Basel leads way with pay parking for motorbikes

Apart from being able to dart through traffic jams, one of the advantages of driving a motorcycle to work in Swiss cities is to escape costly parking fees, but those days may be numbered.

Basel leads way with pay parking for motorbikes
City of Basel. Photo: Norbert Aepli

Earlier this year the city of Basel approved a plan to charge parking fees for motorbikes and scooters in key downtown areas and now other cities are considering following suit.

Basel’s plan, to be introduced this autumn, was approved in part because of concerns about tailpipe emissions from the motorized bikes, which are proportionately higher than from cars.

(Electric scooters and bikes will be exempt from the parking fees.)

The parking fees are modest — 50 cents an hour — although they have met with opposition from a citizens’ rights group.

But other Swiss cities are planning to follow Basel’s lead.

In the past 25 years the number of scooters and motorbikes on Swiss roads has exploded as traffic has increased in metropolitan areas.

One of the attractions of scooters with motors up to 125cc is that you can drive them in Switzerland with a regular driver’s licence, the Tribune de Genève said on Tuesday in a report about the trend toward pay parking.

“There were 12.370 scooters on Swiss roads in 1990 and today there are more than 260,000,” Moto Suisse, the association of motorbike importers says.

Geneva is planning to test pay parking for motorbikes in 2016, the Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, Lausanne is discussing its own plan.

The number of parking places for motorbikes in the Vaud capital increased to 8,500 places in 2010 from 6,000 in 1990, while the number of motorized two-wheelers has doubled.

A problem has emerged with motorbikes parking in places for bicycles and in areas not meant for parking.

But the largest cities in French-speaking Switzerland will likely take some time to get up to Basel’s speed, the Tribune indicates.

Basel is introducing the pay parking for motorbikes after completely redesigning traffic flow in the city, something Lausanne and Geneva have yet to do.

Nevertheless, a municipal delegation from Lausanne is travelling to Basel on fact-finding mission.

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Two Britons die in Swiss motorbike crash

Two British citizens were killed in a motorbike pile-up in southern Switzerland that involved nine vehicles, reports have said.


The head-on collision between a German motorcyclist and the eight British riders occurred on Tuesday afternoon on a motorway near Splügen, Canton Graubünden, said the Corriere del Ticino newspaper. The two victims, aged 50 and 56, died at the scene, the paper said, citing a police official. No other details were available.

The German and another British rider were flown to a hospital in the area, as traffic was diverted for hours.