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Riders Request Parking Reform

By Nicola Smith on November 27, 2020 in News

Motorcycles only. Photo: Chloe Andrews

As the number of cars per household and the size of said cars increases, scooters are becoming the popular choice for local residents tired of driving around aimlessly in search of a parking spot that often simply doesn’t exist.
For a while there, councils’ approach to scooter riders unofficially acknowledged their contribution to the availability of parking spots. However, several frustrated letters from readers of The Beast in recent months have shown that this has changed, in Waverley at least.
In our last two editions, we published letters from readers complaining that they had received fines for parking their scooters between cars in a metered zone without a valid ticket. They also explained that previously they were not being fined for this, whether that was the law or because Council was turning a blind eye.
We suspect the reason for this sudden change to be the implementation of a pay by plate meter system in Waverley, requiring all vehicles to register rather than purchase a ticket to display on their vehicle.
While anecdotal evidence suggests that, for whatever reason, these rules were not previously being enforced to the level they are now, the rules surrounding motorbike and scooter parking in metered areas in Waverley actually have not changed.
A spokesperson from Waverley Council confirmed this.
“Council’s policy has always been that all vehicles, including motorcycles and scooters, must pay for a valid parking session unless they are exempt by displaying a valid parking permit,” the spokesperson told The Beast.
Waverley Council’s website also confirms that anyone parking a vehicle within the local government area must pay for the privilege.
A recent change to the metering system has made it easier for scooter riders who previously had no way of securely displaying a paper ticket on their vehicle. From June 9 this year, Waverley Council has implemented a new ticketless pay by plate meter system, allowing motorbike and scooter riders to pay for metered parking and avoid a fine.
The introduction of this system is, however, arguably the reason that motorbikes are now being fined, as parking inspectors can no longer give scooters without a valid ticket the benefit of the doubt (scooter riders were previously arguing that the ticket had fallen off their vehicle or been nicked).
Not too far from Waverley, however, City of Sydney Council offers free parking for scooters and motorbikes.
“Motorcycle and scooter riders don’t need to pay at any of the parking meters in our local area, including central Sydney. Simply park as you usually would but remember to observe the time restrictions,” its website states.
One Beast reader, Rory from Bronte, wrote in to say that he had previously asked Waverley Council if they would implement a similar policy for Waverley, given that in 2018 motorbikes and scooters made up 10.3 per cent of total registrations within the municipality. The policy had not changed at the time of writing, but Council explained that it does endeavour to be fair in its parking policy.
“Council appreciates that access to parking is a major issue in our LGA and we want to be able to provide a fair system for parking for people, driving to their local shops and appointments,” the spokesperson said.
The Beast would argue that a fair parking policy – one that encouraged more people to ride scooters and motorbikes – would at the very least offer some concession for vehicles that are around a tenth of the size of a car. Currently, the price of parking, as well as the fines, are exactly the same. We’ve heard whispers that options are being investigated, but until then it seems that scooter riders will need to just cop it.