It’s easy to see why motorcycles are offered free kerb parking around the CBD. They take up less space on the road, and (with typically one rider, not much difference to the 1.22 average people per car) burn less fuel and generate less emissions than cars (though more per person than public transport, cycling or walking).
In fact, according to the MCC web site on the topic, Melbourne is the only capital city in Australia where motorbikes can be parked on the footpath (with three specific exceptions where it is banned).
And most motorcyclists park thoughtfully, minimising disruption to other footpath users.
If the CBD keeps getting busier… with more and more pedestrians (and motorbike riders), is it practical to continue taking up footpath space with them?
It’s already apparent that during busy times such as the lunch hour, pedestrians (which per square metre are the most space-efficient way of travelling short distances) are competing for footpath space with motorbikes in some places.
In one case I spotted a three-wheel motortrike thing that was as big as a Smart car, parked on the footpath in Collins Street.
I wonder if at some point, as CBD pedestrian numbers continue to grow, the guidelines will be tightened, with some of the busier areas reserved for pedestrians only, and eventually motorbike parking allowed only in specific areas? More car spaces could be given over to the motorbikes if this happens.