How to encourage more women to cycle?

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  • A group of LCC Board are meeting on Thursday to have a chat about ways to encourage more women to ride in London and to join the LCC. Lucy Cooper has provided some background below.

    LCC doesn’t have a bad split at 60% men 40% women, in comparison to the cycling stats of London where 64% of cyclists are men but they make 72% of cycle journeys.

    However nationwide the split is worse 28% of journeys are made by women. CTC’s split is 75% men 25% women.

    DK has previously shared the split on lfgss which I think is even greater.

    Talking to them it seems there is still a feeling amongst some potential cyclists that they hate cyclists as they are ALL rude, macho and do not respect the rules of the road.

    Anyway if you have any thoughts or suggestions they would be VERY welcome. Your experience would be extremely helpful.

    Many thanks in anticipation
    Alex

  • Something involving an ad agency, many smiling women on bikes, slebs and an insanely catchy song like "here come the girls"
    Or
    More poster adverts with Kelly brook on dutch bikes
    even more poster ads with queen vic on.
    The practical things we've been doing for years don't read so good.
    Oh yeah start a Facebook group as well

  • Pretty much all of my female friends cycle - the difference between them and my male friends who cycle is that the girls view their bike as just another way to get around, whereas the boys get far more into the whole tech/scene side of things.

    The girls just see it as a way tog et from a to b

  • Interesting, thanks.

    I know there are a lot of women for whom this is a safety issue as well as vanity.

  • The girls just see it as a way tog et from a to b

    That's really not the case, is it? I'm definately not the only girl round here who is getting into the more technical side of cycling - learning how to build bikes, build wheels, getting into road and track racing.

    For me one of the things about cycling is it's the 1st way I think of getting from a to b but even that means so much more - it's the cheapest, more hassle free, stress busting, fitness improving etc way of getting from a to b. It's a way to see places though and loads of us here go places for the sake of going to a ride not because we need/want to go to the destination.

    In answer to mm's original question, most of the girls I know who don't ride bikes is quite simply becuase they are scared of cycling in London traffic. I know plenty of blokes who don't cycle for same reason too though.

  • ^ Hmmm. Does the media have any part in this do you think? Stories about more women being killed by lorries at junctions etc?

  • I feel so much safer as a cyclist than a pedestrian.

  • Ann invited me to contribute to this but I am a bit horrifically busy at the moment, will try to sort something by email before tomorrow though. This forum has a few threads on the subject. And yes I will never forgive Ben Webster for publishing that bullshit story about women cyclists being more likely to die because they're scared of traffic lights and ride under lorries or whatever it was he was claiming.

  • Get Helen Pidd onboard.

  • Yeah Helen's great. Zoe Williams is good too and already has links with LCC.

  • most of the girls I know who don't ride bikes is quite simply becuase they are scared of cycling in London traffic. I know plenty of blokes who don't cycle for same reason too though.

    Same here...few years ago I was really scared too.
    In the past year I did encourage two of my girlfriends to start commuting and I'm really happy about it! One of them took part in one of those cycle trainings organised by Islington Council and she said it made a huge difference to the way she feels about being on the road during busy hours.

  • Before I started cycling I was shit scared of going on a bike in traffic. It had nothing to do with the media, though. Don't ever recall reading / seeing any stories about cyclist deaths or injuries before I actually started doing it - it didn't register as something I would need to pay attention to, like people dying from drowning on beaches. "I don't live near a beach so this doesn't affect me; I don't cycle so I don't notice these reports" kind of thing.

    My fears were, rather, based on the idea of being a soft squishy fleshbag surrounded by several hundred tons of fast-moving metal piloted by fucking maniacs. Note that this circumstance hasn't changed - I'm still a soft squishy fleshbag and London's roads are still filled with hundreds of tons of fast-moving metal piloted by fucking maniacs. I've just got more skills and confidence and ability to deal with these circumstances. If I hadn't started cycling, those skills and that confidence would never have materialised. I just got on a bike and found it wasn't as bad as my brain had told me to expect.

    This obviously does not answer the original question, which is broadly similar to "why are there no women in IT" or "why are women not getting involved in XYZ". The answers to those questions haven't really been comprehensively found either.

  • more cyclists on the front page of hello and ok magazines

  • ^ Hmmm. Does the media have any part in this do you think? Stories about more women being killed by lorries at junctions etc?

    And yes I will never forgive Ben Webster for publishing that bullshit story about women cyclists being more likely to die because they're scared of traffic lights and ride under lorries or whatever it was he was claiming.

    But aren't female deaths disproportionately (sp?) higher than men and more women HAVE been killed under lorries/turning left?

  • It's all about the appearance, when you look at other's commuting, you'd be forgiven to think you need to wear all those cycling clothes and safety equipment just to ride 4 miles each way.

    The helmet, the day-glo vest, the windbreaker, the reflective band, the little helmet light, the special shoes, the stretchy water repellant thermal trouser, the face mask, making it appear as if you need to be geeky in order to ride a bicycle.

    They even wear them on hire bike, which worringly becoming a regular feature.

    People like lolabelle, missmouse, poots, etc. show them all that one needn't dress like a builder to commuter.

  • Are you implying that women are vain?

  • I, for one, would welcome a free waterproof mascara with every helmet sale.

    Also Wiggle should start doing toolkits in pastel pink. That'll get the ladies in.

  • Are you implying that women are vain?

    No, it applied to both sexes, don't put word in my mouth.

  • A group of LCC Board are meeting on Thursday to have a chat about ways to encourage more women to ride in London and to join the LCC. Lucy Cooper has provided some background below.

    LCC doesn’t have a bad split at 60% men 40% women, in comparison to the cycling stats of London where 64% of cyclists are men but they make 72% of cycle journeys.

    However nationwide the split is worse 28% of journeys are made by women. CTC’s split is 75% men 25% women.

    DK has previously shared the split on lfgss which I think is even greater.

    Talking to them it seems there is still a feeling amongst some potential cyclists that they hate cyclists as they are ALL rude, macho and do not respect the rules of the road.

    Anyway if you have any thoughts or suggestions they would be VERY welcome. Your experience would be extremely helpful.

    Many thanks in anticipation
    Alex

    I don't think it's a gender issue, except possibly, to generalise, men are more attracted to the geeky side of cycling so get into it as a means to acquire tech, and men seem to perceive a lower risk and so are less intimidated by the thought of riding in traffic.

    You get more women to cycle by getting more people to cycle, and you do that by providing proper, high quality, direct and useful infrastructure that keeps trucks and fast-moving traffic away from bicycles, and by using legislation such as stricter liability to change the attitudes of drivers where they share the roads with cyclists.

  • It's all about the appearance

    I didn't.

  • The appearance we gave to other implying that it's harder than it look to ride a bicycle.

  • Mrs b&d rides because she enjoys it. She doesn't see it as solely a means to get about in London - primarily she rides because it's another release from the stresses of her job (anyone who has met her will understand that what we do isn't all beer and skittles).

    With the slow (but sure) increases in the cost of public transport she, like many others, is taking advantage of the ride to work scheme and will soon be acquiring a road bike. As a result of the lack of facilities in the vast majority of workplaces, I can understand why a lot of people (not just women) don't ride...

  • But aren't female deaths disproportionately (sp?) higher than men and more women HAVE been killed under lorries/turning left?

    No. There was one year when female deaths were higher, every other year it's been more men - but we're talking really small numbers here - by which I obviously don't mean they're any more acceptable, I just mean I think it's an arbitrary characteristic that's about as useful as saying people with blue jumpers are more likely to be run over.

  • Before I started cycling I was shit scared of going on a bike in traffic. It had nothing to do with the media, though. Don't ever recall reading / seeing any stories about cyclist deaths or injuries before I actually started doing it - it didn't register as something I would need to pay attention to, like people dying from drowning on beaches. "I don't live near a beach so this doesn't affect me; I don't cycle so I don't notice these reports" kind of thing.

    My fears were, rather, based on the idea of being a soft squishy fleshbag surrounded by several hundred tons of fast-moving metal piloted by fucking maniacs. Note that this circumstance hasn't changed - I'm still a soft squishy fleshbag and London's roads are still filled with hundreds of tons of fast-moving metal piloted by fucking maniacs. I've just got more skills and confidence and ability to deal with these circumstances. If I hadn't started cycling, those skills and that confidence would never have materialised. I just got on a bike and found it wasn't as bad as my brain had told me to expect.

    This obviously does not answer the original question, which is broadly similar to "why are there no women in IT" or "why are women not getting involved in XYZ". The answers to those questions haven't really been comprehensively found either.

    ^This!

    You don't need to read newspapers to put you off doing stuff. You just need to see the London traffic to know that it takes confidence, experience and skills to tackle it. There's a lot of aggression and impatience on the roads, anyone can see that with their own eyes.

    What made me hesitate to cycle for many years were:

    1) A deep dislike of motorised traffic: noise, pollution, aggression. Do I really want to be close to those beasts?
    2) Knowing that it would take me a while to build the confidence and therefore scared of doing something stupid that could potentially hurt me or kill me
    3) not knowing anything about bike mechanics - what to do when you have a puncture, can I be bothered to learn about bike maintenance, I can't do it, I don't like doing it etc.
    4) what kind of bike to get?
    5) parking and theft
    6) how to manage a change of clothes at work

  • No. There was one year when female deaths were higher, every other year it's been more men - but we're talking really small numbers here - by which I obviously don't mean they're any more acceptable, I just mean I think it's an arbitrary characteristic that's about as useful as saying people with blue jumpers are more likely to be run over.

    Also we never know what really happened in those accidents and the focus (media and LFGSS) tends to be on women's skills and attitudes. But what about the driver? (all men by the way). What are their driving skills, what are their attitudes around (female) cyclists?

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