New “bikebelles” website aims to close cycling gender gap

Sustrans prepares for launch of website encouraging more women to cycle

by Rebecca McIlhone   February 25, 2009  

bikebelles publicity pic.jpg

A NEW website aims to find out why so many less women cycle than men, in a bid to reduce the cycling gender gap.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans is preparing to launch the “bikebelles” website on March 8, to coincide with International Womens Day. It is part of a campaign to identify why only one per cent of women cycle every day, compared to eight per cent of men.

Sustrans Press and PR Manager Gill Harrison tells road.cc: “The website will have various things going on during the year to find out what’s stopping women from cycling - safety concerns are prime in a lot of people’s minds.

“Each year we try to target a new group and encourage them to cycle. Last year we did some work with children and this year we’re targeting women.”

The site will contain plenty of handy hints on cycling, including basics like what to wear, and indeed, where to go on your bike.

Sustrans research shows that although nearly half of all women have access to a bike, only a quarter of them cycle.

The reasons vary from concerns about safety to the problems of what to wear and the weather.

Sustrans, who have been developing the National Cycle Network for the past three decades, believe a combination of dedicated cycle lanes and good information on how and where to cycle are two key elements that would increase the number of women cyclists to European levels.

In the Netherlands 32 per cent of women’s trips are made by bike.

The new website, www.bikebelles.org.uk, goes live on March 8.

If you want to get your bike back on the road, a Sustrans “Free Your Bike” pack could help. The packs offer free bespoke information for anyone keen on taking their bike out in their local area. Visit www.freeyourbike.org.uk or call 0845 113 0065.

picture courtesy of J Bewley/Sustrans