There’s no question that John Pucher (Rutgers) and Ralph Buehler (Virginia Tech) are two of the most prominent researchers on bicycle issues here in the U.S. So it’s no surprise the bike world is all abuzz with the fall publication of their new book City Cycling. The 365-page resource is billed as “a guide to [the] urban cycling renaissance” and, being in touch with the pulse of the movement, Pucher and Buehler included a chapter on “Women and Cycling.”
This week, Pucher himself gave a preview of the chapter over on European Cyclists’ Federation blog. Being a friend of the League, Pucher gave me a sneak-peak of the chapter, too. Written by leading researchers Jan Garrard, Susan Handy and Jennifer Dill, the chapter discusses the benefits of cycling for women, patterns of participation and strategies for increasing ridership in countries like the U.S. where female cyclists make up a mere 25 percent of bike transportation trips.
It’s a wealth of insight packed into 23 pages, to say the least. Here’s just three items that stood out to me…
- Better bicycling can liberate women from disproportionate time spent driving other passengers. “In two worker households, [U.S.] women were twice as likely as men to pick up or drop off children during their commute… Consequently, when cycling-friendly conditions support independent bicycle trips by children and other dependents, women are the principal beneficiaries of a reduction in these particular household responsibilities.”
- Getting more women to bike starts with getting more girls to ride. “Women in low-cycling countries tend to move in and out of cycling at various stages of their lives. In contrast, women in high cycling countries, such as the Netherlands, move seamlessly between cycling as a child, adolescent, young adult, and older adult.”
- Women may be less likely than men to get injured while cycling, but more likely to perceive biking as unsafe. “An analysis of cycling injuries in the United Kingdom found that after adjusting for distance cycled, men were more likely to be injured than women… [However] Data from the UK National Travel Survey indicate that women are more likely to express concerns about safety (85%) than men (61%)… In a random telephone survey of adults in Portland, Oregon, 52 percent of women cited “too much traffic” as a barrier to cycling more, compared to 34 percent of men… In the survey of cyclists in Victoria, Australia, women were more likely than men to report “aggression from motorists” as a constraint on cycling, even though men were more likely to have actually experienced harassment from motor vehicle occupants… Overall, these findings serve as a reminder that perceptions of risk may be as important as actual risks, particularly for women, and that “traffic risks” extend beyond risk of fatality or serious injury to include risk of “near misses” and harassment.”
Intrigued? Pre-order your copy from Amazon now and get a $10 discount. Click here to get City Cycling for just $18!
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.