'Put our safety first' say Britain's women

British women would get on their bikes if the government makes roads safer

by Kevin Emery   August 28, 2009  

Cara on a Giant

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.
 

 

3 user comments

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I'm vaguely suspicious of an approach that takes people's stated reasons for not doing something entirely at face value, and seeks to turn what they say they want before they'll start doing it into policy.

Women who do not cycle think cycling is appallingly dangerous. They aren't, by and large, right about that.

From this erroneous belief, they conclude, apparently, that there will have to be total segregation from traffic before they will cycle anywhere. That isn't going to happen anytime soon, even if Sustrans turns blue in the face shouting for it.

So, do we accept that the thing that women who don't cycle say they want isn't going to happen and leave them not cycling and blaming someone else for the fact that they can't, or come up with a polite way of saying "you are completely wrong in most of your views on the perils of riding a bike, and should get off your backside and give it a go since you claim to want to"? B)

posted by BigDummy [291 posts]
28th August 2009 - 16:48

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Yes it can be done, as this lady proves in TR's blog
http://road.cc/content/blog/6888-cycle-friday-hey-hey

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4144 posts]
28th August 2009 - 17:07

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I'm with BigDummy - using this kind of feedback to inform cycle infrastructure would be madness when it's simply a case of breaking down perceptions/misconceptions about cycling. It's this kind of feedback from a non-cycling public that has led to our poor quality/sub-standard/dangerous cycling.
The same women will cite 'personal security' when they never use these segregated facilities.

Oh hang on, the report is by Sustrans... the same organisation that would benefit from government money for this kind of infrastructure should this little 'movement' be successful.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [309 posts]
1st September 2009 - 10:05

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