What is stopping women from cycling?

reohn2
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 12 Mar 2019, 9:54am

TM
But as you said on another thread you need the car to find safe places to take your son cycling and don't feel safe on the road with him,what chance timid cyclists?
The problem is the total lack of cycling infrastructure for daily local riding,and where you live(which I know the area quite well) in an area that be UK standards is cycling is quite well catered for.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Mar 2019, 1:05pm

I have a few local routes away from cars. I live next to a canal. That's our usual family route and allows us to let the dog run with us too. At times that's only a 5 to 6 miles long ride. Other routes are mixed use path about 15 minutes drive away alongside the river Lune. A third is the morecambe sea front, also a drive to.

It will all be better when the lad is older and able to ride further. He'll also be more road wise by then. Until then it's drive cycle, cycle from house along canal or the following option. I doubt this last one will happen before my 6 year old reaches adulthood.

Tangled Metal wrote:Sorting out fears means cycling infrastructure and separation of cyclists from other traffic IMHO.


Of course I still think you need to look at parents bringing on the next generation into cycling as a normal part of life. It's a catch 22 in that you need the perception of safety for parents to do that with their kids. Especially parents who aren't regular cyclists anyway. If we're struggling a keen cyclists then you have a problem.

Although in our case our son is hooked on cycling just doesn't get much more than back streets rides to and from primary school. Safe enough if the adult is quick enough to keep up and keep alert. Still some idiot drivers to watch out for.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby 531colin » 12 Mar 2019, 1:13pm

People expect cycling for daily journeys (eg for work) to be complicated, dangerous and hard work.
People expect cycling for pleasure to be simple and effortless (after all, you can just buy performance).
I read that, or something close to that, on "Lovely bicycle blogspot".....worth a glance.
I know a bloke who reckons that cycling in rural Yorkshire, or riding a pony round a field, are "dangerous".
He drives over the Pennines on the M62 every day for work in Manchester.

I think there are 2 possible conclusions; either people's perception of risk is wonky, or the "cycling is dangerous" is just an excuse for "I don't want to cycle".
I don't think that dressing from head to toe in Hi-vis and plastic hats does anything to reassure people that cycling is a safe, life-enhancing (and life-prolonging) thing to do.
I'm 71, I have cycled all my life to work in various places (including the A1 in Huntingdon) and I used to cycle to school on the South circular in London. I broke my wrist in an accident when I was about 12, which was certainly my fault. No cycling injuries apart from that.
Whats other people's experiences? I know people who have had serious accidents, but if I really felt the risk was high (or even moderate) I would pack up (road cycling).

Kids are different; I took mine (one at a time) on a tandem, or locally off road on their own bikes....off road with the younger one on a tandem and the older one on a solo was a bit of a challenge, but that stage doesn't last long.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 12 Mar 2019, 2:04pm

531colin wrote:I'm 71, I have cycled all my life to work in various places (including the A1 in Huntingdon) and I used to cycle to school on the South circular in London. I broke my wrist in an accident when I was about 12, which was certainly my fault. No cycling injuries apart from that.
Whats other people's experiences? I know people who have had serious accidents, but if I really felt the risk was high (or even moderate) I would pack up (road cycling).

All of my cycling injuries have been self-induced. I have been forced off the road a couple of times, but no injury resulted either time. I have had a number of near misses. I try to learn from them to avoid future such incidents, even if they were not my fault.

I've ridden my bike in Texas. The A1 has nothing on that ! ;)

Vorpal wrote: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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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby The utility cyclist » 12 Mar 2019, 2:34pm

pjclinch wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Start with the parents of young girls...


I don't see any need to make a particular distinction for girls. Normalise cycling for everyone and "everyone" is ~ 50% female. We haven't normalised driving for women with special campaigns to encourage girls to drive when they grow up, we've normalised it by making it relatively easy.

Pete.

Read the rest of what I said regarding boys, however the question is specifically pertaining to females. Boys ride more than young girls, period, that gap remains into adulthood. Boys ride far more often to school, again a fact, they also ride around generally from A-B more so than girls. Catching non males early so that they are more at ease with using bikes getting from A-B whether that be going to the park, to the town to the cinema/meet up with friends, to the swimming pool, to school, visiting grandparents etc etc is where we need to start to make cycling an every day normal activity.

Something they can do without fear, without messing with their hair by having to wear helmets (because show me a young girl cycling without a helmet these days, rare as rocking horse poop!), without needing a special uniform that doesn't have the right look - if you don't think this makes a difference then you're mistaken, go ask young ladies if wearing a helmet/gopping hi-vis clothing is cool and if forced to wear would stop them from cycling, you only need look at how helmet laws killed off teen girl cycling in Australia in one swoop!.

If we want more women in cycling this is where it needs to start, we do need to target girls more than boys because in part it's the over protection of girls by parents that has an effect on cycling numbers, we want to encourage the empowerment of girsl/young ladies to be able to go where they want, however they want under their own steam just like many boys do ... by bike. So that later in life cycling is not seen as odd, just for men, requiring garish outfits and plastic hats, so it's not seen as dangerous nor difficult and is a simple, easy to do, something I've done since a kid option to get from A-B as part of their daily lives, something they can do with their own children/grandchildren because their parents did it with them.
And if it's working to encourage more girls to get into cycling at a young age then by definition it's going to help get more boys cycling as they are far less risk averse, as are their parents with regards to them cycling in whatever guise that may be.

Sorry but IMHO and for the reasons I've stated you're wrong, we do need to directly encourage girls/women to cycle, comparing it to driving cars is completely bonkers! :?

Vorpal wrote: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.

And yet when polled, women say that's it's the danger factor that is by far the biggest thing stopping them from cycling, ask parents if they'll let their girls out on bikes as readily than their boys. sans helmet and hi-vis, If they say yes, then they're either a cycling family who cycle regularly or they're lying. Danger presented whilst cycling is the number one reason why women don't cycle, this is a fact.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby mjr » 12 Mar 2019, 3:37pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Something they can do without fear, without messing with their hair by having to wear helmets (because show me a young girl cycling without a helmet these days, rare as rocking horse poop!),

Sure. In the first video folder I came to, 8 minutes of footage in it, 4 minutes were about secondary school kicking-out time and limiting it to ones where you can't clearly see anyone's face (for privacy reasons) gives these two. This varies a lot across the country IMO. Now, how "young" did you mean? The younger end of primary school age do tend to wear helmets more, even here, but even then, I think starting to ride traditionally is seen as part of growing up.
Image Attachments
mpv-shot0001.jpg
Teenage girl leading a group of three youngsters riding along in front of me.
mpv-shot0002.jpg
Teenage(AFAICT) girl cycling away from town centre towards residential area.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 12 Mar 2019, 4:17pm

The utility cyclist wrote:If we want more women in cycling this is where it needs to start, we do need to target girls more than boys because in part it's the over protection of girls by parents that has an effect on cycling numbers, we want to encourage the empowerment of girsl/young ladies to be able to go where they want, however they want under their own steam just like many boys do ... by bike. So that later in life cycling is not seen as odd, just for men, requiring garish outfits and plastic hats, so it's not seen as dangerous nor difficult and is a simple, easy to do, something I've done since a kid option to get from A-B as part of their daily lives, something they can do with their own children/grandchildren because their parents did it with them.
Show me some evidence that telling the parents of girls that it's safe will get any additional people cycling. The British government has been 'encouraging' cycling for decades by saying it's safe. Where are the cyclists? Where is the modal change?

Vorpal wrote: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.

The utility cyclist wrote:And yet when polled, women say that's it's the danger factor that is by far the biggest thing stopping them from cycling, ask parents if they'll let their girls out on bikes as readily than their boys. sans helmet and hi-vis, If they say yes, then they're either a cycling family who cycle regularly or they're lying. Danger presented whilst cycling is the number one reason why women don't cycle, this is a fact.

It is not *fact*. I've seen the results of two polls like this and the 'number one reason' was all of 20% because there was a huge diversity of responses that included things like showers at work/school, how they looked when they arrived, sweating, etc.

The surveys I've seen asked a specific set of questions, and none included convenience. IMO, if you took a survey and asked people questions like,
'Would you cycle to work or school every day if it was the fastest way to get there?'
'Would you take your children by bike if you had the use of an electric cargo bike?'
'Would you cycle if you could not park nearby, or if parking was very expensive?'
you'd get somewhat different answers.

Instead they ask women sexist questions about whether they are concerned that their hair will get messed up. So what else are they going to answer when concerns about safety looks like the best of a bad (sexist) lot of questions.

Look at the Netherlands, Sweden or Denmark. You don't see more men than women cycling there. Where are the safety concerns? where is the feminine risk aversion?

Mini V, who is 12 cycles to school with a friend when the weather allows. About 25% of the children and teachers at her school cycle at least some of the time. Not all come from cycling families, though Mini V and her friend do. The split is about 50/50 in gender, though all of the teachers who cycle are women.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby mjr » 12 Mar 2019, 4:43pm

I had a look through a few minutes of older video (older camera, flatter lens, poorer compression, lower resolution) while waiting for something at work to finish. I found another teenage girl riding without a helmet and one woman too, along with an older woman who did wear a helmet (but seen from the front close-up so I won't publish her face) but scrubbing through, I got the impression that hi-vis is much more common than helmets, there are more men, men are far more likely to wear both (but still only a minority) and men are far more likely to be riding on the carriageway instead of an adjacent cycleway.

Make of that what you will!
Image Attachments
mpv-shot0003.jpg
woman riding on cycleway alongside six-lane carriageway: basket full, handbag slung across, plus a carrier swinging from the bar end
mpv-shot0004.jpg
teenage girl - road only for bus and bikes
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 12 Mar 2019, 6:42pm

The issue of whether or not parents cycle is probably quite a relevant one. When I was at school neither of my parents cycled, my mum was absolutely clear that it was far too dangerous and that was quite a while ago now. I’m pretty sure that neither my brother or sister cycle, or their partners, so now that they both have kids none of their parents or grandparents have cycled. That has to be a pretty big incentive not to cycle. I only started cycling when I needed to get to work about 20 km away and didn’t have a car. I remember being amazed by a young lad at school in my teens who had been out cycling, it seemed as though he had covered a huge distance and experienced a level of freedom that seemed almost unprecedented.

Around here there is a group of about four young lads that I see on their bikes, a couple of them are getting pretty good a wheelies now too. More recently there have even been a couple of girls spotted out on their bikes occasionally. They are all pretty much limited to riding around the village though because the only way in or out involves about 3 km or so on a busy A road. There was Bikeability training at the local primary school a while ago, but it’s not much more than a 10 minute walk for any of them, and the school is accessed from the main road, so I think that they all mostly walk.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 12 Mar 2019, 8:43pm

531colin wrote:I think there are 2 possible conclusions; either people's perception of risk is wonky, or the "cycling is dangerous" is just an excuse for "I don't want to cycle".

The chap who drives on the M62 to Manchester every day feels safe.
The people who's perception of risk is wonky don't feel safe,that's a huge hurdle to overcome before they even cock their leg over a bike and ride in traffic,let alone allowing their children to ride on the same roads.
TBH I sympathise with them as at times I most definitely don't feel safe,close passes are the worst because I realise that one mistake by either me or the driver could mean I won't walk again or worse.
I have to confess that fear has increased since Mrs R2 developed Parkinsons and relies on me for her day to day living.
Decent cycling infrastucture,road design along with an all out war on errant and criminal drivers would go along way to reassure potential cyclists,especially in urban and high traffic areas.
I'm utterly convinced the the powers that be UK couldn't give a monkey's for cycling and cyclists.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 12 Mar 2019, 8:50pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Start with the parents of young girls...


I don't see any need to make a particular distinction for girls. Normalise cycling for everyone and "everyone" is ~ 50% female. We haven't normalised driving for women with special campaigns to encourage girls to drive when they grow up, we've normalised it by making it relatively easy.

Pete.

Read the rest of what I said regarding boys, however the question is specifically pertaining to females. Boys ride more than young girls, period, that gap remains into adulthood.


In the UK, yes, because the culture is that it's something for Enthusiasts. Rather than trying to make girls Enthusiasts we need to change the culture to one of convenience for anyone, and then people vote with their feet rather than their sense of cool and peer pressure. In NL most children ride, and then most adults ride, slightly more women than men. While I don't have figures, my anecdotal observation riding there is that Enthusiasts (i.e., lycra clad riders on sports machinery) are predominantly men, just like the UK. However, this group is dwarfed in size by the general mass of fietsers. The fietsers don't grow out of the wielrenners, it's quite a different thing.

The utility cyclist wrote:Boys ride far more often to school, again a fact, they also ride around generally from A-B more so than girls.


And they also go fishing more, because it's about being a pastime/hobby rather than being about transport, just as is often the case for adults in the UK. In my experience of teaching cycling at a local primary school the girls were just as keen and capable as the boys, and just as likely to ride to school. Then, up to secondary school and cycling pretty much stops (two or three bikes at a school with a 1400 roll). Boys and girls stop because it's not part of the culture (transport or teen).

The utility cyclist wrote:Catching non males early so that they are more at ease with using bikes getting from A-B whether that be going to the park, to the town to the cinema/meet up with friends, to the swimming pool, to school, visiting grandparents etc etc is where we need to start to make cycling an every day normal activity.


Where I see more boys on bikes is where they're out together pulling wheelies, 'cause that's cool. It isn't anything much to do with transport. We do need to make cycling an everyday normal activity, but that goes for everyone, boys, girls, men, women.

The utility cyclist wrote:Something they can do without fear, without messing with their hair by having to wear helmets (because show me a young girl cycling without a helmet these days, rare as rocking horse poop!), without needing a special uniform that doesn't have the right look - if you don't think this makes a difference then you're mistaken, go ask young ladies if wearing a helmet/gopping hi-vis clothing is cool and if forced to wear would stop them from cycling, you only need look at how helmet laws killed off teen girl cycling in Australia in one swoop!.


It's not so much I don't think this is an issue, more that I am thoroughly bemused you think these image issues don't affect boys too. If you think the wheelieing lads would trade their hoodies for a dayglo vest and a helmet you're so far past mistaken there aren't words for it. I'm actually responsible for a couple of teenagers, and I find the idea that teenage boys aren't acutely conscious of whether they look cool (their value, not yours or mine) somewhere between baffling and hilarious.

The utility cyclist wrote:If we want more women in cycling this is where it needs to start, we do need to target girls more than boys because in part it's the over protection of girls by parents that has an effect on cycling numbers, we want to encourage the empowerment of girsl/young ladies to be able to go where they want, however they want under their own steam just like many boys do ... by bike.


I'm going on my feel as a parent of teenagers, and they don't stop because they're risk-averse, or their parents are risk averse, they stop because it's not the Thing du Jour. They were fine riding to primary school, but then they stop. We need a good way of targeting anyone much. Aside from the need to promote to everyone, I'm not sure how you might particularly target girls and make them more prone to riding. The thing that seems to get lads out is doing their cool tricks, but as already noted that only crosses in to transport as a side-effect.

The utility cyclist wrote:Sorry but IMHO and for the reasons I've stated you're wrong, we do need to directly encourage girls/women to cycle, comparing it to driving cars is completely bonkers! :?


Why? Cars are an excellent example of a fairly even playing field between men and women in transport. In NL that's the case with cycling too, and where there's a playing field that's both fairly even and a pretty good field you'll get everyone playing on it without having to target specific groups. They'll want to come because it's the place to be. In the UK, cars are the place to be, so men and women both go, but in cycling it isn't the place to be unless you're in a niche outgroup. Men tend to fill this sort of niche outgroup more than women.

You need to fundamentally change the culture and environment rather than encourage women/girls they want to be in an outgroup. We are to some extent in Furious Agreement here. However, you won't change the culture bu persuading people (or either sex) that the existing roads are Just Great, because where traffic is heavy and/or fast they're not, by fairly common consent. That you and I are happy to use them as they are doesn't really count, because we're the weirdos in the outgroup.

The utility cyclist wrote:And yet when polled, women say that's it's the danger factor that is by far the biggest thing stopping them from cycling, ask parents if they'll let their girls out on bikes as readily than their boys. sans helmet and hi-vis, If they say yes, then they're either a cycling family who cycle regularly or they're lying. Danger presented whilst cycling is the number one reason why women don't cycle, this is a fact.


Vorpal has already delivered a critique of this "fact". Surveys of why people don't do things are pretty dodgy exercises at the best of times. IME people do what they do and they rationalise it, and often what they do is down to culture, and if something is in the culture it's often convenient (because it's in the culture...). Cycling is not convenient in the UK so people don't do it unless as part of an outgroup sub-culture. People who don't identify with an outgroup rarely want to join it, and they'll grab any handy reason to justify that. Culture also says cycling is dangerous, so that's a handy thing to grab, and it sounds much reasonable to the surveyor you're sort of justifying yourself to than saying "I really can't face the lycra thing, they look like dorks". Your typical man is actually just as dismissive of the UK Typical Cyclist as your typical woman, if not more so when we get down to red light jumping, road tax etc. etc. Danger is probably just a convenient way of sounding reasonable when justifying not wanting to be seen on a bike.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 12 Mar 2019, 8:56pm

reohn2 wrote:I'm utterly convinced the the powers that be UK couldn't give a monkey's for cycling and cyclists.


With local islands of exception, I think very fair comment. Certainly central government have never got very far beyond some positive lip-service (Westminster or Holyrood). And this is a lot of the problem. Who wants to get about by a method that clearly inspires scorn and antipathy in so many of the general public, to the point where national press can practically incite violence against riders.

Culture change needs positive political leadership and engagement. Step forwards Burnham & Boardman in Manchester and take a bow, but we need that on a national level.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby awavey » 13 Mar 2019, 1:12am

Wanlock Dod wrote:I read a comment on this article about how it is not possible to cycle in skirts and heels, and that carrying luggage is out of the question on a bike. It reminded me of riding through a Dutch town on a tour and being overtaken by a young lady in a short skirt and heels, she didn’t want to wait behind us slow tourists so rode down the kerb onto the road and cruised past before pulling back onto the cycle path, all whilst touching up her makeup. I suppose that if you have always driven a car and only ever see young fit men in Lycra riding racing bikes it can have quite an effect on what you believe to be possible.


no this is the thing that grinds my gears about this problem its like a perpetual groundhog day, the infrastructure we have in the UK is what largely determines what clothes you can wear to use it and what riders we end up with, so we end up with fit young men in lycra riding racing bikes because thats the only way people can ride fast enough & for sustained periods to feel safe enough to be mixing it with UK traffic on our roads. you have to be fit,strong and fast to survive, else youll be toast

In the Netherlands of course you can ride wearing normal clothes, skirts and heels,because you arent required to outsprint every car at every traffic light, junction roundabout, just to get back upto a safe speed, youll be going a load slower, on nice safe separated infrastructure, you arent concered about whether that nice 4x4 which has just pulled alongside you and then decided you are no longer there is going to crush you as it moves towards you, and because even if it did something stupid theres presumed liability anyway

Dutch roundabouts are a classic example,they will never work in the UK, because no car will ever stop to give way to a cyclist

our roads are designed for cars, and cars alone, so to ride a bike on them, you have to ride and dress in a way that allows you to stay as safe as you can.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 13 Mar 2019, 8:44am

awavey wrote:no this is the thing that grinds my gears about this problem its like a perpetual groundhog day, the infrastructure we have in the UK is what largely determines what clothes you can wear to use it and what riders we end up with, so we end up with fit young men in lycra riding racing bikes because thats the only way people can ride fast enough & for sustained periods to feel safe enough to be mixing it with UK traffic on our roads. you have to be fit,strong and fast to survive, else youll be toast


I really don't understand how I'm meant to be safer in a pair of bib-shorts than in my typical Rohan Bags. That's nothing to do with safety, it's about how much I want to pretend I'm in the same game as <insert favourite sports rider here>.

awavey wrote:In the Netherlands of course you can ride wearing normal clothes, skirts and heels,because you arent required to outsprint every car at every traffic light, junction roundabout, just to get back upto a safe speed, youll be going a load slower, on nice safe separated infrastructure, you arent concered about whether that nice 4x4 which has just pulled alongside you and then decided you are no longer there is going to crush you as it moves towards you, and because even if it did something stupid theres presumed liability anyway


You only need to do the above if you want to get where you're going as fast as possible. Makes sense if you're a courier or Deliveroo rider, but you really can get about on a Boris Bike or the like at speeds well below the sound barrier. I'm a workplace cycle instructor in my spare time, my last client was worried about riding in town. By the time we were done she was happy riding around the busiest bits of town we could find, and we never had to get out of the saddle. That's not to say it's easy to do, or something any given person would find convenient and pleasant, but it certainly doesn't require racing equipment/clothes. That's just the culture of being a Proper Cyclist with All The Gear.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 13 Mar 2019, 8:55am

pjclinch wrote:
reohn2 wrote:I'm utterly convinced the the powers that be UK couldn't give a monkey's for cycling and cyclists.


With local islands of exception, I think very fair comment. Certainly central government have never got very far beyond some positive lip-service (Westminster or Holyrood). And this is a lot of the problem.

Agreed

Who wants to get about by a method that clearly inspires scorn and antipathy in so many of the general public, to the point where national press can practically incite violence against riders

Only weirdos,and enthusiasts :wink:

Culture change needs positive political leadership and engagement

And one only need look at Westminster to draw a conclusion in that respect.

Step forwards Burnham & Boardman in Manchester and take a bow, but we need that on a national level.

Pete.

They're doing their best with limited resources which were slashed by 50% by austerity measures by yet more incompetence in Westminster.
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