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Clayton: No Scooters on the Sidewalk

September 12, 2006 Parking, Scooters, St. Louis County 33 Comments

Today I was having lunch at the posh Dominic’s Trattoria at the corner of Bonhomme and Brentwood. Upon arrival in my scooter, a bit on the wet side, I parked as I often do within the public right-of-way. Remember, the ROW is everything from one private property to another — sidewalk and street. In this case I was parked out of the line of the pathway of the main sidewalk.

Ideally, I’d not park in such a random place but in this part of the country parking for anything other than a car is hard to find. Don’t scroll down and tell me not to park on the sidewalk just yet — at least hear me out.

I was in Clayton attending this month’s luncheon for the Society of Professional Journalists, the group that I was on panel for last month. The topic this month was Freedom of Information requests! Upon leaving the restaurant I walked across the street to snap a few pictures and noticed a parking enforcement cart pull up behind cars parked on the street near my scooter. The enforcement officer was either there for my scooter or the cars — it quickly became apparent he was there because of my scooter.

As I approached I asked if there was problem. He said he was about to give me a ticket and that I could not part on the sidewalk. I said I was completely out of the path of the sidewalk. I asked where I should park. “In a metered space,” he replied. My scooter, technically a moped due to engine size, is tiny and would surely get run over in such a small space.

Aside from getting hit, it simply doesn’t make any sense to take up a 20ft long parking space for my scooter. How can that possibly be good public policy? I asked where, if I had bicycled instead, I could have parked my bike. His response? At a bike rack. Duh, right? Well, I looked up and down the street and no bike rack was in sight. In fact, I can’t think of a single bike rack in central Clayton. If one exists anywhere, it is well hidden.

Attempts to break our reliance on the single user car are often met with more obstacles rather than solutions. Clayton, like the City of St. Louis, needs to come to grips with bicycles, electric bicycles, mopeds and registered scooters. They will continue to increase in numbers so it would be wise for them to be pro-active.

The fun part of this story was the timing. As I am discussing this issue with the parking enforcement officer out comes one of the panelists from this month, KSKD reporter Mike Owens. Mike asked, “Are you getting a ticket?” When I turned back to the enforcement officer and asked if he knew Mike Owens, his look was priceless. It only took a minute for him to be in his cart and be on his way. Priceless.

Electric-assist bicycles have been around for many years but these are increasing in the marketplace. Really small mopeds, some with pedals and some without, are also becoming a good urban option. And finally, we are seeing electric scooters and hybrid scooters within the realm of affordable. With all these variations on small two-wheel motorized transportation where is the line drawn? If it has any motor at all it cannot be secured on a sidewalk? Would Clayton expect me to park an electric-assist bicycle in a full metered parking space simply because it has a motor and battery?

I have an idea but it will take an old scooter that can potentially be sacrificed. I’d take the scooter to Clayton and park in a metered space at noon, pay the meter and then hide in an adjacent location and film people’s reactions. I think you’ll see more than one person get upset of a small vehicle taking up such a large space. Look out Clayton, you may soon be on camera.

Ok, now you are free to tell me not to park my scooter on the sidewalk.


Currently there are "33 comments" on this Article:

  1. Eric says:


    Seriously though, the scooter clearly would’ve hindered Downtown Clayton’s active sidewalk activity. You know, that heavy pedestrian activity that you always see in Downtown Clayton at night.

  2. awb says:

    This hardly surprises me. It’s not like I ever thought Clayton was so much more advanced than St. Louis in urban matters.

    If there aren’t plates on the scooter, what do they do? Can they issue a ticket? “Tow” it? Knock it over? Boot it?

  3. Tom says:

    I would suggest you take it up with Paul Wojciechowski, Clayton director of public works or Ben Uchitelle, mayor. Both are bikers.

  4. travis reems says:


    If the ordinance does not allow for parking scooters on the sidewalk, I’d support changing it. But until it is changed, its the law. You should have taken the ticket, either paid it or adjudicated it in court. I am surprised you allowed Mr. Owen’s celebrity to influence the outcome of whether or not you got a ticket.

  5. john says:

    If your vehicle is not allowed on the highway (as it should not because of its lack of speed) then it cannot be parked in a metered space. Therefore you cannot park a scooter legally in Clayton if they donÂ’t allow the sidewalks to be used. Is ther an exemption hidden somewhere?

    Clayton Code:
    Parking meter space: Any space within a parking meter zone, adjacent to a parking meter and which is duly designated for the parking of a single vehicle by lines painted or otherwise durably marked on the curb or on the surface of the street adjacent to or adjoining the parking meters.
    Parking meter zone: Any restricted street upon which parking meters are installed and in operation.
    Vehicle: Any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except a device which is operated upon rails or tracks.

  6. brandon says:

    If you are looking for a place to park a bicycle in Clayton, I believe the Mid-County branch library at Maryland & Central has a rack.

  7. Jim Zavist says:

    If it has a motor, it doesn’t belong on the sidewalk. The same goes for those yuppie Harley riders, as well.

  8. Brady Dorman says:

    I don’t believe scooters or bikes should be parked on the sidewalk unless its a designated location with appropriate racks. However thats where we have the problem – there are not enough (or not any at all) designated areas for these up and coming modes of personal urban transportation.

  9. newsteve says:

    As a resident of Clayton, I am seeing more and more scooters everyday. I am also a cyclist and tool around Clayton often, stopping for cofee on my way home, etc. I always leave my bicycle on the sidewalk, usually leaned up against a patio railing or building wall. While probably stupid, I often leave it unattended while in the store, coffee shop, restaurant or whereever. It has never been stolen, nor ticketed. No one has ever commented on it, not even the parking police (beleive me I know them well and they are not the friendliest of people). You are right, though, there are really no bike racks to be found in central Clayton (business district)and this is unfortunate particularly since more and more people are moving in to the numerous condominiums that have been built and are being built. Many of the guys I have coffee with in the morning ride their bikes every day. Certainly it would be a good idea to encourage bicycle use and the placement of racks in convenient locations would go along way to encourage this.

    However, in the last several years I have never seen a scooter parked on a sidewalk in downtown Clayton, or any of the neighborhoods surrounding it. I do, however, often see scooters parked in metered spots. They pay to park like everyone else. Ive never given it a second thought that the scooter took up a whole parking space. I looked at it like it was any other vehicle that was lucky enough to find a space during the day before i got there. Ive never heard anyone complain either. Im sure there are those who would, but . . . there will always be people who will complain.

    Steve, I know you are an advocate of the Smart
    Car – how do you reconcile your argument regarding such a small vehicle taking up a 20 foot parking space making little sense – should we be able to park those on the sidewalk as well?

    Dont get me wrong, I love the idea of scooter use – and it fits particularly well in my county urban setting – perhaps a scooter park zone would make alot of sense – there are several public surface lots that the city of Clayton could set aside a portion of for use – especially if there was a need for it or request. However, even if this was done, you know those people who would probably complain about finding your scooter in a metered spot would park there cars in the scooter zone.

  10. Mill204 says:

    What? No comment about how Pay & Display can save the day?

    [UR Yes, well I was short on time this afternoon so I couldn’t say everything. But, Pay-n-display systems can be helpful where people take only the room they need. The smart fortwo taking up half what an Excursion needs.]

  11. scooters rock says:

    I was meaning to look up your wish list / goals that you posted right after your birthday. How are your goals progressing?

    You sound like you are becoming one of “them”. I see you transforming into some kind of elitist-i’m-to-good type of person. You seem to use your celebrity status as leverage when you can and expect the world to conform to you. On the flip side, I don’t want to judge. What happened to good ol’ Steve? It was clever to use Mike Owens as your protection.

    There are places in this world without paved sidewalks to walk on and people without vehicles to drive. Be thankful for everything you have…..not everything you want is necessarily what you need.

    [UR – To answer your first question, my goals are continually changing. I am continuing to push for a more urban vision for the city as well as influencing local politics. I have, however, pretty much dropped any plans to be a developer of modern infill while I am a grad student — one can only do so much.

    As for your other statements, please elaborate on becoming one of “them” and celebrity status. Perhaps I mislead you above on the phrasing of this post. The parking person said he wasn’t going to give me a ticket as he could see that I was leaving. But when Mike Owens appeared, which was strictly good timing on his part, the guy seemed more willing to move on. Had Owens not appeared I might have continued the debate and talked myself into a ticket (or worse). There was nothing clever about my participation other than making sure the parking guy knew who was teasing me.

    Am I too good to park in the street? If that is what you are thinking then I ask that you look at the size of my scooter relative to a 150cc Vespa and then the full sized truck that was parked on the street in Clayton. It is not that I am better or elitist, it is that I worry that my efficient means of tranportation can be easily stolen or crushed.

    I’m not sure how to convince you that I am not changing. Well, I am changing — hopefully we all are. At SLU I am being opened up to a whole new world of literature and discussions on topics but in between studying I am standing on street corners talking to folks as they leave the grocery store and are forced to walk in the street due to lack of sidewalks. I am visiting communities all over the 8-county region looking for the good and bad and questioning assumptions.

    Yes, I am a becoming somewhat of a local “celebrity.” This is a distinction that for the most part I’d rather not have as I can say, no longer pop into a public meetings unnoticed. Granted my newfound “status” has helped me gain some access to certain people and places while solidly closing doors with others. The level of off-blog communication with decision makers has increased significantly over the last two years and I hope that will result in positive change. I am not using this access so that I can have pictures of me with the big wigs at fancy parties hosted by A-B or to get myself tickets to a ballgame. I am continually working toward a more urban and diverse St. Louis.

    Thank you for the questions and for taking the time to comment. If you see areas where you think I am straying please let me know publicly here or via private email. Perhaps, in some ways, you are right and it is all of you that help keep me accountable just as I try to work to keep developers and elected officials accountable.]

  12. oakland says:

    travis reems said:
    If the ordinance does not allow for parking scooters on the sidewalk, I’d support changing it. But until it is changed, its the law.

    Exactly. Inconvenience is not grounds for breaking a law.

    There are two choices, park at the meter and assume whatever risk inherent in doing so, or accept the ticket and pay it.

    As far as the person above who mentioned the term “highway” as precluding scooters from parking at meters per Clayton code: Consider the definition of “highway” found in Art I, Sec 21-1 of the same:

    Highway: The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

    That is, a publicly maintained road, with no consideration given in the definition to the speed at which you would drive on it. Scooters are legally operable on public roads, so it would certainly seem that scooters fit into the class of vehicles that may park at a meter.

  13. Jim Zavist says:

    We’re really just arguing about where to draw a line. I don’t think anyone wants to see trucks or cars parked on the sidewalk or on the tree lawn (the grassy area between a sidewalk and the curb, and typically part of the public right-of-way). Most of us don’t like/want to see full-size motorcycles (Harleys and the like) parked on the sidewalk. And I know that there are some folks who have a problem with bicycles parked on the sidewalk or tree lawn and chained to a signpost or a tree. That leaves those “cute, little” motor scooters. Unfortunately, the easy legal answer is to just prohibit motor vehicles from parking anywhere except on the street or in a designated parking lot or parking structure. The alternative threshold, needing to be licensed, comes with its own set of unintended consequences – you can’t tell if a scooter needs to be licensed just by looking at one. What would prevent someone from parking a 250 cc scooter on the sidewalk and removing its license plate?

    The other issue is already covered in law, but difficult to enforce with any vehicle. It’s illegal to hit another vehicle or to damage property with a motor vehicle and then to leave the scene of the accident. It’s called hit-and-run. And, no, scooters are not any more prone to becoming a victim of hit-and-run than an automobile is. If anything, if they’re parked legally in a marked parking space, they have the benefit of a lot more space buffering them from adjacent vehicles (fewer door dings). Yes, people may have a lot more fondness for their Vespa or their Fat Boy than they do for their 1999 Cavalier, but fondess does not equate to a right to special treatment. If it’s special, it needs to be parked in the far corner of the parking lot and taking up two spaces, or it needs to be left locked in a locked garage and taken out just for weekend cruising!

    This gets us back to an earlier discussion about the need to provide more parking, altenative parking and the need to provide parking at all. More parking, in general, is viewed as being as anti-urban and is certainly anti-transit. Alternative parking is a muddy area – how many variations of dedicated spaces can (and should) we encourage? Motorcycle? Scooter? Bicycle? Pregnant Mother? New Mother? Mini-van only? Super-size for McHummers? Bus? Motorhome? And reducing and/or eliminating all parking, while urban in its purest sense, is going to be a tough sell in 99% of the metro area . . . .

    Bottom line, scooter parking on the sidewalk IS all about convenience. It’s a bitch having to walk a block or two from the nearest empty parking space, so why not come up with a reason to bend the rules? It IS all about me, isn’t it?!

    [UR – You just don’t quite get it. If they had scooter/motorcycle parking up the street where I could lock up my scooter then I would have gladly parked there and walked. But Clayton and most places have a one size fits all parking policy and that just make any sense when space (and thus parking) is at a premium.

    It would have been much easier to have driven my car and most likely I would have found a space not too far away. Plus, I would have arrived dry! But we all can’t get around in private cars — we simply don’t have the physical space to do so.

    Scooters come in a variety of sizes and mine is on the small side. Given the height of large SUVs it is quite possible one could pull into a space and not really see my scooter parked in it (legally).

    I sometimes park on the street but between two cars — right at the parking meter — perpendicular to the curb. I will do this when a) space allows on the street, b) when I or others are watchful of the scooter so someone doens’t steal it and c) when parking on a sidewalk would create a hazzard by blocking the pedestrian path.

    But think of this in zones. We’ve got a public right of way — often 60ft or so. We designate part for sidewalk and part for road. Why not have a sliver (the tree lawn) for bicycle, electric bicycle, and moped parking with larger vehicles, motorcycles cars and trucks on the street surface. This recognizes that small two-wheel vehicles are a unique type that perhaps deserves different treatment within the right of way. ]

  14. Jim Zavist says:

    sooo . . . should pay-and-display be priced by the foot?! Interesting concept, but it’d eliminate that whole buffer idea that makes parking a small vehicle in a full-size space attractive. But, then again, making the monster SUV’s pay more makes my urban heart beat faster . . .

    [UR – I don’t mind paying to use my share of the public right of way. Pay-n-display works really well for cars of various size such as the smart and the GEM electric vehicles such as those you see downtown.

    Where it doesn’t work well is a motorcycle or moped as someone can easily remove the paid receipt. Still, such a flexible system would allow a motorcycle or moped to park perpendicular to the curb and not worry about strategically placing their vulnerable vehicle in such a manner as to keep someone in a Ford Exployer from backing over it.]

  15. Jim Zavist says:

    I do get it – I just like seeing you “justify” your position. As for designating “a sliver (the tree lawn) for bicycle, electric bicycle, and moped parking”, I don’t have a problem with that IF that’s what the majority of the citizens, in this case, Clayton’s, want to do. We have laws for a reason (to create order in a messy, allegedly civilized world). Unfortunately, laws do have a nasty habit of crimping our style. But to try and argue that laws don’t (or shouldn’t) apply for some righteous reason is to argue for anarchy.

    [UR Anarchy around planning, zoning and development laws? YES!!!!! When these laws were created and passed so many things were never taken into consideration. I’m practicing peaceful protest.]

  16. travis reems says:


    In response to what you posted, “You just don’t quite get it. If they had scooter/motorcycle parking up the street where I could lock up my scooter then I would have gladly parked there and walked.

    It would have been much easier to have driven my car and most likely I would have found a space not too far away. … But we all can’t get around in private cars — we simply don’t have the physical space to do so,” first, scooter and motorcycle (and for that matter bicycle) parking is offered as a convenience for a small minority of the citizenry. More importantly, this is America, land of boundless space, where we do have the space to get around in private cars. Is it desirable for us to do so? Not necessarily, as there are environmental and economic concerns, but there is the space. That space is the reason for sprawl, which you fret about constantly. If we were at a loss for open space, then we would live very different lives, much like those in Tokyo or Hong Kong, but even then the sprawl would just go up instead of out. But that is not the environment in which we live. Most Americans like suburbs, open space, front yards, and their cars. I support your effort to try to enhance the urban design and pedestrian friendliness of our most urban and commercial areas, but that is the limit to where St. Louisans on whole support the urban life-style.

    [UR – Actually there is some debate among researchers as to why people live in cities vs. suburbs vs. rural areas. Some, such as James Howard Kunstler, would argue that suburban sprawl are with us not because they are desirable but because 50 years of government policy has created them.

    To say that people like something over another is to argue they were given a choice, carefully weighed these choices and then reached a decision. Many live in sprawl simply because they do not know anything different. It is hard to say you “prefer” one thing when you don’t know your options.]

  17. zach says:

    As a former St. Louisan having lived in Chicago and currently residing in Manhattan, I’ve found that Vespas and other scooters are routinely parked on the sidewalk, parallel and along the edge of the curb.

    Where else would one park such a vehicle?

    In cities with decidedly busier pedestrian activity, one would assume that this would be an issue.

    Not really.

    Pedestrians have a curious way of finding a path around obstacles and understanding, even respecting, the necessity of placing such a vehicle out of harms way.

  18. Craig says:

    Manhattan also allows garbage bags to be “parked” on the sidewalk throughout the week, zach. So I don’t know if we want to emulate its practices here in Clayton.

  19. zach says:

    Are you sure you don’t know?

    My point had nothing to do with Manhattan’s garbage collection (a method that, mind you, is necessary, not simply “allowed”.) The point was to provide examples of urban environments that understand alternative transportation necessaries and that work to accomodate those needs.

    I also mentioned Chicago, which is free of the offending garbage collection method.

    So what, exactly, is your point?

  20. Craig says:

    My point is that Manhattanites tolerate garbage piling up on their curbs and sidewalks. Therefore, a mere scooter in the sidewalk is a negligible nuisance, and even, comparatively, a welcome sight on the island.

    But here in the STL we are accustomed to uncluttered sidewalks. There is a lot of space here. No reason to park our scooters (or our trash) on the sidewalks. Both have spaces built to accomodate them (dumpsters in alleys and parking spots–there are plenty in Clayton even during a weekday in the midafternoon).

  21. Oh boy, here we go again.
    The same old arguement between us scooterits and the “other” talking about what they obviously don’t know jack about.

    For one thing, there is a HUGE difference between a 800lb, 8 foot long, 3.5 ft wide, peice of ass-jewelry known as a Hardley-Ableson, and a tiny little Honda Motropolitain. There’s also a big diffence within the same form-factor. A Honda Metro is not a Honda Silverwing, is not a Vespa GT200, or a 1962 IWL SR-59 Berlin Stadtroller (which I would not consider parking on a sidewalk).

    Second, a 49cc scooter is considered a motorized BICYCLE by the DMV (whether it has pedals or not), and thus should be subject to the same rules and regulations as such. Some may whine about it, but it has previously been set by overwhelming precedent that parking and securing your BICYCLE on the side of a sidewalk, secured to a tree, signpost, etc is acceptable and so therefore parking your 49cc motorized BICYCLE in the same manner. QED.

    What if Steve were out riding around an old pedal-start Honda Cub? Same engine, same concept, different form. I doubt we’d even be having this conversation or if we were most if not all would be on Steve’s side!

    Third, it is a harsh fact that scooters are NOT granted “equal respect” by the general public, compared to the afore-mentioned motorcycle/ass-jewelry category of machines. Like the saying goes “People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s easier to harass rich white women than motorcycle gangs”. Thus is it far more “Acceptable” for some assclown in an Excursion to bump, run over, or squash your little scoot when you’ve decided to excercize your right to an entire parking spot, entire lane while riding down the road, etc. I’ve seen first-hand people get out of cars and MOVE scooters, come out of stores to find some doofus (usually sporting a mullet) SITTING on my scooter, and seen scooters lying on the ground in busy parking lots with shoe-prints in the sides. Have I ever seen any of these things happen to Harley or even UJM’s (Universal Japanese Motorcycle)?

    Taking up an entire 10×20 automobile spot with a single scooter/motorcycle is wasteful, and defies all manner of common sense. I would go so far as to say that I also consider it DISRESPECTFUL to take up a whole space when I don’t need to, taking away parking from the cage-driving public needlessly. For example at my work, where the parking lot is often filled to capacity by 7AM forcing some folks to park across the street in an un-patrolled and un-secured vacant lot. Myself and several other riders routinely use the striped “wedges” at the ends of the parking rows for our 2-wheelers, despite them being prominently marked “NO PARKING”. We’ve never been hassled, and I’m sure there are quite a few people here who appreciate the extra 3-4 spaces we’ve freed up on some days.

    Simple accomodations for scooter/motorcycle/electric bicycle/etc. parking represents a golden opportunity for cicties and municipalities to be forward-thinking and cater to one of the fastest growing private-vehicle operator demographics. It need not even cost them money. Hell, it could even GENERATE money! As I mentioned, accomodations can easily be made in areas un-useable by a 4-wheeler. You can even download free striping templates to make these spots “motorcycle only” from web sites such as ridetowork.org or request them for free from the AMA or ABATE.
    In areas where there are not many spots like this (such as an urban street-side) just ONE car spot can be sub-divided into 5 or 6 2-wheeler stalls, such as I saw at the corner of every street when in SanFrancisco. Imagine, the revenue of 6 vehicles from ONE spot! In areas away from the CBD where things were more residential, I saw scooters all over the place on the sidewalks, alongside the buildings and tucked into entry vestibules. Never did I feel like any were in my way or impeding my progress. I can’t say that I felt like anyone else did either.

    But no, even with the logic of these arguements it is still a massive, uphill battle to change these public policies oftan taking YEARS of persistent, VOCAL campaigning by motorcycle groups. The largest – the AMA – also works with bicycle and equestrian communities and still meets with powerful opposition.

    My questionn is this – if you don’t have a license plate, how do the meter maids issue a ticket? How would they know who they’re giving it to? They don’t. Throw the worthless peice of paper away.

    Until policy changes, I still advocate a campaign of civil disobedience. Maybe if stretches of sidewalk in the Loop, or Washington, or South Grand were filled with scooters one day someone will finally get a clue and think that specialized parking would be a good idea.

    Then Your Virtual Alderman can pass it off as his own idea, impressing the hell out of his consituents and ensuring his life-long posting.

  22. mao says:

    As an employee at UMSL who commutes on a scooter I called the Parking & Transportation Department to find out where they wanted me to park. They did NOT want me taking up a whole parking space with my little thing, but otherwise seemed unconcerned. So I park on the sidewalk or in the interstices between parking spaces and parking lots. Because there are so few scooters on campus there is little interest in them one way or another.

    As an aside, I’m happy to report that we’ve added new bike racks and that people are using them.

    I’ve used formal parking places in U City and the West End, but I share your concern about someone backing into a space & flattening the scooter. When my housemate & I scoot together we share a parking place with the scooters facing outward.

    Even though at work life is simple for me parked on the sidewalk, I hope there soon will be so many alternatives to automobiles that it will make sense to formalize some parking space for them.

  23. Craig says:

    This portrayal of Explorer and other SUV drivers as aggressive idiots, licking their chops to run over a scooter in a parking space has me laughing my ass off.

    Sure, scooters are pretty vulnerable (I, personally, like to dump chinese food on them), but do we need to build public bubbles to park them in?

  24. StL_Stadtroller says:

    “Sure, scooters are pretty vulnerable (I, personally, like to dump chinese food on them), but do we need to build public bubbles to park them in?”

    If you don’t want us taking up entire car spots and wasting space, or parking on the sidewalk, then yes.
    yes, we do.

  25. Brady Dorman says:

    Craig, you laugh at our concern about parked scooters and then you mention you like to dump chinese food on them. I realize that is most likely a joke but I think what you said is a testimant to why it IS necesarry to have designated places for scooter/moped/bike parking.

  26. travis reems says:

    The more specialize parking created reduces the overall parking available to everyone, unless those spots are created in areas that other vehicles could not otherwise park, such as compact car only spots at the ends of aisle and scooter parking under stair wells. So, offering variable sized parking, such as the pay and display system, is overall a better option than specialized parking.

  27. Jim Zavist says:

    STL-Stadtroller: When you live by the sword . . . anarchy cuts both ways. You list three specific examples. One, scooters get moved so they DON’T get hit – sounds like a good thing to me/beats the alternative. Two, you “come out of stores to find some doofus (usually sporting a mullet) SITTING on my scooter” – the same doofus also sits on my hood – at least mullet-head can’t dent your seat. Three, you’ve “seen scooters lying on the ground in busy parking lots with shoe-prints in the sides” – well, genius, SUV’s don’t have feet, anarchists (on the other side) do!

    Bottom line, it’s all about respect. It’s also about physics. Parked scooters are top-heavy. If the kickstand is placed on soft ground, tipping can and does occur without any outside assistance. It also means that, without 5-mph bumpers and park-by-numbers drivers in cages, someone can easily tip a scooter with a tap that doesn’t register as it would when touching another “real” vehicle. And it also means that dedicated parking won’t solve all of your (perceived) concerns – I’ve seen plenty of bike racks where locked bikes have been messed with / knocked over by other bike riders.

    Like it or not, urban areas concentrate everything, including a**holes (of all kinds) and the simply clueless and inconsiderate. There are also a whole bunch of people who ARE more careful around vehicles without bumpers. Paranoia can be fun. It can also drive you crazy and make you do strange things, including things the majority of us view as antisocial.

    As for using the “remainders” in a parking lot to create more designated parking for scooters and motorcycles – are we willing to trade landscaping for this? Most cities now require a certain amount/percentage of landscaping, and they like seeing it dispersed throughout the lot, to make at least a token attempt at (re)creating a tree canopy. And with the number of parking spaces dictating the maximum size of a business, every space counts. So the landscaping ends up in islands that logically would be the best location for scooter spaces. It’s all about tradeoffs, and I know of very few developers willing to trade square feet for anything that’s not required! Sooo . . . your/our best answer is to work with cities to tighten their zoning regulations and to either mandate more specialized spaces and/or create incentives to provide them (like Denver already does for bicycle spaces).

  28. Jason says:


    I was ready to get all over you for parking on the sidewalk but after reading comments regarding cars and your scooter, it would clearly seem to reason that your scooter should be lumped in with the bicycle category. Larger motorcycles do need to park in metered spaces since they have license plates. Where to park the bicycles and scooters that dont need plates? a bike rack. I guess i am equally upset with those people who lock their bike up to light poles, newspaper machines, and handrails. Sometimes they dont take into account that someone may want to purchase a paper, or use the handrail to get up the stairs. Granted this is not everyone, but a select special few. Why do they do this? Because of the lack of public places to chain a bike. Maybe they should ticket ALL bikes and scooters not parked at a public bike rack. I bet then you would have plenty of people up in arms! Maybe only then would they provide more places to park bikes and scooters.

    All I hope is that one day I dont see you riding your scooter in the Webster 4th of July Parade pulling a large handmade cart with a billboard professing your disgust at the world with regards to bikes, pedestrian access, and the urban environment. Until then, keep parking your scooter where you need to without having to walk an extra couple of blocks. Get the ticket, and fight it in court. OR let them pile up and see if they can get a boot onto your scooter! Maybe they will tow it instead, oh how I could go on…but I digress.

    Good luck with your parking woes!

  29. StL_Stadtroller says:

    Jim – you are quite correct that bungholes and dis-respect for others property is a much larger social concern that does not just effect the 2-wheeled rider community.

    Hower my point is that this disrespect seems to disproportionately apply to scooter riders.
    You seem to think that someone else moving my personal property is ok “so it doesn’t get hit” what BS man! NO ONE has the right to lay their grimy mits on my stuff! Do you think for a minute someone would try to move a Harley FatBoy out of their way?? hardly. Or in the same token is it OK for a Hummer driver to go move someones SMART so they can park? How about I move your piece of crap 4-wheeler so I can park my scooter in a good spot. How about that? If they can do it, it should be OK for me too. And no, Mr. Mullet can’t dent my seat, but he can twiddle with controls, break mirrors and switches, bend the side or center stands, turn on the gas and flood my engine, turn OFF my gas and cause my ride to quit in the middle of traffic, etc.

    The top-heavy arguement fails to hold water as well. For one, scooters have a very low center of gravity. It’s one of their appeals over a full-blown motorcycle. Second, most scooters only have center-stands which are less prone to tip-overs than side-stands. THIRD, many side-stand equipped bikes/scooters fall over because there is not proper parking accomodations – in the form of a CONCRETE parking pad for 2-wheelers. (asphalt heats up and gets soft in the summer, thenn the stand sinks in and bike tips over) I do not actively campaign for special concrete pads, but many more feverent 2-wheel rights advocates do, and the need for a concrete pad or at least a concrete insert into specialized parking areas is outlined in materials on the ridetowork.org and AMA web sites.

    and for the parking lot “remainders” how many do you REALLY see out there with landscaping? I don’t see many, that’s for sure. All I’m saying is that CURRENT locations with the striped remainders can simply be re-labeled at little cost and the stencils can even be obtained for free.

    One point I didn’t hit on in my previous comment is the problem of public perception that 2-wheelers of all sorts are not “real” transportaion and are only recreational. This is a perceptional problem that seems unique to North Amerika. Many insurance companies won’t even write you a motorcycle policy unless you already have an auto policy! And traffic engineers and highway planners routinely disregard the possible useage of a motorcycle on the streets – traffic light sensors, “Smart” highway systems, etc.

    If anything is to change, this is probably the first and biggest hurdle to cross.

    Motorcycles and scooters are REAL transportation!
    Soylent Green is People!

  30. Jim Zavist says:

    Now that sounds like an easy answer – pass a law (state? local?) saying that striped island areas in any parking lotcan be used for parking by two- and three-wheeled motor vehicles (only?!), except for the required access aisles for accessible parking spaces. That way, even permissive signs become unnecessary. My guess is that most of the no-parking signs for those areas out there now are aimed at yahoos who want to try and shoehorn a motor vehicle into a way-too-small space . . .

    And yes, I agree that two wheels and three wheels are as much real transportation as 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 or 18 are. The trick is learning how all of us can “play nice” together! Still the real issue is respect – if you didn’t have to have your scooter within sight / in a highly-visible location to make sure it was there and in one piece when you got back, there’d be less of an argument about trying to identify spots that are within sight / in a highly-visible location . . . the same thing goes for the Fat Boy riders and those Viper and Ferrari drivers . . .

  31. mike says:

    ROFLMAO, that is a scene I wish I had witnessed.

    You should have just let the cop write the ticket. Exactly how do they plan on enforcing it without a license plate?

    I would defend you on this, the statute is ambiguous as to scooters and I would argue unenforceable.

  32. john says:

    It’s quite clear from these comments and code definitions that intolerance and discrimination are common traits. The roads belong to the public. Parking meter spaces are rented by money/time.

    When someone rides in a SUV they receive preferential treatment compared to one who rides a scooter. In addition to more wear and tear on our roads, consumed space, more pollution, more noise, etc., these vehicles are allowed to park in these spaces while the Stevies of the world are not. This clearly discriminates against others who do not use “vehicles” as defined by the code. Of course these oversized vehicles are killing us financially and otherwise but that is OK.

    Common sense was discarded when the code was written. Steve, next time please park a motorized scateboard there and wait for the tow truck to haul it away. Hey, you paid for the space and should have the right to use it as anyone else who puts their quarters in the meter.

  33. michael says:

    Hey I am from San Francisco and I just won a hearing at the SF DPT yesterday on a parking on sidewalk citation I received for parking my scooter on the sidewalk. This discussion was a big help in helping me formualate some ideas for arguments to make. Here is what happened:


    A while ago I met some friends at a place in the Tenderloin after class. There wasn’t any motorcycle spots around so I decided to park on the sidewalk. I ended up getting a $100 parking ticket from SF DPT for a “parking on sidewalk” violation of CA Vehicle Code Section 22500. Anyways, I won the appeal based on four grounds:

    1) I argued there is an explicit statutory exception for parking small scooters such as mine on the sidewalk when there is not motorcycle spots around. VC22500 has an exemption that states: “except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic.” I argued that my scooter is just a 150 pound, 49 cc yamaha vino – one of the smallest models on the market. I argued that it is very difficult for cars to see it when i park in car parallel parking spots and that it has been run into in the past. The administrator seemed very convinced by this argument.

    2) I argued it was not within the spirit of the statute b/c the statute was designed to prevent people from blocking sidewalk traffic with their cars. My scooter only took up 1.5 ft width of a 12-15 ft. wide sidewalk. It definitely did not block any traffic. The administrator also seemed convinced by this argument.

    3) I made a necessity argument that based on the area (the Tenderloin is a very high crime rate area) I need to lock my scooter up to something to prevent it from being stolen and that my lock couldn’t reach from the street. This was a shaky argument.

    4) I argued for a public policy exception that it is bad public policy to have a small 150 pound scooter take up an entire 20 ft. parking space when it can easily be parked on the sidewalk and make room for a car to park on the street. This argument seemed shaky to me but the administrator liked it. She said the city recognizes this public policy and has been trying to make more motorcycle parking spaces to encourage more motorcycle and scooter use since they save so much parking/traffic space and they are better for the environment.


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