Parking lots can be very tricky places to drive, and it’s especially important for motorcyclists to use caution since they are at increased risk of being injured as the result of an accident. Even though vehicles move at slower speeds in parking lots, serious injuries can still occur, and significant property damage can result. To help keep your motorbike insurance in Alberta as low as possible, it’s important to stay claims-free, and that means brushing up on your parking lot riding skills.
The “Rules of the Road” for Parking Lots
Driving and riding in a parking lot is different than being on a street or highway. There’s some confusion when it comes to the right of way, along with a number of other unique situations you won’t encounter on normal roads. If you’re not up to speed with driving rules for parking lots, here are two essentials you should always keep in mind:
- Right of way. In a parking lot, drivers in “thoroughfares” always have the right of way over drivers in “feeder lanes.” A thoroughfare is defined as any lane in a parking lot that has a direct exit to the adjacent street. Feeder lanes have no direct roadway connections.
- The need to yield. However, you still need to drive and ride defensively, even when you’re in a parking lot thoroughfare. Many people are unfamiliar with the intricacies of parking lot driving, so be prepared to yield – even if you have the right of way – by remaining vigilant and keeping speed levels low. Also, be extra careful when you’re backing out of a parking spot; in such cases, you must always yield to oncoming traffic
Though the majority of parking lots do not have posted speed limits, as a general rule of thumb, you should keep your speed to about 15 km/h or less. This will give you plenty of time to react to other drivers and unanticipated situations.
Maneuvering Tips and Safe “Slow Riding” Technique
When you reduce your riding speed, you become more reliant on your own centre of gravity to maintain control of your motorcycle. It’s important to make as-needed adjustments to your centre of gravity when travelling at slower speeds to make sure your motorcycle doesn’t topple over (and take you with it).
With that in mind, here are some specific techniques to draw on if you need to brush up on your slow-riding skills:
- Adjust body positioning. With body positioning, you need to be as responsive as possible when moving at slow speeds. Concentrate your body weight on the foot pegs so you can quickly adjust your orientation and move your centre of gravity if necessary.
- Control the brakes. Your rear brakes will be a trusted ally when moving at slow speeds. The rear brakes boost your overall stability, creating a tension that helps you stay steady and make sharp turns with ease.
- Command the throttle. When it comes to the throttle, smoothness is everything. Avoid speed fluctuations when making a directional turn or U-turn; instead, keep your momentum as even as possible, using the throttle to support a continuous slow speed.
To perform a safe turn at slow speeds, simply reduce your velocity, let go of your brakes and lean in towards the direction of the turn. Halfway through the turn, ease off on your clutch and activate the throttle (but gently). Complete the turn by pumping your rear brakes to maintain stability and adjust your speed using the clutch.
When you’re ready to park, incorporate these tips to help protect your motorcycle:
- Orient the motorcycle at an angle so it will be easier to manoeuvre back into traffic
- Leave your motorcycle in gear when parking
- If there is a curb, position your front tire against it to help balance the bike
- Position the motorcycle in the centre of the parking spot and as far towards its entry point as possible so it’s visible to other motorists
- Beware when parking on gravel, loose pavement or sand, since your stand might sink into the surface and destabilize your motorcycle; slip a flat accessory under the stand to prevent this from happening
Motorbike Insurance Alberta: Great Coverage at Low Rates from Lane’s Insurance
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