Getting stuck at a traffic signal or stop sign is frustrating enough, but it’s made even more frustrating if that traffic signal is on a hill. For some, having to come to a complete stop on a hill and then get smoothly started is more than frustrating though; it’s downright scary. Park downhill to avoid complications if needed but remember that the option is not always there!
It is in these situations that the rider’s control actions are put to the test, and if you are not able to cover the brakes, smoothly disengage the clutch, and apply the throttle, you can easily be thrown off balance; worse, the bike could stall and you could drop it. Always remember, a poor parking job is dangerous for you, the people around and the motorcycle that are prone to cause accidents. Parking downhill on flat ground in a downhill parking spot is the ideal option that only a few people get if they are lucky. The rear tire and parking brakes play an integral role to hold the bike in position when parking on a hill.
To help you avoid all these situations, we have put forward a comprehensive guide in the form of this article to help you park your motorcycle safely on a hill. Let’s dive deep into this step-by-step guide:
Steps for Safe Hill Parking
1) Find a Safe & Perfect Parking Spot
2) Always park Uphill with a Curb
3) Fix Your parking Angle
4) Go for Side Stand Position
5) Softly Press the Front Tire
6) Always Turn the Handlebars
7) Settle for First Gear Parking
Find a Safe & Perfect Parking Spot
The very first and foremost thing to do before you begin this process is to find a safe, perfect parking spot. What makes it unsafe? Well if the traffic signal or stop sign is on an incline, then there’s no way of knowing how steep the slope will be, which means that when we apply the brakes suddenly (to come to a complete stop), the bike could rollback. This can make us lose control over our bikes as well as pose a danger for other vehicles behind us.
If your motorcycle has ever rolled back while parked at an inclined surface/incline, you are bound to know how terrifying it feels; especially since motorcycles have only two points of contact with the ground – its front tire and side stand. If either one fails to keep the bike upright, you are almost sure to have an accident.
Hence, it is extremely important that these two points of contact must be strong enough so as not to give way under pressure or weight. Also note that if your motorcycle has a side stand with a hydraulic damping feature (which means the resistance level can be changed), it’s always better to use this one because it will provide more stability than its counterparts without any adjustment options. Learn how to park a motorcycle on a hill with these exclusive tips:
Always park Uphill with a Curb
If there isn’t any incline then alternatively what we can do instead is simply move our motorcycles up into an uphill parking spot and let them lean against having sufficient support from behind (the curb).
The next best thing would be to find a flat surface and park your motorcycle there. However, you must ensure that the parking spot is wide enough for both of your tires; if it isn’t then you can either widen up the space or simply use this guide as a reference and apply its steps on how to safely park on a hill in an area with limited width.
Fix Your Parking Angle
The next thing we need to do before getting started is to make sure our motorcycle’s front wheel has been fixed at right angles (90 degrees). This ensures that when we set out next, all we’ll have to do is slightly turn the handlebars towards us.
If you find this difficult to do, then look at the available parking space in front of you, the curb that is there, and depending on the weight of your motorcycle, fix your parking angle to about 35-50 degrees, which will give your bike a greater degree of stability. Step stand leaning uphill in a very unstable position. The front wheel and rear brake combination is very helpful in this situation.
Go for Side Stand Position
The next step is to get ourselves into the side stand position. This means that your motorcycle’s weight needs to be supported by its side stand and nothing else.
You need to ensure there are no other objects around it or people standing close by because falling over can cause injury/damage both for yourself as well as others.
Softly Press the Front Tire
After getting onto the side stand, ever so softly press your front tire against whatever support (the curb) that has been given behind you.
You may find this difficult at first but with practice, it will become much easier; also keep in mind not to put too much pressure on your feet while doing this otherwise they might start hurting pretty soon taking up an awkward stance.
Always Turn the Handlebars Towards You
Once your front tire has been snuggly pressed, turn your handlebars towards you. This will have to be done so as not to overbalance yourself while moving forward.
If it becomes difficult for you here then either go back onto full weight support or put less pressure on the side stand until you become an expert after practising enough times.
Settle for First Gear Parking
Now we need to make sure we settle for first gear parking; you can do this by shifting your bike’s transmission into the low-low range.
The reason why we make this choice is that it brings down engine rpm and reduces chances of stalling (which happens when the motorcycle stalls and comes to a complete stop) while also making setting off easier at lower speeds which means there will be less pressure on the brakes.
Steps for Downhill Parking
Settle for an easy-to-get-out Parking Space
The first thing we need to do is look for a parking spot which you can easily get out of. This will make your life easier and reduce the chances of having an accident because it’s always better to be safe than sorry; safety should come before all else!
If there isn’t any hurry then you could also settle for something that has more space so as not to have problems later on when setting off again. However, if this is the only option available, fret not because even though it may seem difficult at first but with enough practice, almost anyone can master hill-parking in no time flat!
Try to Flip Around & Park Uphill
The next option you have is to try and flip around by turning your handlebars towards the front of your bike as if you were going forward. This will help greatly in setting off later on because it’s a way for us to get better control over our motorcycle, which means we can easily brake with less pressure being put onto those brakes.
Also, a motorcycle weighs a lot. So, if you try to back it up from a downhill parking space, it will feel like you are moving a mountain. A little inattentiveness on your end can result in your bike coming down the hill or falling onto other vehicles.
On the other hand, if you park your bike pointed uphill, the position not only makes it easy for you to push down the bike when coming out but also, increases the stability of your bike while parked.
Keep Your Motorcycle From Falling Down While Parked on a Hill
Balance the Bike
While parking your motorcycle on a hill, you need to make sure it does not fall down as soon as you get off. So balance the bike by holding onto its handlebars and making sure they are facing forward.
If this is too difficult for you at first then try putting more weight onto either one of the tires and that will help keep things in place until you can practice enough times. Also, do not forget about turning those handlebars around if required!
Park it Away from People
If you are parking your motorcycle on an incline, always make sure it is away from people. This will prevent the chance of anything happening to them in case they get hit by your bike.
Do Not Park your Motorcycle on Neutral
Do not park your motorcycle on neutral because if the engine stalls and you cannot restart it, then this will cause a lot of problems.
Also, a slight bump on your bike could set it in motion and a little movement on an uphill parking space can invite a lot of unnecessary dangers.
Now that you know the basics of hill-parking, it is important for you to practice enough times before ramping up your confidence. This will reduce the chances of accidents and help keep things under control at all times!
Always remember that the best parking position is when the front tires of the bike are adjacent to and touching the curb that is there in the parking space. Do not leave the bike in neutral though and always leave it in first gear.
lastly, different hill inclinations require different skill sets. So, you need a lot of practice under your belt to be absolutely confident of any kind of situation that you may have to face while on a steep hill.