According to the Department for Transport’s latest modelling, motorists are only 1.7mph quicker than cyclists on urban streets. However, the DfT’s Journey Time Statistics – published for only the third time – factors in a strange delay for cyclists. "Parking time" of five minutes is "added to all cycle journeys," says the report. Considering that cycling is generally door-to-door, and that locking up a bike is the work of seconds, this is a questionable addition.
The DfT modelling uses journeys between hospitals, shops and other "known sets of origins and destinations."
While cyclists ride at 9.9mph on every type of road, motorists do not have this predictable smoothness. On A-roads, motorists average 27mph but only average 11.6mph on urban streets, which are the most common roads in the UK. (Motorways and dual carriageways, for instance, make up only two percent of British roads.)
Pedestrians average 2.9mph, says the DfT.
Strangely, in the notes for Journey Time Statistics it’s said that "cycle journeys are also allowed to use footpaths at walking pace." Technically, footpaths are rural so presumably the DfT means footways, which are commonly known as pavements. (Confusingly, a "pavement" to a road engineer is the surface of a road, not the slice of territory used by pedestrians.) Cyclists are often prohibited from using footways, although this has been somewhat relaxed since guidance was issued by the Home Office in 1999 stating that:
“The … fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”