Does the car go as fast as you think?

I bounce on the mail Surun Pierre appeared in the West of France on Saturday (April 9 2005).

I wondered about the real average speed of a motorist who according to Pierre Surun puts 500 euros per month in his car. 
Even if the maximum authorized speed on the motorway is 130 km / h, it is generally not possible to exceed the 100 km / h average speed on these long asphalt stages. You have to count the stops to rest and often you do not deprive yourself during these long stages. To ensure that the average speed on the motorway does not exceed 100 km / h, it is enough to observe the trucks that we overtake twice on the long journeys and which took advantage of our stop to resume the advance . On long journeys on national and departmental roads, the average drops to 60 km / h while respecting the speed limits. With daily trips, more trips in urban areas, we see that the overall average of the motorist is only 40 km / h. Either the respectable speed of a car without a license or even twice the speed of an upright bike: 20 km / h!
But we must add to this the “time lost in making money” to pay for the right to drive a car. Based on Pierre Surun's 500 euros per month which represents the total cost of a car, I counted that on average the French work 650 hours / year to pay for the purchase of the vehicle, maintenance, insurance and also taxes to maintain the roads. 
With my 40 km / h average speed and knowing that the French travel on average 14000 km per year (less for gasoline and more for diesels), I deduce that the French drive 350 hours per year (roughly 1 hour per day, which gives a good order of magnitude). 
By cumulating the time spent working to pay for this right to travel by car and the time actually spent in the car to travel, we see that the average speed drops to 14 km / h (14000 km / 350 h + 650 h ).
Add to this the social and economic costs of pollution and the actual average speed drops to 8 or 6 km / h.
And I come to the very simple conclusion: at this rate, wouldn't it be better for us to use what nature has given us, namely our legs!
And I open this reflection on the interest that recumbent bikes can present. These bikes are up to 30% more efficient than upright bikes and average speeds of around 25 to 30 km / h can be reached almost easily. When you know the real speed of a car, it is worth considering the possibility of replacing your car with an efficient bicycle.

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Eric Souffleux, 26 years old from Nantes. (letter sent on April 13, 2005)

Publication in the West of France 14 and 15 2005 April.

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