Born to park

MOTORCYCLISTS and scooter riders could be allowed to park on city footpaths if Perth councillor Jemma Green gets her way.

Melbourne council lets motorcyclists park on the footpath as long as they don’t obstruct pedestrians, and the Voice occasionally gets calls and emails from Perth riders who want the same rule here.

The Motorcycle Riders Association of WA has lobbied Perth council to allow footpath parking, and Cr Green’s motion asked staff to investigate if it’s feasible, considering issues like oil spills and pedestrian safety.

About 80 per cent of cars in the CBD only have one person in them and studies from around the world show motorbikes alleviate congestion and are better for the environment than cars.

• Perth councillor Jemma Green wants to let motorbikes and scooters park on footpaths, like they do in Melbourne. Photo by Steve Grant

European research reveals that if 10 per cent of people in cars, in Perth-sized cities, switched to motorbikes or scooters, then time spent waiting in traffic plunges by 40 per cent.

If 25 per cent switched, their model shows that congestion disappears completely.

Cr Reece Harley supported looking into the parking proposal, while the other member of the finance and admin committee, Cr Janet Davidson, voted no without saying why (she’s historically voted against a lot of motions tabled by Cr Green).

Last time the idea was raised, Perth lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi wasn’t keen on motorbikes on the footpath, saying pedestrian safety had to come first.

Perth riders noted that many of the motorbike bays in the city are full by 9am, as more people are buying cheap-to-run scooters, and more bays would be needed.

Melbourne’s policy hasn’t gone off without a hitch: blogger Daniel Bowen has documented many problems with riders ignoring the guidelines, not leaving enough space, parking over the top of access points like manhole covers, and parking so close to the road that car drivers can’t open their doors.

by DAVID BELL

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