Women don’t believe that British roads are safe enough for them to cycle on. That is the message from a poll of British women conducted by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, in which concerns for their own safety emerged as the most common reason why women do not cycle at all.
Some of the vital changes that women believe are necessary include the creation of more cycle lanes that are separated from all other vehicles - 67 per cent of women in the Sustrans poll believe this would encourage more women to travel by bike.
Governments have yet to take the problem seriously, but women who are no longer prepared to feel prevented from cycling by an unsafe environment can now make their feelings known.
Because from next Tuesday until the end of November will be visiting www.bikebelles.org.uk to support ‘Motion for Women’, Sustrans’ urgent plea to governments to make cycling in Britain safer for women. The petition is already being backed by organisations including Mind, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and the Townswomen’s Guilds.
Sustrans’ Communications Director Melissa Henry said: “Women are telling us in no uncertain terms that they don’t feel the roads are safe enough for them to cycle on. Their response so far to the woefully inadequate provisions for cyclists in Britain has been simple - they don’t cycle. In fact, 79 per cent of women do not cycle at all.
“But, women are also telling us that they desperately want that situation to change. The desire to cycle, and to enjoy all the benefits that cycling brings, is becoming a priority for women. We need to make it a priority for governments too and push for real changes in the way our villages, towns and cities are planned. Now women have 90 days to register their support so we can ensure their voices are heard across Britain.”
Sustrans’ ‘Motion for Women’ petition will be open for 90 days from Tuesday and every voice will count as all signatures will be presented to Government in December. Women are asked to add their support at www.bikebelles.org.uk then circulate to all the women in their lives who deserve a safer space for cycling.
Sustrans is already leading the way for positive change as part of its year of activities to encourage more women into the saddle. Women’s experiences of shopping for bikes and accessories, gathered via the bike belles website, is currently being used to inform parts of Britain’s bike industry to help them better cater for women’s needs.