Sunday, January 25, 2015

Observations on cycling in Atlanta vs New York, ctd.

14. The perceived risk of getting 'doored' while biking close to parked cars is much, much lower in Atlanta. In New York, in my experience, a shockingly high proportion of parked cars have drivers sitting in their seats (doing what, I don't know). This might be because a larger share of NYC drivers are performing business stuff that requires precise scheduling. The lack of parking availability means that there's an incredibly high variance in the time it takes to find a spot. If you need to be parked and meeting someone at a specific time, you'd better start the search very early. A necessary consequence of that strategy is that lots of people get lucky and have to sit and wait in their cars. This sucks for cyclists.

Alternatively, it may be due to something more complex and subtle. Perhaps the congestion, lack of parking availability, or general stressfulness of driving in NYC means communication and planning tasks that ordinarily would be accomplished at the middle or end of a car trip need to be done before it begins. Whatever the reason, in my limited experience in Atlanta so far I haven't felt nearly as exposed while biking in the 'door zone', which is nice.

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