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

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