On-street parking is dangerous for people cycling, walking and driving. It reduces sightlines making it harder for people walking, driving and cycling to see each other. People cycling can be hit by car doors and vehicles accessing the parking.
Cruising and Crashing for Parking
A study by Donald C. Shoup of the University of California found between 8% and 74% of downtown traffic in cities was cruising for parking. This cruising not only increases congestion and pollution but most likely also results in more collisions with people walking, cycling and driving.
Invisibility Pedestrians can be difficult to see: They are small compared to a car, and can be hidden by one. At night the problem is more severe. A parked car is the most commonly cited source of obstruction.
Parked cars are a traffic hazard for pedestrians, particularly children. Research has shown that prohibiting on-street parking improves safety. The number of accidents is reduced by about 25% in streets where on-street parking is prohibited.
Pedestrian crashes often occur when people are trying to cross the street on links outside pedestrian crossings or where no pedestrian crossings exist. One of the causes is the driver’s difficulty in perceiving pedestrians because of darkness and/or parked cars. In the United Kingdom, nearly 90% of the injuries to older pedestrians which are caused by motor vehicles happen under such conditions. In over 10% of cases, the driver cannot see pedestrians because of parked cars.
Vehicle speeds were slower in the presence of occupied on-street parking bays compared to the other two environments; however, the speed reduction was insufficient to compensate for observed impairments in drivers’ hazard perception and slower response to the pedestrian in this condition.
Depending on street grades and speeds, curb parking can create a hazardous sight obstruction if allowed on a major route within even a hundred meters of an egress point.
The breadth of curb parking should not be set within the range of the sight triangle at the upstream road segment of a pedestrian crosswalk.
On-street parking is dangerous for people cycling due to dooring, conflicts with automobiles pulling in or out of parking and reduced visibility of vehicles at intersections and driveways.
It concluded that the greatest risk to cyclists is when they share major streets with parked cars, with no bike lanes present — such as on Broadway in Vancouver — and that without a designated space on the road, cyclists face a greater risk of injury from moving cars and car doors opening.
In contrast, the study concluded, roads with infrastructure designed for cyclists — including bike lanes on major streets without parked cars, residential street bike routes, and off-street bike paths — carry about half the risk, while physically separated bike lanes carry about one-tenth the risk.
Teschke noted that while accidents involving parked car doors — “doorings” — were on the greatest route risk for cyclists, such accidents are responsible for 10 per cent of all crashes involving cyclists.
Dooring is Dangerous to Cyclists
Dooring is Dangerous to Drivers
As soon as someone steps out of their car door, they are a pedestrian and face increased danger due to on-street parking. As well, being forced to suddenly brake or swerve to avoid hitting a fallen cyclist is dangerous for motorists.
Photo: Cycle Toronto
Thanks to Real Estate Foundation of BC for their support of our Streets For Everyone work.