Study Suggests Cycling Faster than Driving in Cities

I hate traffic with unbridled vitriol. I could never live in a big city with their maddening congestion and constant construction. However, a new study suggests cycling might be faster than driving in some places.

The new data comes from Lyons, France, a city that has no designated bike lanes but a huge bike-sharing program. Some 16,000 journeys a day are made via the bike sharing program, with 4,000 bikes at over 350 stations across the city. Lyons has had a problem with traffic congestion as its narrow roads were designed centuries before the invention of the car. The data collected from the bike sharing program was analyzed by Pablo Jensen at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

What he found was that during regular driving hours, cars and bikers in Lyons both averaged in the area of 10 km/h. During rush hour though, bikers are able to get around at 15 km/h (in a hurry to get home from work no doubt) while the car’s average speed plummeted in congestion.

Other interesting tidbits from the data suggest that peak biking speeds occur around 7:45 and 8:45 am, as people rush to get to work. Since there are no designated biking lanes though the bikers get around the city any way they can, including cutting through bus lanes and down alleys.

I’d be interested to see how this compares to other cities like New York and San Francisco. Might be enough to convince some people to ditch the car and buy a bike. Maybe even me!

Source: MIT Technology Review

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.