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Cars could be slower than bikes on England's urban A roads within a decade

Department for Transport reports average speed is down to 18.4mph

According to The Telegraph, the average speed of an urban driver will be less than that of a cyclist within a decade. Surely there are obvious conclusions to draw from this? Yes, there are, according to the RAC. They say we need more by-passes, tweaks to traffic light sequences and for cars to be allowed to use bus lanes.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures reveal that the average vehicle speed of cars on A roads in towns and cities dropped from a white-knuckled 19.3mph in 2014 to 18.4mph in 2017.

The Telegraph compares that to the average speed of a male cyclist on Strava, 16mph, and concludes that if the decline continues at the same rate, cars will be travelling slower than cyclists by 2027. (Well, it’s a good way to get a headline.)

Speeds aren’t actually a great deal higher when rural A roads are also included. Average speed at morning rush hour is 23.7mph and during the evening rush hour it’s 22.2mph.

Unsurprisingly, all 10 of the slowest local authority areas in England are in London. In the City of London, average A road traffic speeds are now 7.6mph. Manchester has the slowest speeds outside London at 15.3mph.

Include cyclists in London's average traffic speed figures urges Baroness Jenny Jones

The RAC said government proposals, “should include extra investment into reducing congestion at pinch-points, looking at further town by-passes to redirect traffic, and resequencing traffic lights so authorities are optimising traffic flow.”

It also suggested ‘smart’ bus lanes to maximise the use of road space.

Nicholas Lyes, the organisation’s roads policy spokesman, added: “At some point, the Government may even have to look at road pricing as an alternative to the current taxation system to help manage demand, as an alternative to the current system of motoring taxation.”

Andy Burnham plans £160m investment in Manchester’s cycling and walking infrastructure

So what was the Government response to the news?

A DfT spokesman said it was investing £23 billion in roads "to help cut congestion, shorten journey times and boost the economy".

He added: “We recently launched plans which will see utility companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on Britain’s busiest local roads – incentivising firms to work on quieter roads or outside of rush hour - to cut delays due to roadworks.

“Additionally, we are consulting on a Major Road Network which will improve connections between towns and cities across the UK and deliver safer, faster and more reliable journeys for drivers.”

Study finds London's most congested roads AREN'T on cycle routes

Edmund King, the President of the AA, took a slightly different view.

“For years, the AA has argued that more could be done to encourage drivers to leave their cars on the outskirts and take public transport or car share into urban centres.

“But a lack of joined-up thinking in planning or a desperate urge to milk cash from drivers in the form of parking charges has left car commuters with no option but to join the queues.”

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “This should be another red light flashing on the government dashboard. Air pollution and congestion go hand in hand.

“To solve this twin challenge ministers should incentivise people to take up cycling, walking and use public transport more.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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36 comments

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mdavidford | 5 years ago
0 likes

"We recently launched plans which will see utility companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on Britain’s busiest local roads – incentivising firms to work on quieter roads or outside of rush hour - to cut delays due to roadworks."

Because obviously those charges are going to mean that, instead of digging up the roads where the pipes and cables are, they'll go dig up some random quieter road instead.

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theloststarfighter | 5 years ago
2 likes

I don't really care what you proletariat think I'm still going to drive my supercar up and down Oxford street, give it a thump down the Mall to scare some horses and then leave some rubber where possible round Marble Arch.  When I leave the city it will be in my new Bentley Bentayga which cost more than your house.  I'll look at you all wobbling on two wheels or on 'public' transport  (which makes me feel unclean even to think about it) and I'll be watching episodes of Top Gear while I drive simply because I can and I'm too important to be stopped by the police who will respect my status and supreme arrogance.  I don't care that at times I'll be going slowly because it's all about style and showing I've got more money than you.  I'll also have a word with my mate on the council who will dig up some pavements to make my road wider as my car gets wider and wider alongside my gout ridden legs.  They get so bad I can have a disabled badge so I can park where I like, even cycle lanes. That's the natural order of things smiley

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Bluebug replied to theloststarfighter | 5 years ago
0 likes
theloststarfighter wrote:

I don't really care what you proletariat think I'm still going to drive my supercar up and down Oxford street, give it a thump down the Mall to scare some horses and then leave some rubber where possible round Marble Arch.  When I leave the city it will be in my new Bentley Bentayga which cost more than your house.  I'll look at you all wobbling on two wheels or on 'public' transport  (which makes me feel unclean even to think about it) and I'll be watching episodes of Top Gear while I drive simply because I can and I'm too important to be stopped by the police who will respect my status and supreme arrogance.  I don't care that at times I'll be going slowly because it's all about style and showing I've got more money than you.  I'll also have a word with my mate on the council who will dig up some pavements to make my road wider as my car gets wider and wider alongside my gout ridden legs.  They get so bad I can have a disabled badge so I can park where I like, even cycle lanes. That's the natural order of things smiley

I didn't realise you were an extremely rich foreign national.

 

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Grahamd replied to Bluebug | 5 years ago
0 likes
Bluebug wrote:
theloststarfighter wrote:

I don't really care what you proletariat think I'm still going to drive my supercar up and down Oxford street, give it a thump down the Mall to scare some horses and then leave some rubber where possible round Marble Arch.  When I leave the city it will be in my new Bentley Bentayga which cost more than your house.  I'll look at you all wobbling on two wheels or on 'public' transport  (which makes me feel unclean even to think about it) and I'll be watching episodes of Top Gear while I drive simply because I can and I'm too important to be stopped by the police who will respect my status and supreme arrogance.  I don't care that at times I'll be going slowly because it's all about style and showing I've got more money than you.  I'll also have a word with my mate on the council who will dig up some pavements to make my road wider as my car gets wider and wider alongside my gout ridden legs.  They get so bad I can have a disabled badge so I can park where I like, even cycle lanes. That's the natural order of things smiley

I didn't realise you were an extremely rich foreign national.

 

With diplomatic immunity.

 

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David9694 | 5 years ago
2 likes

Clearly the problem here is those pesky unsequenced traffic lights and those darned in-smart bus lanes, that no-one ever uses.  Something must be done: this is the government’s problem, and they must solve it, they must retrieve the lost golden era of motoring that has slipped between our fingers because of the planners’ and the traffic engineers’ incompetence and inaction.

Our world is noticeably filling up with cars, both the stationary and the moving kind, invading every unguarded or unsecure space available.  The planners and the traffic engineers have been fighting this losing battle, ordering back this rising tide for decades now and major sacrifices have been and are being made along the way.

How great it was to read this story on the front of the Daily Telegraph, even if I am a bit below the Strava average. 

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Bill H | 5 years ago
3 likes

The madness that is not riding a bike is best explained by the Canadian blogger Mr Money Mustache.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/

 

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
9 likes

Can't tell you the amount of times I wanted to honk a horn and abuse motorists for driving in the middle of the road holding me up and forcing me to close pass and cut in on them whilst waving my fist right in their faces. (no harm no foul right!)

I'd love to shout get on the 'motor' way as it's built especially for you and you should not be on the road and be forced to use it even if it doesn't go where they are going, oh and where is your fucking helmet and hi-vis.

Cos that's the rules innit?

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Beecho replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Can't tell you the amount of times I wanted to honk a horn and abuse motorists for driving in the middle of the road and holding me up and forcing me to close pass and cut in on them whilst waving my fist right in their faces. (no harm no foul right!)

I'd love to shout get on the 'motor' way as it's built especially for you and you should not be on the road and be forced to use it even if it doesn't go where they are going, oh and where is your fucking helmet and hi-vis.

Cos that's the rules innit?

This is my fave BTBS post ever. 

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richiewormiling | 5 years ago
0 likes

this is great news

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Deeferdonk | 5 years ago
1 like

"Cars could be slower than bikes on England's urban A roads within a decade" Maybe but you can't tell this from the data quoted.
The average speed of a cyclist they have used is for male cyclists on the whole of UK not just for urban roads. Presume the average speed for cyclists on urban roads will be slower due to traffic lights, congestion etc. Is this average cycling speed changing also? Maybe thats getting slower too.
Traffic levels and speeds are definitely getting worse in some urban areas but it waters down the claims when it's based on non equivalent cherry picked data like this.

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mdavidford replied to Deeferdonk | 5 years ago
0 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:

The average speed of a cyclist they have used is for male cyclists on the whole of UK not just for urban roads. Presume the average speed for cyclists on urban roads will be slower due to traffic lights, congestion etc.

And also just due to greater numbers of slower cyclists, I would imagine.

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mdavidford replied to Deeferdonk | 5 years ago
0 likes

Website fail = duplicate post

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madcarew | 5 years ago
7 likes

I used to commute from Esher to St John's Wood. I was 15 min quicker than colleagues who made the same journey in cars, and 25 min faster than those who took public transport. And at least 35 quid a week better off than all of them. In 1993. Car has been slower than bike in most cities since adam was a boy. Speedboat however....

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to madcarew | 5 years ago
2 likes
madcarew wrote:

I used to commute from Esher to St John's Wood. I was 15 min quicker than colleagues who made the same journey in cars, and 25 min faster than those who took public transport. And at least 35 quid a week better off than all of them. In 1993. Car has been slower than bike in most cities since adam was a boy. Speedboat however....

I  can make it door to door in 45 minutes on the bike.  With the walk to and from the station at either end, the train takes me about an hour and five minutes.  When the train is running, of course.  Or isn't late - which it is about four days out of five.   There's still the time taken to shower, brush my teeth and get dressed of course, but I'd be doing that anyway, so it matters not whether I do so in the office or at home.

One thing guaranteed to slow the cyclist down is the dreaded puncture, but I use Schwalbe Durano Plus and have not had a 'flat' (as they say) since 2015.

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... | 5 years ago
4 likes

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

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Yorkshire wallet replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 5 years ago
0 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

Maybe those staggeringly stupid fucks are off shopping? Not much room for 2 adults, 2 kids and a 60 inch TV on a bicycle.

The bike may be the solution to some things but everything doesn't come down to average speeds.

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
5 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

Maybe those staggeringly stupid fucks are off shopping? Not much room for 2 adults, 2 kids and a 60 inch TV on a bicycle. The bike may be the solution to some things but everything doesn't come down to average speeds.

 

Be honest though - go and stand by the nearest junction and count the first 100 cars. How many will have 2 adults, 2 children and a TV in them? 

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John Smith replied to Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
4 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

Maybe those staggeringly stupid fucks are off shopping? Not much room for 2 adults, 2 kids and a 60 inch TV on a bicycle. The bike may be the solution to some things but everything doesn't come down to average speeds.

 

How many of the hundreds of single occupancy cars I pass cycling down the Banbury road in to central Oxford every morning are on their way to pick up one adult, two children and a huge TV? Not many I would guess. 

 

I know the real real reasons they don’t cycle, lack of infrastructure (both in terms of roads and showers/secure parking/places to dry kit) , the other 99 drivers and embarrassment (one of the main arguments when I suggest people should cycle in to work is “I would mess up my hair!” or similar).

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to John Smith | 5 years ago
4 likes
John Smith wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

 

I know the real real reasons they don’t cycle, lack of infrastructure (both in terms of roads and showers/secure parking/places to dry kit) , the other 99 drivers and embarrassment (one of the main arguments when I suggest people should cycle in to work is “I would mess up my hair!” or similar).

i think it’s far more deep-rooted (forgive the hair pun) psychologically than that. I know people who claim that whatever infrastructure was in place, they will not cycle and will not use public transport. It seems to be about the cocoon-like isolation of the car, and the sense of freedom and space. The commute in particular is a space between work and family / home where the person (generally a man, I suspect) has time for them self . Threats to that are likely to be (indeed are) strongly resisted. It’s not a rational response, and appeals to reason are therefore useless. What’s needed is some sort of alternative for people. 

Avatar
sergius replied to ConcordeCX | 5 years ago
1 like
ConcordeCX wrote:
John Smith wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

 

I know the real real reasons they don’t cycle, lack of infrastructure (both in terms of roads and showers/secure parking/places to dry kit) , the other 99 drivers and embarrassment (one of the main arguments when I suggest people should cycle in to work is “I would mess up my hair!” or similar).

i think it’s far more deep-rooted (forgive the hair pun) psychologically than that. I know people who claim that whatever infrastructure was in place, they will not cycle and will not use public transport. It seems to be about the cocoon-like isolation of the car, and the sense of freedom and space. The commute in particular is a space between work and family / home where the person (generally a man, I suspect) has time for them self . Threats to that are likely to be (indeed are) strongly resisted. It’s not a rational response, and appeals to reason are therefore useless. What’s needed is some sort of alternative for people. 

 

I dunno, for me that freedom/quiet comes when I go out on the bike! (admittedly for leisure rather than commuting)

 

 

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to sergius | 5 years ago
1 like
sergius wrote:
ConcordeCX wrote:
John Smith wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

 

I know the real real reasons they don’t cycle, lack of infrastructure (both in terms of roads and showers/secure parking/places to dry kit) , the other 99 drivers and embarrassment (one of the main arguments when I suggest people should cycle in to work is “I would mess up my hair!” or similar).

i think it’s far more deep-rooted (forgive the hair pun) psychologically than that. I know people who claim that whatever infrastructure was in place, they will not cycle and will not use public transport. It seems to be about the cocoon-like isolation of the car, and the sense of freedom and space. The commute in particular is a space between work and family / home where the person (generally a man, I suspect) has time for them self . Threats to that are likely to be (indeed are) strongly resisted. It’s not a rational response, and appeals to reason are therefore useless. What’s needed is some sort of alternative for people. 

 

I dunno, for me that freedom/quiet comes when I go out on the bike! (admittedly for leisure rather than commuting)

indeed, and that’s what we have to convince the others about

 

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to Yorkshire wallet | 5 years ago
1 like
Yorkshire wallet wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

The big question of the 21st century isn't alien contact.  It isn't climate change, and it's not overpopulation.   

No.  The real big question is whether at some point, the staggeringly stupid f**ks who drive cars will ever get it into their thick f***ing skulls that you can't beat a cyclist in town.  

Maybe those staggeringly stupid fucks are off shopping? Not much room for 2 adults, 2 kids and a 60 inch TV on a bicycle. The bike may be the solution to some things but everything doesn't come down to average speeds.

Wow.

Three cheers for Yorkshire Wallet, and his ability to miss completely the point!

Avatar
SculturaD | 5 years ago
3 likes

He added: “We recently launched plans which will see utility companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on Britain’s busiest local roads – incentivising firms to work on quieter roads or outside of rush hour.

And as if this is going to make any difference to said utility company. The utility company will pass the extra expense onto it's customer, consumer.

Avatar
Jitensha Oni replied to SculturaD | 5 years ago
6 likes
SculturaD wrote:

He added: “We recently launched plans which will see utility companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on Britain’s busiest local roads – incentivising firms to work on quieter roads or outside of rush hour. And as if this is going to make any difference to said utility company. The utility company will pass the extra expense onto it's customer, consumer.

That’s truly insane. If push came to shove, I’d rather have working heating, lighting, water and sewage than an uninterrupted road “service”. YMMV

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wycombewheeler | 5 years ago
4 likes

surprised greenpeace didn't go further and urge the government to ban private cars from town centres

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leaway2 | 5 years ago
6 likes

Building by passes won't increase the speed/reduce congestion in London or Manchester.

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burtthebike | 5 years ago
7 likes

"The RAC said government proposals, “should include extra investment into reducing congestion at pinch-points, looking at further town by-passes to redirect traffic, and resequencing traffic lights so authorities are optimising traffic flow.”"

While the AA seem to accept that demand for driving should be reduced, the RAC hasn't quite got it yet.  All the evidence of the past 70 years is that increasing supply by building new roads and reducing congestion doesn't work, it merely stimulates more demand, which induces more road building which stimulates demand etc etc in a futile self-defeating spiral.

Until the driving organisations stop pretending that they know the solutions and stop selling them to politicians eager to be seen as against the "war on drivers" they aren't doing their job properly.   Any self-respecting cyclist should resign and try a rather more responsible organisation.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to burtthebike | 5 years ago
3 likes
burtthebike wrote:

"The RAC said government proposals, “should include extra investment into reducing congestion at pinch-points, looking at further town by-passes to redirect traffic, and resequencing traffic lights so authorities are optimising traffic flow.”"

While the AA seem to accept that demand for driving should be reduced, the RAC hasn't quite got it yet.  All the evidence of the past 70 years is that increasing supply by building new roads and reducing congestion doesn't work, it merely stimulates more demand, which induces more road building which stimulates demand etc etc in a futile self-defeating spiral.

Until the driving organisations stop pretending that they know the solutions and stop selling them to politicians eager to be seen as against the "war on drivers" they aren't doing their job properly.   Any self-respecting cyclist should resign and try a rather more responsible organisation.

not all motoring organisations

Edmund King, the President of the AA, took a slightly different view.

“For years, the AA has argued that more could be done to encourage drivers to leave their cars on the outskirts and take public transport or car share into urban centres.

“But a lack of joined-up thinking in planning or a desperate urge to milk cash from drivers in the form of parking charges has left car commuters with no option but to join the queues.”

except of course the bicycle is an option, it just takes the government and the police to take vehicular violence seriously so that people will feel safe on the roads. Practically everyone is capable of cycling 3 miles yet so many car journeys are shorter than this. Even where cycling is quicker people will still drive, I can't understand it.

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Pudsey Pedaller | 5 years ago
8 likes

What the RAC fails to mention is why motor vehicles travelling slower than cyclists is a bad thing. A car travelling slower than me is far less likely to do me harm. Also, considering many motorists find it difficult to stay below the limit, maybe this should be seen as another positive.

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ktache | 5 years ago
12 likes

I have just had to cross Reading to pick something up from the sorting office.  Total gridlock into town, then a nice run along the kennet, with a little more gridlock at the other end.  And a breeze on the way back.

They were sold the fantasy of the open road.  They were all lied to.

Not one of them travelling faster than me to be able to close pass.

It's carmeggedon out there folks.

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