What is stopping women from cycling?

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The utility cyclist
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby The utility cyclist » 26 Feb 2019, 8:20pm

pjclinch wrote:
orangebiker wrote:The only logical answer to the original question is safety (or perceived safety).


Seems a bit sweeping. I'd say the thing that stops anyone taking up cycling as an everyday transport option is it's not "normal", where "normal" is the cultural norm of what "everybody does". In the UK, to get from A to B, that's mainly driving, and if you don't drive then probably the bus on a local trip. People will hang out all sorts of reasons not to change habits.

The utility cyclist wrote:The stats also show us that there is a huge disparity in terms of everyday cycling in favour of men


The point here being that a typical man using cycling as an everyday transport option is a Cycling Enthusiast who is quite likely to be a leisure /sporting cyclist in their free time. If cycling were normal to the point it is in NL the disparity between men and women would be submerged in the general use of bikes by "normal people", because for everyone worried about e.g. talking about cycling on interweb forums and reading cycling magazines and drooling at velo-confectionary there'd be scores of people who just get their bike out, go where they're going and not really think any more about it.

It strikes me that women are less likely to be Cycling Enthusiasts in the same way they are less likely to be Fly Fishing Enthusiasts, Golfing Enthusiasts, Model Railway Enthusiasts etc. etc. That's not safety. The main difference is those things don't have much of general life function counterpoint like everyday transport.

Pete.

My point was with regards to fear factor which was why I replied to the previous poster who seemed to make out that women ride on the road just as readily as men do, which isn't the case which is shown not just in the statistics but also eyeball MK.1
I also saw quite a few times, so called enthusiasts of the male variety in all the gear, hi vis, noddy hat etc but riding on the footway :roll:

Also seen many a carbon dripped male rider and clearly knew how to ride cowering away in the gutter, enthusiast or not fear factor plays a massive part in ALL people who ride bikes, it just happens to effect women more than men.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 27 Feb 2019, 10:46am

The utility cyclist wrote:Also seen many a carbon dripped male rider and clearly knew how to ride cowering away in the gutter, enthusiast or not fear factor plays a massive part in ALL people who ride bikes, it just happens to effect women more than men.

Do you have some evidence to support this from studies that are not significantly biased?

Every time I've looked at this question, I find studies that show women being 'risk averse' or rated a 'lower risk taking', but... the studies are designed by middle class men (mostly white) who ask about things like mountain climbing or parachuting; things that traditionally women are low participants in, and furthermore are culturally conditioned to avoid.

I have yet to find a study that looks at how men and women risk assess in everyday circumstances, transport choices, etc.

IMO, women make judgements about transport choices based *mainly* on convenience. Safety perception probably plays a role, but I sincerely doubt that much of the difference in transport mode rates between men and women is related to risk aversion/taking.
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pjclinch
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 27 Feb 2019, 11:28am

The utility cyclist wrote:My point was with regards to fear factor which was why I replied to the previous poster who seemed to make out that women ride on the road just as readily as men do, which isn't the case which is shown not just in the statistics but also eyeball MK.1


But the Eyeball Mk 1 and "the statistics" (wherever you got them) won't easily account for Enthusiasts, because you need to subtract those from what you see before you can see what's left and then decide how it works for "normal people".

Since UK cycling has a disproportionate share of Enthusiasts, and a disproportionate share of Enthusiasts are blokes, you can't really tell how risk averse the typical Normal Man and Normal Woman relatively are.

That you've seen people on serious carbon velo-confectionary in the gutter or on the pavement doesn't mean much. It's entirely likely they went out and bought cycling as part of their mid-life crisis and don't actually know much about what they're doing, and sample sizes for Mk 1 eyeballs are low.

In other words, amongst the sort of people you may encounter on a bike in the UK many may not be women for the same reason you tend to encounter fewer women (AFAICT) on golf courses or fly-fishing beats. It might be risk aversion, but you're on pretty thin ice concluding that as any sort of certainty.

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charliepolecat
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby charliepolecat » 28 Feb 2019, 6:28pm

men (mostly white)


Why was it necessary to add that, were you just jumping on the current bandwagon of artificial prejudice?

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 1 Mar 2019, 8:36am

The actual level of risk, and the perception of risk, are very different things. Cycling and childbirth have both been mentioned, I have no idea whether the risks are similar, but I am quite sure that many women who would view childbirth as having an entirely acceptable level of risk would also consider the risks associated with cycling as unacceptable. That’s a null issue for men, but most people in Little Britain consider the risks associated with driving acceptable and the risks associated with cycling as unacceptable.

That said, I’m not sure that of the diminishingly small numbers of utility cyclists men are over represented, although the overall numbers are usually so small that actually quantifying relative numbers of men and women is very difficult. I certainly know plenty of male cycling enthusiasts who would never consider using their bikes for the kinds of practical journeys that most people would walk.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 1 Mar 2019, 9:51am

charliepolecat wrote:
men (mostly white)


Why was it necessary to add that, were you just jumping on the current bandwagon of artificial prejudice?


Because whether you like it or not white men will be a group most likely to be enabled by, and get a sense of entitlement from, their culture than other mixes of sex and race. This affects interactions based on culture and psychology, which this is.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 1 Mar 2019, 10:34am

Wanlock Dod wrote:The actual level of risk, and the perception of risk, are very different things..........

That statement goes to the heart of the matter.
Whether we like it or not for most people who don't cycle the perception of risk when cycling is high whatever anyone on here might say.
I've lost count of the number of times people,mostly women,have said to me "the roads are too dangerous for cycling" or words to that effect.
And at times I can fully understand their concerns as everytime I go for a ride there's and incident of some moron close passing me either very deliberately of unaware of the concern and fear they've induced.
My 40 mile ride on Tuesday this week (20+miles of which were off road on bridleways and towpath) consisted of two close passes both of which were completely unnecessary and one of which I caught at a TL 500m further on,a middle aged lady who apologised profusely when I explained how close she was to me,patting my arm reassurringly through her open window that she wouldn't do it again :? .
IME the close passes and stupid manoeuvres happen multiple times every ride,I've learned to read and become hardened to them over many years of cycling but most new cyclists,I'm convinced, never get past their first frightening encounter before retreating back to the perceived safety of the box on wheels and that's more so for women who's risk assessment I feel sure is far lower than most men.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby mjr » 1 Mar 2019, 11:17am

reohn2 wrote:I've lost count of the number of times people,mostly women,have said to me "the roads are too dangerous for cycling" or words to that effect.

It's interesting. I think this is changing. People used to say "the roads are too busy" but that seems to be becoming "the roads are too dangerous" more and more.

reohn2 wrote:And at times I can fully understand their concerns as everytime I go for a ride there's and incident of some moron close passing me either very deliberately of unaware of the concern and fear they've induced.

Why's it so poor near you? Do you not have any decent wide protected cycleways there yet? (and I'm sorry for the implication here) Do you take the lane as much as needed?
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 1 Mar 2019, 1:12pm

mjr wrote:
reohn2 wrote:I've lost count of the number of times people,mostly women,have said to me "the roads are too dangerous for cycling" or words to that effect.

It's interesting. I think this is changing. People used to say "the roads are too busy" but that seems to be becoming "the roads are too dangerous" more and more.

IMO It's the same thing expressed differently by some people,busy=dangerous,dangerous=busy

Why's it so poor near you? Do you not have any decent wide protected cycleways there yet? (and I'm sorry for the implication here) Do you take the lane as much as needed?

It's poor because it's busy mostly and IME some drivers are quite aggressive.
There is very little infrastructure that one would call acceptable,laughable more like.
My default riding position on the road is usually 1m or more between kerb/road edge and my tyres,and when needed I'll be in the middle of my lane or whatever position needed to block traffic from behind for my own safety.
I'm an assertive rider of many years standing
I'm absolutely positive most very close passes of 0.4m or less are a form of bullying.I say that by the encounters I've had whenever I've had chance to 'have a word' say in the inevitable jam or at the next TL.
My latest encounter was last week:-
Riding along a wide two way A road a plug of seven vehicles from a TL I'd just passed through,approached from behind.
The first three cars gave me about 2m clearance(I was doing about 15 to 17mph they were doing 50).
The next vehicle,a silver Jaguar passed me within 30cm at the same speed.
The other three after gave me the same 2m as the first three.
There was no oncoming traffic
The Jag then turned into a golf driving range about 300m further on and I followed it.
The driver,a chap in his 60's,was just getting his golf clubs out of the boot when I arrived.
I said "what was all that about?" there was no response other than "wha" as his voice trailed off and the colour drained out of his face.I said "one mistake by you and I would've be dead" followed by "you know what you've done don't you?"
At this point I felt like a teacher telling off an errent 10 year old kid.
I gave this bully ample time to answer and apologise to my enquiry before I blasted him with a hail of abuse laced with an ample number of four letter words and which TBH I felt better for.
I was still shaking 20 minutes later and could taste the adenaline.
This kind of overtake isn't how it should be but happens all too regularly though not always at that speed differential.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 1 Mar 2019, 1:57pm

While on the one hand I can entirely sympathise with reasoning that the roads are not necessarily pleasant and/or safe-feeling places to ride, I am wary of what people say in surveys about what they would do, or exactly why they wouldn't do something.

IME people do what they do, and they do that in preference to changing to something they don't do. And they will rationalise to hell and back what sound like sensible reasons to not change. After all, we do what we do because it was a smart choice (or so we like to think), and changing requires the tacit admission that perhaps we were wrong about that.

So... ask a driver why they drive rather than ride and the reason may well boil down to "well, that's what I do, and that's because it's what I've always done", but that sounds a bit rubbish so it's much better for the ego if they can come up with a notional Good Reason. Such as "it's obviously too dangerous to ride".

The acid test of this is often when you come up with a pretty convincing pile of reasons why the reasoning is wrong, and the response is to immediately find the next reason. And then the next. The answer is "I don't want to ride a bike", the reasoning is some interchangeable text from a Cycling Just Won't Do bingo list. Typically not in the bingo list because it's in the realm of things that sound like rubbish reasons is "I don't identify with being a cyclist", but I suspect it's a powerful cultural/psychological reason. In NL riding a bike is a normal thing, in the UK it implies membership of an out-group.

Note that I think for the most part this affects men and women in more or less equal part, though that small section of the population who buy in to Enthusiasms tend to be male heavy. Whether that's a cultural artefact or s sexual one I don't know... I'd guess more likely the former, but it's only a guess.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 1 Mar 2019, 2:19pm

Pete
The outgroup and sticking in the same rut thinking I agree with.
The normal utility cycling thing is completely discouraged in the UK by the complete and utter lack of decent provision which in turn means the vast majority of ordinary wo/man,child,teenager never even entertain the idea of the bike as a form of meaningful,efficient,worthwhile means of getting from A to B,however short the distance.
Motor traffic is the reason for people never getting off first base as an idea to cycle anywhere.

Trying to put myself in the shoes of someone thinking of cycling as a means of transport,I can easily see why in the UK environment they wouldn't even give it a second thought.

Here's a thought,I wonder what percentage of cyclists in the UK use a camera to record their everyday journey,especially in cities,and why?
Compare that percentage figue with NL cyclists.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 2 Mar 2019, 5:53am

Wanlock Dod wrote:The actual level of risk, and the perception of risk, are very different things. Cycling and childbirth have both been mentioned, I have no idea whether the risks are similar, but I am quite sure that many women who would view childbirth as having an entirely acceptable level of risk
..
I certainly know plenty of male cycling enthusiasts who would never consider using their bikes for the kinds of practical journeys that most people would walk.

Dying in childbirth was quite common in the past, very very rare now, Plus One for modern medicine. Hurts a bit probably, I guess
Plus One for walking

May I ask, is your profile picture a true likeness? :wink:
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 2 Mar 2019, 9:30am

brynpoeth wrote:
Wanlock Dod wrote:The actual level of risk, and the perception of risk, are very different things. Cycling and childbirth have both been mentioned, I have no idea whether the risks are similar, but I am quite sure that many women who would view childbirth as having an entirely acceptable level of risk
..
I certainly know plenty of male cycling enthusiasts who would never consider using their bikes for the kinds of practical journeys that most people would walk.

Dying in childbirth was quite common in the past, very very rare now, Plus One for modern medicine. Hurts a bit probably, I guess
Plus One for walking

May I ask, is your profile picture a true likeness? :wink:

:shock:
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 2 Mar 2019, 8:17pm

Brynopeth, I’ll be easy to spot if we pass on the road.

I can’t help feeling that reohn2’s view of conditions on the roads of Little Britain is probably more consistent with the norm than mjr’s. Perhaps I have been riding too much in the wrong part of the country, I certainly hope so.....

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 2 Mar 2019, 9:26pm

charliepolecat wrote:
men (mostly white)


Why was it necessary to add that, were you just jumping on the current bandwagon of artificial prejudice?

Because the people who do studies about risk aversion think of risk differently than the people included in or responding to the studies. I think I explained it pretty well in my post. When a questionaire or interview asks people about something like mountain climbing, there is a very limited group of people who will have experienced that, and a not much larger group who will have considered trying it. Most of them are middle class white men. It's not meant as any sort of prejudice. It's just a matter of how things are. But it is likely to result in a biased outcome.
This TØI report is the least biased look at gender differences in risk perception (and transport choices) that I have come across
https://www.toi.no/getfile.php?mmfileid=12365
The differences found suggest that males perceive risk as lower than females, and in particular that white males constitute a group who perceive risk as extremely low compared to non-white males and women in general (Finucane et al. 2000b). This “white male effect” is explained by socio-political factors.
In a short review, Gustafson (1998a) call for further investigation of gender differences in risk perception research. Summing up relevant research, Gustafson (1998b) discusses how quantitative research consistently has found gender differences in risk perception. These differences are most often small, and have to a large degree been left unexplained. In qualitative studies, however, one has focused on how males and females not only perceive the same risks differently, but also that they perceive different risks; whereas females tend be oriented towards health and environmental risks, males report to be more concerned about economic issues (Gustafson 1998c). Gustafson (1998d) emphasise that gender differences rarely are explained in the scientific literature. Moreover, he points out that to the degree explanations are offered, they are seldom related to theories of gender. Thus, Gustafson (1998) call for research taking gender structures as the point of departure for the explanation of gender differences in risk perception.
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