Cars often give the false impression of being faster than riding, because their maximum speed is higher.
However, this hides the slow and stationary time spent in a car which can often be avoided on a bike.
Cycling cultures like in Holland and Denmark realise this, and it contributes to the number of people who cycle to work.
However, I think it is fair to say that in Australia, and in Adelaide in particular, we tend to think that you need more congested traffic for bikes to beat cars. However, my experience in the past ten years is that this is no longer the case in peak hour, and hasn't been for a decade or so.
But until today, that was only a hunch, with no evidence to back it up.
Today, the Royal Automobile Association (the RAA) released the results of a small-scale experiment they conducted where they found that for three of four routes into the city, that bicycle was the fastest way to get there. You can read a little about it here. If someone finds a link to the original RAA report, let me know and I will link to it.
What makes this a particularly interesting development is that the RAA seems to be broadening its base from only motorists to include other forms of transport. Just recently they announced that people driving mobility scooters, or "gophers" as we call them in South Australia, would now be covered for breakdowns, primarily flat batteries and tyres, if they hold normal RAA coverage.
They have also called on the government to spend more on cycling infrastructure, and generally encouraging people to ride their bikes. This makes sense, since it helps traffic flow better if there are fewer cars on the road, and the RAA is all about helping people get where they want with as little hassle and wasted time as possible. It just happens that historically the car was arguably the best way to do that.
It would be encouraging to see the RAA extend their coverage again to cover flat tyres on bicycles, and supporting people on electric bikes, which are really just gophers with fewer and larger wheels.
The RAA are very well respected in South Australia, and if they continue to promote cycling as a viable, it might just help to redefine the car/bicycle dialogue in South Australia that has been so unnecessarily adversarial recently.