Is it all a matter of tolerance and location? Pretty much, I’ve found out.
After doing some more research about this whole parking situation for scooters, I am fairly glad that I am here in Israel where everyone keeps it pretty loose concerning what you can and can’t do with your scooter. I park here and there without any hesitation and don’t have to worry about tickets when I return. I haven’t paid to park in any of the lots since I just make my way up to the store entrance and park off to the side on the sidewalk. I assume there was a more casual way of parking in the states also, but this is just simply not the case.
To note: I am writing based off of my experience driving here in Israel and from traveling throughout Europe. The scooter cultures in both of these places far extend those in the states and therefore the laws( and if their enforced or not) are generally pretty accommodating for the scooter rider. Here in Israel, you can park anywhere you want as long as you aren’t park in the actual flow of traffic on the street. Now that is convenient! It seems that parking in the states is a bit more involved and defined by the laws than in Israel and throughout Europe. The best way to figure out how to do anything in any place that you find yourself, is to observe the locals and do as they do. If there isn’t a local scooter community to figure out such excepted norms for your area, be sure to go off of the rules and regulations you learned during your motorcycle driver course. Also figure out any of the laws that concern parking for scooters in your city and abide by them. You won’t be able to save money from owning a scooter if you get parking tickets: know your local laws! Or at least the local customs of other scooterist and motorcyclists and follow their lead.
Although there is much ado in those areas, when it comes to parking your scooter for the night or for long-term there are some general tips to ensure it is safe and sound:
- Park it away from cars.
- Make sure to lock it up to something that is solid and stable-that cannot be moved or broken. Use a good (heavy) lock you can trust.
- Try to park it in an area that protects it from the unexpected weather elements.
- Always put the “lock” mode on the key switch.
- If you have a cover to put over it, then cover it. It won’t arouse as much attention if no one can see it.
- Park in the shade to protect from discoloration.
- Safety in numbers: park your scooter with others.
- Don’t park in areas that would make it easy for people to have a reason to mess with it.
- Don’t leave valuables in the scooter.
- Try to avoid parking spaces that place your scooter next to cars. It is just a good idea.
- Avoid parking on uneven surfaces – avoid parking on hills.
Here are some other blogs that expand on parking scooters that I thought you’d find helpful,
- http://www.scooterlust.com/scooter-parking-secrets/, generally great post for any scooter parking in states
- http://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2011/01/parking-scooter-in-rome.html , when in Roma ( !! )
- http://www.nycscootering.com/2009/04/10/parking-your-scoot-on-the-streets-of-nyc/ , specific for NYC
- http://citybiker.wordpress.com/2007/04/24/how-to-park-your-motorcycle-on-the-street-in-ny/ , specific for NYC
- http://www.chicagoabate.com/MotorcycleScooterBrochure.pdf , specific for Chicago Scooterists
Also, via City of Chicago:
Q. Is my scooter excused from parking restrictions in the City of Chicago?
A. No. Scooters are required to abide by the same parking laws as other vehicles. Some confusion has resulted from the reliance of some scooter owners on a provision in the Illinois Vehicle Code. This provision likens the operation of a scooter to the operation of a bike. Because bikes can park on the sidewalk, some people think that scooters should be able to park on the sidewalk as well. Unfortunately, the provision does not apply to parking (as parking a scooter does not equate to “operating” a scooter) or to other provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code “which by their nature have no application to [scooters].”
Kind of seems that this is the general mindset in the scooter laws for the states. That isn’t much fun.