And I though my mother getting me back on my bike was a fluke...
How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road
To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want
In the U.S., men’s cycling trips surpass women’s by at least 2:1. This ratio stands in marked contrast to cycling in European countries, where urban biking is a way of life and draws about as many women as men—sometimes more. In the Netherlands, where 27 percent of all trips are made by bike, 55 percent of all riders are women. In Germany 12 percent of all trips are on bikes, 49 percent of which are made by women.
“If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female,” says Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and author of several studies on biking and gender differences.
Ahead of the curve may be New York City, where about five miles of traffic-protected bike lanes have recently been installed. Credit goes to the new Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who is upending the department’s long-standing focus on trucks and automobiles. Remarks Pucher: “A woman cyclist became head of the DOT, and wonderful things started happening.”
And check this out, from just June of this year in the New York Times:
In Urban Cycling, a Gender Gap Persists
For answers to why the a gender gap exists, Mr. Pucher turned his attention to several European countries, where cycling is not only a more popular way of getting around, but where women cycle just as much, if not more, than men.
“Someone was telling me, maybe American woman don’t like to sweat as much as European women. Maybe that’s why American women don’t cycle to work, but Dutch women do,” Mr. Pucher said. “But I think that’s a bunch of baloney.”
Reducing the gender gap, Mr. Pucher concluded, requires addressing issues like safety — and, interestingly, fashion.
“I think the No. 1 reason you have so few women cycling in New York City is because it’s seen as a dangerous activity,” Mr. Pucher said.
With the exception of areas like Central Park and designated bike trails — which female cyclists populate almost as zealously as their male counterparts) — bike riding in most parts of the city is hardly leisurely. “It’s like going into battle,” Mr. Pucher said. “You need a helmet and gloves.”