainly keep you posted if I encounter any issues. I haven’t bothered asking any questions of the traffic wardens. I thought it best not to draw unnecessary attention to the bikes already parked on the pavement.

  8. View our new motorcycle parking map.
    You can zoom out the map to see other locations – outside Belfast – If you know of any specific motorcycle parking in Northern Ireland drop us an email of the location (a picture would also be good) – email

  9. Digging through some old paperwork we found this newspaper clipping from the nineties regarding local riders and motorcycle parking at Queens Parade in Bangor.
    The result over a decade later is that the parking put in place is still there even if the original riders involved have had a bit of a “fight” to retain the parking.

    Charge of the bike brigade

    By John McGurk
    They’ve been all revved up but with nowhere to park for the past few month.
    But bikers in Bangor could soon have some places to call their own if government officials.. tell them ‘that’s your lot’ down on the seafront this week.
    For an amazing open air meeting of minds is under starter’s orders between the leather clad members of the Predators Motorcycle Club, local councillors and the DOE.
    Bangor’s easy riders feared that recent stalling tactics by officialdom about apparent illegal bike parking on Queen’s Parade would force them to ride off into the sunset.
    But as the end of the road loomed for the impromptu Sunday teatime seaside meetings, a lifeline has been thrown from unlikely quarters … two local female councillors.
    Predators club spokesman Glen Thompson explained that over recent months, members were regularly being fined for parking on the pavement.
    “We had been shifting our bikes off the road to give car owners, especially disabled drivers, places to park. But then we were being penalised for parking on the pavement.”
    “We didn’t know what to do. But then we got In touch with the council and they have been great.”
    “There is this heavy stereotype and reputation attached to bikers.”
    “But after meeting us, the councillors have a completely different opinion of us than the norm.”
    “I wear the leather jacket; leather jeans and boots. But there’s no skull or crossbones anywhere. I’m a towbar fitter. I’m 37 and have been riding bikes since I was 16 years of age.”
    “My girlfriend, Tracey Is a school teacher and she loves bikes too.
    “When we’re down at Queen’s Parade we just sit having a cup of coffee and a natter – it’s all bike talk.”
    Now councillors, Roberta Dunlop and Anne Thompson are determined to get their spoke at the charge of the bike brigade meeting this Tuesday with the DOE.
    Mrs Dunlop said: “I remember the days of the Paddock area on Bangor seafront in the Sixties where the bikers used to congregate and they were never any problem then. They don’t cause any problems now either. They are all decent lads – there is not a bad one among them. But they have a problem now.”
    “They pay their road tax like anybody else and we want to help them find somewhere safe and secure to leave their bikes.”
    A Department of the Environment spokesman confirmed that one of its officials would meet a Predators delegation in an attempt to solve the situation.

  10. More from the archives on motorcycle parking this time relating to motorcycle parking in Belfast – well over ten years ago and we only have something sorted out now – who said things take a while………….and good things come to those that wait?

    Time for bikers to find safe parking

    By David Neely
    A letter writer to this newspaper (Belfast Telegraph) brought crash helmets raining down on his head when he complained about bikers parking their machines in ‘pedestrian areas’ in Belfast.
    He went on to suggest that specially designed bike parks be opened for two-wheelers and their owners charged to use them.
    Then, he argued, riders would have no excuse for putting pedestrians at risk by parking on footpaths and other unsuitable locations’.
    Not surprisingly, the letter drew a response from three readers who ride bikes. They extolled the virtues of two wheels in easing traffic chaos, pollution, wear and tear on roads, etc.
    The writer who made the complaint and those who replied have helped to highlight the plight of trying to find a safe place to park bikes in Belfast.
    The trouble is that bikes are not welcome in most of the city’s carparks. Take the multi storey in High Street. There’s a sign at the entrance which states: ‘No motorcycles or trailers’.
    Now bikers pay their road tax like everyone one else yet there’s ‘no room at the inn’ for them at many parks. It’s about time the powers that be woke up and did something about it.
    Before the Assembly was suspended Ian Paisley Jnr put this question to Roads Minister Peter Robinson: “What is government policy on the use of motorcycles to reduce congestion on our roads and whether he plans any concessions to motorcyclists in recognition of the vital part they play in reducing congestion?”
    Mr Robinson said policy indicated that consideration be given to the contribution motorcycles can make and specific measures to assist them.
    Mr Paisley welcomed the fact that bikes were on the agenda and now, with suspension in force, said he would encourage the direct rule government to deliver on these promises.

  11. Motorcycle Parking at Newcastle – County Down – now added to the Motorcycle Parking Map.
    Click Here

  12. Motorcycle Parking in Coleraine and signposted!

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