Motorcyle Parking in NYC

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, however there may be good places to park a bike in NYC.

Street Parking

Personally, I try very hard never to park on the street between cars. Too many New Yorkers park their car by Braille, and (as I recently found out) it's too easy to pick up and steal a bike that's parked on the street.

When I talk about street parking, I'm refering to the designated/de facto cycle parking zones. Note that many are simply customary, and sometimes the cops will ticket every bike.

You can often park on the sidewalk, but try to be inconspicous, don't obstruct building entrances, fire hydrants, etc.

The level of security in street parking varies greatly. Most of these spaces are fairly good during the day. Overnight parking is more risky, and long term storage may cause your vehicle to be identified as abandoned--either by theives, vandals, or the city.

That said, I'd recommend:

Tickets and Such

Historically, I've had very good luck parking on the sidewalk in various places in NYC. The few tickets I've received have usually been under unusual circumstances--when the Presidential motorcade was due to travel down the block where I was parked, when my alarm got a noise complaint, etc.

I've never gotten a ticket from a ``brownie'' or traffic enforcement agent.

Recently, a police officer in the precinct whre I live had a ``personal problem'' with my sidewalk parking, and begain ticketing me daily (ouch).

The fine for parking on the sidewalk is $50.00.
The fine for an obscured license plate or registration is $35.00. Any type of cover that goes over your plate or registration sticker is technically obscuring it. This does include clear plastic panels and flaps to easily view the plate.
If you remove your plate, you may be ticketed for not having a license plate. That ticket can reach you through the VIN number or registration number on your motorcycle. This in uncommon, but possible.


Recently there has been a change in the city's attitude toward motorcycle parking. Long-time motorcycle zones (official or not) such as 5th Avenue and 25th Street and Park Row, are now off limits. There have been reports of mass towings. Park with caution, and not for an extended period.

Now the good news:

As of September 24, 1995, all parking tickets must be legible. Not being able to read the ticket is a fair defense.


Many parking garages, even the open-air lots, will refuse to accept motorcycles. Some parking lot attendents mumble about insurance, some mumble about damages, and some mumble about liability. Some just mumble. You may be able to park by slipping the attendent some cash ($10 is a good start) and putting your bike in some out-of-the-way corner.

I've heard all sorts of stories (including one garage that insisted on $100/hour if I wanted to park the bike). I've had better luck with the outdoor lots--park as close as possible to the attendant's hut.

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Original map courtesy of Data Diction, makers of the Which? Restaurant directories.

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