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Riding Your Bike In Chicago Is Officially Faster Than Taking The CTA

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 14, 2016 8:47PM

Considering the city is in the midst of a Hoth-like deep freeze, you might not have cycling on the brain at this very moment—unless it relates to food delivery. But if speed of movement is your motivating impulse, you may want to hop back on the bike. A study released this week by local researchers confirmed what cyclists have long suspected: on average, travel time is faster on bike than on CTA.

The study, which was conducted by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, examined three distinct types of travel: downtown to neighborhood, outer downtown to neighborhood and neighborhood to neighborhood. According to the study, biking was faster than the CTA, on average, in each situation except one: downtown to neighborhood. But the edge in that case was narrow, with bikes clocking at 50:52 and the CTA at 49:15. The favorable gap for bicycles in the other circumstances were even more pronounced: bikes times on average 43:38 compared to 52:58 in trips from outer downtown to neighborhoods; and it was no contest in terms of neighborhood to neighborhood, where bike travel clocked in at 28:11 compared to the CTA’s whopping 52:05.

If you’re curious about the methodology, all the biking trips were made between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., most of which incorporated bike infrastructure and dedicated lanes. And cyclists in the study “maintained a moderate pace throughout the entire ride” which means their speeds registered “slower than the experienced cyclist.” So if you’re a skilled vet, you’ll probably fare even better.

The study also compared bike travel to Uber Pool. The rideshare service was faster than bicycling in each trip type other than inter-neighborhood travel, according to the study. Bikes win on cost, though; despite maintenance totals, as bike trips will remain free until Trump privatizes all roads.

Overall, cycling fared very well: “Considering all three modes—public transit, UberPool, and bike_biking proved faster than public transit on 33 of the 45 trips and faster than UberPool on 21 trips,” according to findings.

As we reported earlier this week, the same study also concluded that Illinois cities should consider adopting the so-called Idaho Stop—which allows cyclists to safely preserve momentum by treating stop signs at four-way stops as yield signs. So if Chicago ever gets on board with that reasonable recommendation, you could be outpacing the trains and buses even faster.