Space, maneuverability, and safety

Over the weekend, netizens on various car and motorcycle social media groups were debating whether or not big bikes should be allowed to park in a car's parking slot. This debate arose when someone posted a picture of a sportbike, a 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R, that was parked in a car slot in one of the big malls in Cebu City.

The post was captioned “And the award for best kamote driver of the year goes to,” which may suggest that the original poster did not like what he saw. The post further stated that just because the bike is expensive, it doesn't mean that the owner can just park his ride anywhere he pleases, particularly parking spaces allotted for cars since there's already an area specifically set aside for motorcycles.

That post, which has drawn both praise (from some car drivers) and criticism (from big bike riders) has since been removed from Facebook. While this type of social media “post and shame” tactic is nothing new, it seems that there is still a big debate on this subject. It begs the question: are big bikes really allowed to park in a car slot?


The parking management allowed these big bikes to park near the curb because there were no more car slots for them to use. Photo taken at SM City General Santos.

Industry standard

To answer the question, we've asked our big bike rider friends who frequently ride their beloved steeds to malls and other commercial establishments. According to them, ALL of the SM Supermalls nationwide have the same policy of allowing big bikes to park in a car slot. Likewise, ALL Ayala Malls, The Podium, Robinsons Malls, and Powerplant Mall also permit this. Additionally, most if not all multilevel parking buildings in BGC allow motorcycles, regardless of displacement, to park in one car slot for the simple reason that motorcycles and cars are charged the same rate.

Some parking lots, however, allow a big bike rider to park his big bike in a car slot on the condition that he agrees to pay the same rate as the cars if there's a different rate applied for motorcycles.

Designed for scooters

To maximize capacity, motorcycle parking spaces in major malls are usually designed for small displacement motorcycles (which are shorter and narrower) allowing them to fit as many as possible. Those small spaces are very difficult for bikes that are larger, longer, and have a wider turning radius than the average city scooter or moped. Some of these big bikes even have tall seat heights, requiring its rider to tip-toe when maneuvering the bike into a parking slot. Imagine balancing a tall, top-heavy bike like this while squeezing into a space designed for a scooter. One wrong move and it could trigger a domino effect on all the other bikes parked in the area. As such, it's simply more practical to give them a car slot. 

Big bike riders understand that finding a parking spot in a mall or commercial area is difficult, especially during the weekends. Big bikes are heavy, have wide turning radii, and typically will not fit or be able to navigate within the designated area and spaces provided for motorcycles. Chances are, they too have cars, and are aware of how hard it is to find a space.

So for car owners, please understand why the different mall management teams allow big bikes to use car slots. Car and large motorcycle owners can peacefully co-exist in mall parking lots.

They're not granted those slots because of the hefty price tag of their big bikes or who they know. It's just the right thing to do. If still in doubt, don't be shy to ask the mall management about their policy on big bike parking.