Almost 15% of the whole Spanish population commutes via a scooter or motorcycle, and the scooter density in Barcelona is the second highest in Europe after Rome.
Parking scooters in Spain can be tricky, as each city in Spain tends to have its own rules. Sometimes these rules are not even explicitly stated anywhere, but they are unwritten rules that the traffic police and scooter-riding community both are aware of.
In Barcelona, things are more or less clear.
The law states clearly that scooters are to be parked in the parking spaces reserved for them. You will see these marked spaces all around the city. The problem is that the number of these spaces (more than 56,000) is tiny compared to the total number of motorcycles and scooters (300,000+) in the city. Hence, the need for riders to park in other places in addition to these marked spaces.
The most obvious other place to park is of course the sidewalk, and this is where things might get a bit confusing. To a visitor or new expat, it’s not obvious what is allowed and what is not. I ended up getting a fine myself recently, and this prompted me to investigate further. Here’s what I found out.
You can park on the sidewalk provided that there is enough space for pedestrians to walk. This is defined as two metres or more of free space on the sidewalk.
The scooter should be parked at a distance of 5o centimetres from the curb.
You can park between tree grates, being careful not to leave any part of the scooter over the grates.
Parking in parallel to the curb is allowed (using the center stand), providing the pavement has a width of of between 3 and 6 metres. When it is wider than 6 metres you can use the side stand to park.
You have to access the sidewalks with the motor switched off and yourself off the seat. This rule is unfortunately routinely broken by many motorists, and they give a bad reputation to the rest of motorcyclists who abide by the rules.
Another common mistake is to park scooters close to the walls of buildings. This is completely unacceptable as it is violating the space of pedestrians. For example, a blind person needs to be able to touch the walls with his walking stick to orient himself. Imagine if suddenly he finds a scooter in the way, and you get the picture of how unrespectful such parking is.
Other Spanish cities with similar rules as Barcelona are Sevilla, Madrid, Valencia and Zaragoza.
On the other hand, note that in the following Spanish cities parking on the sidewalks is expressly prohibited: Alicante, Badajoz, Bilbao, Gijón, Granada, Málaga, Oviedo, San Sebastián, Santander, Valladolid and Vigo.
Hope that helps clarify things, ride safely!