Scooter parking: the legalities can be bumpy

| May 30, 2013

For motorcycle safety month, we decided to take a look at a tiny but growing niche – scooter parking. Motorized scooters such as Vespas have become an increasingly popular way to get about town. Beyond the sheer fun factor, they offer low fuel costs and a petite frame that provides the convenience of parking where cars cannot.

But as the volume of scooters in many crowded cities increases, many jurisdictions are scrambling to iron out the ambiguities of how scooters should fit in – and park with – the bicycles, Harleys and conventional vehicles of the world.

scooter parked in toronto

This scooter might be breaking the law in some jurisdictions and not in others. From Simon Carr.

As warm weather opens the doors to more al fresco riding, here are a few cases to watch that could heat up the debate over parking permits and how scooters differ from other two-wheeled vehicles and their four-wheeled cousins.

  • In Delaware, the town of Rehoboth Beach recently began charging a $40 parking permit fee to park a scooter in non-metered spaces. Officials said the fee was instituted in order to discourage scooter owners from parking on sidewalks and in bike racks, which is already prohibited, according to the city’s code.But scooter drivers argue that the law is unconstitutional, given that the city provides property owners with free parking permits for passenger vehicles and motorcycles. One resident has even filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court of Delaware, and is invoking the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment – which requires that state laws treat all individuals in the same manner.
  •  In Washington, D.C., however, scooters are considered motorcycles – requiring owners to take the motorcycle test in order to get the appropriate license, among other things. Although the city has installed on-street bike racks, scooter riders often ride in the bike lane and park at bicycle racks, and on sidewalks, which is illegal. A representative from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has said a plan to add on-street scooter spaces in the crowded city is in development.
  • In another sidewalk-related case, Toronto police have launched a crackdown on riders parking their scooters on the edge of the sidewalk and securing them to bicycle racks. Scooter riders can park on the street for free, however.
  • parked scooters

    [Ed.: Ever-ambiguous laws about parking scooters are among the very, very few things that make this blog’s editor want a Kymco 300i or Honda PCX150 less.] From Edward Langley.

  • In Chicago, it seems even the police aren’t sure about the laws pertaining to scooters. One resident resorted to posting the requirements on her parked scooter after receiving four tickets. Although cars must have a residential parking permit for residential zones, scooters do not.
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    Category: Enforcement, Parking, Transportation

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