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9,000 women petition minister to improve road safety for cyclists

Sustrans co-ordinates petition calling for segregated cycle lanes among other improvements

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan was yesterday presented with a petition signed by 9,000 women urging him to make Britain’s roads safer to cycle on, including through the provision of segregated bike lanes.

The petition was delivered to Mr Khan personally at the House of Commons by female cyclists Rachael Wood from London and Terry Cassels from Essex, acting on behalf of all those who had signed it. Copies of the petition were also given to the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff and to Stewart Stevenson, the Scottish Transport Minister, in Edinburgh (pictured).

The petition, which was launched last September, resulted from research from the sustainable transport charity Sustrans which showed that almost eight in ten women in Britain never cycle, with the most common barrier cited being the perception that cycling wasn’t felt to be safe. The majority of respondents cited segregated cycle lanes as the answer to getting more women to take to their bikes.

Sustrans co-ordinated the petition, which stated: “We, the undersigned, want to be able to choose to cycle much more. To do this we need to feel safe when we cycle. We demand that governments prioritise the creation of environments that encourage and support cycling, specifically this must include cycle paths separated from traffic, as a way of enabling many more women to travel by bike.”

Besides Sustrans, the petition was also supported by other organisations such as the charity Mind, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, the Townswomen’s Guilds and Women in Rural Enterprise.

After handing the petition to Mr Khan, Ms Wood said: “Whenever I talk to other people about cycling, particularly women, I get the same story - they just don’t feel safe enough on the roads. That really has to change if we are to encourage more people to travel by bike.”

Melissa Henry from Sustrans added: “Women have told us that they don’t cycle because they don’t feel safe enough. It’s great to have all these signatures backing our call for safer cycling, but this is just the start. Governments now have to take all these voices seriously and make changes across the country that will mean more people can choose to make everyday journeys by bike, without feeling unsafe.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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