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  1. #1
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    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.


    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I take a different tack. I simply don't recognize any car vs. bike debate. I neither lecture others nor feel compelled to justify my choice. It's not about cars vs bikes, since our needs are actually pretty aligned. We both want to get where we're going safely and conveniently and neither has to have a negative impact on the other.

    There's plenty of road out there, so if it comes up I focus on sharing and mutual respect.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I take a different tack. I simply don't recognize any car vs. bike debate. I neither lecture others nor feel compelled to justify my choice. It's not about cars vs bikes, since our needs are actually pretty aligned. We both want to get where we're going safely and conveniently and neither has to have a negative impact on the other.

    There's plenty of road out there, so if it comes up I focus on sharing and mutual respect.
    "Thank my gasoline free commute for easing the demand pressure on the price of the juice you feed your SUV"
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    "Thank my gasoline free commute for easing the demand pressure on the price of the juice you feed your SUV"
    IME people either get it or they don't. If they don't accept bicycles in the first place, these small arguments aren't going to sway them

    Let's be real here. How much does the fuel I don't buy lower the cost of theirs?

    I simply don't bother justifying myself because anyone who I'd need to do that for isn't going to be swayed anyway.

    OTOH- I don't think of motorists as cagers, or causes of all manner of urban problems. Live and let live has served me well in my many years living and as a cyclist. Unlike many here, I'm not on a mission.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Urban, suburban, rural... The large majority of the advocacy discussion relates primarily to urban and nearby suburban settings. There are a lot of riders in outlying suburbs and rural areas where cycling is used for sport and rarely if at all as a mode of transportation. Nowhere that I regularly ride is parking even remotely a problem. Motorists see cyclists only as an impediment and relate to them with various degrees of tolerance.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    IME people either get it or they don't. If they don't accept bicycles in the first place, these small arguments aren't going to sway them

    Let's be real here. How much does the fuel I don't buy lower the cost of theirs?

    I simply don't bother justifying myself because anyone who I'd need to do that for isn't going to be swayed anyway.

    OTOH- I don't think of motorists as cagers, or causes of all manner of urban problems. Live and let live has served me well in my many years living and as a cyclist. Unlike many here, I'm not on a mission.
    Yeah, I'm being cheeky here, but still, if enough people reduce their use of fossil fuel, either by biking, public transit, smaller cars, sweating a little more in the summertime, more coats in the wintertime, it will actually show up at the pump. (I do all these things)
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    Yeah, I'm being cheeky here, but still, if enough people reduce their use of fossil fuel, either by biking, public transit, smaller cars, sweating a little more in the summertime, more coats in the wintertime, it will actually show up at the pump. (I do all these things)
    Maybe, but it isn't enough of an argument to sway those who would need to hear it. Catch-22

    I argue for cyclist's rights to shared roadways every day simply by being out there. If drivers see cyclists as courteous, reasonable fellow road users they'll get used to us and we'll all have a better time of it. I don't debate, I simply give the same respect and courtesy as I want in return.

    Is the golden rule too complicated to work as a basis for sharing the road?
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  8. #8
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Is the golden rule too complicated to work as a basis for sharing the road?

    In theory and verbiage, no it isn't. But in practice, throw in humans with all their emotions and civility goes right out the window as an onslaught of cuss words and middle fingers from both sides of said window.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  9. #9
    DNP
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Maybe, but it isn't enough of an argument to sway those who would need to hear it. Catch-22

    I argue for cyclist's rights to shared roadways every day simply by being out there. If drivers see cyclists as courteous, reasonable fellow road users they'll get used to us and we'll all have a better time of it. I don't debate, I simply give the same respect and courtesy as I want in return.

    Is the golden rule too complicated to work as a basis for sharing the road?
    What is sharing? What is courteous? What is reasonable? All of those terms are final perceptions, judgments, etc made after interpreting actions. I don't think there is any collective agreement of what constitutes sharing, courteous, and reasonable. The law certainly isn't the standard, nor is the effect on other people. There is acting polite to massage someone's ego and then there is being polite, which results in tangible benefits to another person (regardless of their ability to interpret it for themselves). To get real meta, is being actually polite worse than acting polite, if the recipient gets so bent out of shape by their misperception? I'm blowing my own mind

  10. #10
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    "Thank my gasoline free commute for easing the demand pressure on the price of the juice you feed your SUV"
    I'm sure you think that is a real persuasive argument; wins friends too!

  11. #11
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    I love it, but you never find that parking spot. I think they could get rid of all the parking on side streets in my fair city and there wouldn't be an appreciable change in my luck finding parking spots.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DNP View Post
    What is sharing? What is courteous? What is reasonable? All of those terms are final perceptions, judgments, etc made after interpreting actions....
    Your problem is that you try to make these judgements after the fact, when it's too late. Courtesy and respect before the fact reduces the need to argue later.

    Even though we all rides similar roads and are exposed to the same pool of drivers, some of us have more encounters with problem drivers than others. Given the difference, which might simply be geographical or cultural, it might pay to step back and wonder if we're getting back the same as we're projecting.

    I don't say I've never run into an axhole, but the reality is that I don't run into them too often. Maybe, having grown up in New York, my threshold of pain (slights) is higher than others, or just maybe the fact that I actively try to make passing opportunities where necessary keeps drivers from getting worked up.

    It's possible to ride safely and without confrontation without being squeezed into a corner. IME there's a difference between "taking the lane" and taking and holding the lane". It's possible to understands the legitimate concerns of motorists without sacrificing our safety.

    Of course life isn't all rosy out there, but it's better that many say it is.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  13. #13
    DNP
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Your problem is that you try to make these judgements after the fact, when it's too late. Courtesy and respect before the fact reduces the need to argue later.
    I think that is more of a semantic interpretation/response to what I wrote. Words like "share,courteous, reasonable, respect" are conclusions, not actions. "Projecting" an attitude must have some kind of physical manifestation that is interpreted as discourteous. I was trying to communicate that what constitutes courteous behavior isn't an agreed upon standard in bicycle/auto interactions.

    I'm just having a little thought experiment, playing with the idea of why "do unto others" might not be such a simple rule. There are plainly written rules in law that are less open to interpretation than "do unto others" that don't carry much compliance. It does sound nice, but it reminds me of that other Jesus line about "render unto Caesar".

    You and I have pretty much the same approach to life/people. I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm having difficulty with motorists. Quite the contrary, but I'm fortunate to have empathy compounded with little need for validation of my choices and I live in Portland. OTOH I rode in Florida for 5 years and never quite figured out how to look out for myself and accomodate motorists simultaneously. Sharing meant ride somewhere else. Of course, ride outside of Portland and it's like being back in FL. Not much you can do about someone blowing a train whistle starting a 1/4 mile back or being smoked while you stand in the grass eating trailmix.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pibber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    IME people either get it or they don't. If they don't accept bicycles in the first place, these small arguments aren't going to sway them.

    this.

    i've taken my apartment shuttle into work the last few days because i'm leaving my current job for another and i've been slowly cleaning up instead of trying to carry all of my crap on one trip.

    on my return trip, i wait outside the metro stop right on the street, basically, waiting for my shuttle. i watch various other shuttles and cars park in the bike lane - a lane with solid white lines painted bright green, no less - and watch cars pass by, along with police cruisers, unmolested by these vehicles. the bike lane is situated between a parking lane and the traffic lane. nobody bats an eye. the cops don't stop to tell the drivers of the shuttles to move on, that they can't park there. i've taken pictures of shuttles and cars in that lane with the thought of telling someone(but, frigging who?? who really gives a shhh...really? the damned cops obviously don't, and they're parked just on the other side of exit) and being able to prove what i'm saying with photographic evidence.

    but, then, i realized there were no cyclists using the lane. at least, not when i was there. there are bikes locked up in the bike lot, but i never ever see anybody use those lanes. ever. and, now that i think of it, i've used this shuttle and metro stop a lot over the last 2+ years and i've never seen anybody use those lanes. and i think i know why...


    because nobody cares and nobody "gets it".

    there will never be an understanding between the autocentric and "cyclists"(or, at least, those that see the value in using a bike for any type of transportation other than childlike recreation). as it is, there are far more motor vehicles on the road than there are bikes, so a traffic officer, or any mobile unit, will focus on that, not the slim minority of cyclists that may be out there.

    they, the motorists, "those" people, don't understand it. they think they have true freedom and the instant option of going where they want when they want and getting there "sooner"(whatever the hell that happens to be). i finally gave up my car a year ago. i find that i'm really a lot happier out of the cage. to me, it represents the GO GO GO GO GET ALL YOU CAN AS SOON AS YOU CAN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN RELAX MORE THAN THE OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FLASHY CAR WITH LOUD MUSIC HAULING KIDS DOGS STUFF STUFF STUFF STUFF PAY THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS FOR REPAIR AND LEASE AND GAS AND OIL AND PARTS AND I MUST GO HERE TO EARN THE MONEY TO DRIVE THIS SO I CAN LIVE MY LIFE AND BE ANGRY THAT THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE IN THIS LANE AND I WANT TO SCREAM AT YOU BECAUSE YOU DRIVE EXACTLY LIKE I DO BUT I AM THE BEST DRIVER IN THE BEST CAR.

    the "motorists" will not accept "us" because they've been sold on the luxury and convenience of their automobile and a slow bike that requires it's own lane(!!!) will be seen as a hindrance or impediment to that convenience.

    when alexandria looked at taking the parking spaces from one small stretch of king street, the monied individuals on that street actually mounted a campaign to stop it so that six(yes 6) cars could park in the 15+ spaces on that street. i've never seen more than six cars parked on that street ever in the last 5 years. one well connected area lawyer wrote an article about how we're like nazi's or something stupid like that.

    they recently decided to take those spots for a bike lane. i imagine the war will only escalate, now.

    so, no, no small, or large. IMO, argument will ever sway them. they can have two lanes a bike lane AND frigging parking, to boot, and they'll still be angry about it. they'll still park in the lane, they'll still cut us off, they'll still drive halfway into the lane and they'll still honk at us because they're in their safe comfortable cage with their $8 latte angry and late because the car gets them there sooner. that one spot they might find, they'll never consider it to be because someone rode a bike.

    so, in short, take the lane.

  15. #15
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Just a thought - its not motorists who are rude and inconsiderate, its people in general. Evertime I read a rant about cager behavior, I start to agree, yep I ahve seen such and such. But then I realize, some people just take to opportunity to be inconsiderate self-centered jerks no matter what their mode of transportation.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Just a thought - its not motorists who are rude and inconsiderate, its people in general. Evertime I read a rant about cager behavior, I start to agree, yep I ahve seen such and such. But then I realize, some people just take to opportunity to be inconsiderate self-centered jerks no matter what their mode of transportation.
    +1, people run the full spectrum regardless of how they choose to live. I'm willing to bet that the percentage of cyclists who hate motorists is roughly equal to motorists who hate bicyclists. It's a two way street, and you can choose to ride in a world of anger and resentment, returning in full measure that which you believe the other started. Or you can accept the fact that the vast majority (at least everywhere I've ever ridden) or motorists are OK, and enjoy your rides in peace.

    Before anyone calls me Pollyanna, my total negative car interactions are less than 1 per 10 miles of suburban riding.
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  17. #17
    Beer and nachos today!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Let's be real here. How much does the fuel I don't buy lower the cost of theirs?
    It doesn't. Everyone knows it's the fact that you're not paying gas taxes, insurance premiums, and registration fees that's the big deal, amirite?
    Last edited by illdoittomorrow; 12-21-13 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Quote fail

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by illdoittomorrow View Post
    It doesn't. Everyone knows it's the fact that you're not paying gas taxes, insurance premiums, and registration fees that's the big deal, amirite?
    Probably. That's why I make it a point not to argue with religious fanatics. If I need to justify myself to anybody, odds are it won't =matter what I say, so I don't bother at all.
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  19. #19
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    I think parking is a major factor in why cycling infrastructure works so well in large cities, mainly for workers, because not only can it be a long walk, but parking fees can be significant. However, I don't think anyone is going to be thanking me for being a cyclist, because I'm sparing a parking spot.

    WRT the fuel issue...We cyclists seem really bent on getting more people to commute by bike and one of our biggest points of persuasion seems to be both the price of fuel and the pollution issue. However, what are we going to say as the hybrids and battery powered cars become more common?

    I know some think that's way, way in the distant future, but I wouldn't be too sure on that; I think a break through may not be too far off.

    If you want more people to cycle, then it must be made more painful for them to drive, especially in the wallet. I thought we were headed in that direction a few years ago when gas prices started rising big time, but it seems to have settled out now and people have accepted it.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member work4bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Maybe, but it isn't enough of an argument to sway those who would need to hear it. Catch-22

    I argue for cyclist's rights to shared roadways every day simply by being out there. If drivers see cyclists as courteous, reasonable fellow road users they'll get used to us and we'll all have a better time of it. I don't debate, I simply give the same respect and courtesy as I want in return.

    Is the golden rule too complicated to work as a basis for sharing the road?
    My riding philosophy pretty much matches yours. I ride so much I've had people ask me at stop lights (and even stores, when I ride up to them) how many miles I ride a day....They ask me these questions because they see me all the time.


    Courteous behavior is contagious.
    "The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible."

    -- Paul Dirac

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Your problem is that you try to make these judgements after the fact, when it's too late. Courtesy and respect before the fact reduces the need to argue later.

    Even though we all rides similar roads and are exposed to the same pool of drivers, some of us have more encounters with problem drivers than others. Given the difference, which might simply be geographical or cultural, it might pay to step back and wonder if we're getting back the same as we're projecting.

    I don't say I've never run into an axhole, but the reality is that I don't run into them too often. Maybe, having grown up in New York, my threshold of pain (slights) is higher than others, or just maybe the fact that I actively try to make passing opportunities where necessary keeps drivers from getting worked up.

    It's possible to ride safely and without confrontation without being squeezed into a corner. IME there's a difference between "taking the lane" and taking and holding the lane". It's possible to understands the legitimate concerns of motorists without sacrificing our safety.

    Of course life isn't all rosy out there, but it's better that many say it is.
    +1

  22. #22
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    I seriously doubt that the vast majority of motorist will make a connection between that one cyclist shopper and the last empty parking spot, with most motorists just crediting it to their good fortune and timing.

  23. #23
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    How about an obvious T shirt with the slogan:

    SAVING
    the
    LAST
    PARKING
    SPOT
    for
    YOU

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    How about an obvious T shirt with the slogan:

    SAVING
    the
    LAST
    PARKING
    SPOT
    for
    YOU
    OK so then what do we print on the T-shirt when the city council eliminates street parking to make room for a bike lane? Or, as is being done in some cities, reserve sections of on street curb space for bicycle only parking?
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  25. #25
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    How about an obvious T shirt with the slogan:

    SAVING
    the
    LAST
    PARKING
    SPOT
    for
    YOU
    ... how about putting "One Less Car" on the front, and "One More Empty Parking Spot For You" on the back.

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