DC Motorcycle Parking FAIL

I recently found out an interesting trick when trying to park a motorcycle in DC. To start off, there’s not a whole lot of street parking in DC, and most garages don’t serve motorcycles (i.e. the attend starts waving his arms around like a chicken being electrified, while yelling unintelligible curses in his native language).

I considered myself extremely lucky when I found a row of motorcycle parking just a block from my office, and there was still a space open!

I parked my bike and went to feed change into the old-school meter. Most meters in DC now work with Parkmobile app, or you can give your credit card over a toll free number. In the city, most meters are limited to two hours, but these coin-op motorcycle slots were good up to twelve hours!

So, I went around to feed the meter, and it has a great big “FAIL” on it.

I was running late already, so I locked my bike and prepared to eat the fifty dollar ticket I was sure I’d find upon return.

Later in the day I ran into my coworker who rides in on his crotch-rocket almost every day. I told him about the meter, and said: “Ah, don’t worry about it. Those meters are always broken. When you find one, you’re supposed to call a number and give the broken meter number. They may come and fix it sometime next year.”

So, if I your trying to park your bike in downtown DC, a FAIL is a good thing. But try to remember to call the number; I haven’t every gotten through due to “higher than expected call volume”, but now I always take a picture of my bike and the failed meter. Just make sure you get the meter number, or you may have a harder time getting out of those tickets…

You can report a Broken Meter by calling the DC Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311 or (202) 737-4404, or online using the District government’s Service Request Center.

Identify the meter by its unique meter ID number (located on the inside of the dome of single-space meters and on the front of multi-space meters) and describe the specific problem (i.e. coin jam, out of order, flashing fail, out of paper, etc.) A service request will be put into the tracking system, and you should receive a service request number.


6 Replies to “DC Motorcycle Parking FAIL”

  1. Apparently some of the meters are “self healing”, meaning they will reset from a FAIL state. This can be problematic if you parked there. That’s why it’s important to take a picture with your phone and at least try to call the DC Broken Meter number at 202-541-6030.

  2. Unfortunately, you will be playing roulette with the parking authority. I received a few tickets over the years on my bike when parked at broken meters. I ALWAYS reported the meter by calling the number. Even with a confirmation number for the report of the broken meter, only about half of those tickets were tossed when appealed. The other ones I had to pay after appeals were denied multiple times. Yes, even with date-stamped photos of the broken meter and calling the number to report it. DC is a third world government.

    1. So far, I’ve only gotten one ticket when parking at a broken meter. That was the day my mobile was dead, and I had to head into work without calling the number. I started work and forgot to make the call early in the day. I did call the DC broken meter number later in the day, but I got back to my bike, there was a ticket on it. The time on the ticket showed it was written an hour before I reported the meter. I tried disputing the ticket and lost. So the thirty dollar lesson is make sure you call before walking away from your bike, or the meter minders will pounce!

  3. I work in Downtown, at 7th & F Streets NW, and recently got my first motorcycle parking ticket. Does anyone know where there’s legitimate parking spots in the area where I can park without worrying about getting another ticket? None of the parking garages allow motorcycles…

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