1st July 2015
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.
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
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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
As 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
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
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.”
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.
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
Title Category Address Description Belfast - Linenhall Street Motorcycle Parking 54.59591963996221,-5.929980486653221 Motorcycle Parking Bay - Linenhall Street - Belfast Belfast - Bankmore Square Motorcycle Parking 54.59276119769049,-5.931557625553978 Motorcycle Parking Bay - Bankmore Square - Belfast Belfast - Black Man Motorcycle Parking 54.59717580051784,-5.9347709119538194 Motorcycle Parking - Black Man - Belfast Motorcycle parking is still being allowed here - as it has for years - however a bit of a "hotspot" for motorcycle theft - Lock It Or Lose It! Bangor - Queens Parade - Car Park Motorcycle Parking 54.66291784784544,-5.670995816763025 Motorcycle Parking - Queens Parade - Car Park - Bangor - Motorcycle parking has been in place for many years - hitching posts to chain your bike to and is bollarded off from the cars - achieved by local motorcyclists Bangor - Sainsburys Motorcycle Parking 54.64485807002712,-5.67158719899453 Motorcycle Parking - Sainsbury's - Bangor Belfast - Newtownbreda - Tescos Motorcycle Parking 54.550846746169654, -5.920399636052025 Motorcycle Parking - Tescos - Belfast - Newtownbreda Newtownards - Mill Street - Car Park Motorcycle Parking 54.59343595168334,-5.699873775265587 Motorcycle Parking - Mill Street Gasworks (South) - Car Park - Secure and Free Parking. Bangor - Bloomfield Shopping Centre Motorcycle Parking 54.64790668148931, -5.656859100563452 Motorcycle Parking - Bloomfield Shopping Centre - Bangor Belfast - Dundonald Hospital Motorcycle Parking 54.59548614886167, -5.809530437036301 Dundonald Hospital - Belfast - The last time we were there motorcycle parking was signposted but a bit out of the way from the main enterance. Newcastle - Central Promenade Motorcycle Parking 54.209125571251754, -5.891214609146118 Motorcycle parking on Newcastle Sea Front - Beside Newcastle Visitor Centre Coleraine - Motorcycle Parking Motorcycle Parking 55.1326973419803,-6.672048568889295 Motorcycle Parking - Coleraine - Sign Posted Belfast - May Street - Proposed Motorcycle Parking Proposed Motorcycle Parking 54.59632738360175,-5.9225346744278795 Proposed Motorcycle Parking Bay - May Street - at the junction with Oxford Street on the Law Library side - Belfast Belfast - College Square East - Proposed Motorcycle Parking Proposed Motorcycle Parking 54.59663704747639,-5.934783026750665 Proposed Motorcycle Parking Bay - College Square East - at the entrance to RBAI - Belfast - Bays on both sides of the road Belfast - College Square East - Proposed Motorcycle Parking Proposed Motorcycle Parking 54.59662306256415,-5.93469183148045 Proposed Motorcycle Parking Bay - College Square East - outside Electronic Centre - Belfast - Bays on both sides of the road Belfast - Brunswick Street - Proposed Motorcycle Parking Proposed Motorcycle Parking 54.59515184638453,-5.933059662602318 Proposed Motorcycle Parking Bay - Brunswick Street - outside the Travelodge Hotel - Belfast Belfast - Adelaide Street - Proposed Motorcycle Parking Proposed Motorcycle Parking 54.592702766181304,-5.928167313359154 Proposed Motorcycle Parking Bay - Adelaide Street - outside Harvester House - Belfast
Motorcycle Parking Pictures