Safety in numbers makes more women cycle12/08/2005 News
New research conducted independently by London Analytics has found that a greater proportion of women cycle if other people are cycling already. Women in the UK are currently half as likely as men to cycle.
CTC Campaigns & Policy Manager, Roger Geffen, said: “We have known for some time that cyclists gain from a ‘safety in numbers’s effect â€“ the more people cycle, the safer it gets. This new research suggests that at least in London, women may be recognising this, taking up cycling and thereby accelerating this healthy trend. We also know that, whilst cycle training for teenagers is more popular among boys than girls, in adulthood it is women who are far more likely than men to seek training. Just a couple of hours’s training to the National Standard makes a huge difference to people’s willingness to cycle and their confidence while doing so.”
However, it is possible that cultural factors might also help explain the apparent link between high cycle use and the proportion of cyclists who are women.
Alix Stredwick recently completed a Cycling for Women project for the Women’s Design Service, helping women from diverse backgrounds and racial groups to take up cycling. Alix commented: “We found that one of the key elements that would attract women to cycling who are already thinking about it is the existence of ‘role models’ who visibly demonstrate that cycling is for women too. More and more people promoting cycling are catching on to this and marketing specifically to women via positive images of women of all ages and backgrounds cycling in ‘everyday’ clothing doing ‘everyday’ things – you don’t have to don the Lycra and be an urban warrior just to go to the shops.”