Parking: The key to motorist acceptance
We've all been in the conversations, both face to face with friends, family and co-workers and online with complete strangers, where people blame cyclists for a huge swath of inconvenience and aggravation heaped upon motorists who just want to get where they need to go in a timely manner.
We try talking about things like pollution, traffic congestion, and other things that supposedly make the bicycle more beneficial to society than the automobile, but we end up feeling like they just don't get it. And in reality, they really don't get it.
But in the in the whole car vs. bike debate, I seldom read about the bicycle's impact on parking. Here, "One Less Car" might actually resonate.
It starts by asking a question:
How many times have you, as a motorist, gone to the mall, the doctor's office, a restaurant, or a downtown shopping district, and found that ONE LAST PARKING SPOT. You known, that one that stands between you and a very, very long walk - perhaps with children and shopping bags in tow. How often does that happen? Probably a lot depending on how much urban driving you do.
Well, here's the deal. EVERY TIME that happens, you should find a cyclist and thank them because the most likely reason that ONE LAST PARKING SPOT was still there is due to the fact that someone in the vicinity of where you found that spot has a bicycle locked up somewhere and would have taken that ONE LAST PARKING SPOT if they had chosen to use their automobile instead.
Moreover, the amount driving time you might ever lose waiting behind a slower moving bicycle pales in comparison to the amount of walking time you save because that slower moving bicycle did not take up the parking spot that keeps you from having to leave your car a half a mile from your destination.