Women and cycling – gender disparity?

At the last Dynamo meeting one of the things we talked about was an article in the CTC magazine by cycle campaigner Rachel Aldred about the number of women cycling.  Fewer women than men cycle – three out of four cyclists in London are male, and across England there are twice as many men cycling to work as women.  This set us to wondering if the same was true in our district.  There appear to be lots of women cycling – but can we check?  The only way to do it is to count!


About lancasterdynamo

Dynamo is a cycling group, established in 1994, to work with official bodies, other cycling organisations and interested individuals to promote cycling as a safe, enjoyable and healthy means of transport.
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5 Responses to Women and cycling – gender disparity?

  1. Richard says:

    Here in Moyobamba, Peru, normally we have more women participants in our bicycle rides than men. Sometimes (admittedly with very small numbers) women have outnumbered men 4 to 1). It is also very common for women to ride motorbikes, as the motorbike here is the equivalent of the car in the UK.

  2. Patricia says:

    Well, I did some counting yesterday (Friday 4 September) for an hour between 5 and 6 p.m. I sat by the canal in Lancaster and counted cyclists on the towpath and on Aldcliffe Road. On the road: 15 men and 5 women. On the towpath: 10 men and 3 women. Not very scientific, I know, but that’s pretty much the same gender division as in London.

  3. Dick says:

    Opposite the hospital on South Road, Lancaster, on Friday 5 September from 16.30 to 17.30, warm and windless weather.

    Southbound – 25 males, 7 females, ratio 3.6-1
    Northbound – 20 males, (1 male child), 5 females, ratio 4-1

    A popular strategy when stuck in northbound traffic was to bunny hop onto the pavement or overtake on the outside of traffic. Mandatory lanes would stop these rather risky manoeuvres.

    One example of reckless pavement cycling southbound – a youth almost ran over my toes and then alarmed a woman and girl walking home from school.

    Generally, I was surprised by how unfazed most cyclists were by the proximity to so much traffic, albeit slow moving. There seemed to be a mix of hardened commuters and younger novice(?) riders on new bikes travelling in less-than-straight lines.

    This snapshot replicates Rachel Aldred’s findings. In terms of demography, there were no elderly cyclists (apart from the counter) and only one child.

    I’ll stake out the Millennium Bridge on Monday for comparison.

  4. Dick says:

    MILLENNIUM BRIDGE – Monday 7 September between 4.25 and 5.25 p.m.

    Weather warm and windless. Sitting at the northern end of the Millennium Bridge in front of the Sustrans waymarker, which was overgrown by foliage and probably only visible to those actually looking for it.

    Southbound: 105 male and 21 female, which gives a ratio of 5:1.
    Northbound: 90 male and 30 female; ratio 3:1.
    Eastbound: 31 male and 5 female; ratio 6:1.

    The 282 total included 5 young children – all accompanied- but no schoolchildren, and only one obvious pensioner.

    The average ratio of 4.66:1 does not replicate Rachel Aldred’s findings, which suggest that on safer routes the ratios should be smaller than main roads, whereas in fact the A6 ratio was 4.2:1.

    In terms of safety, there was plenty of fast male cycling, and quite a few pedestrians glanced often over shoulders. On a busy bridge I noted only one use of the bell. It wasn’t all one way discourtesy, however. Four young women walked four abreast blocking the bridge and impervious to a few vociferous pleas to move. And one youth tried to high-five a passing cyclist – much to her alarm.

    MILLENNIUM BRIDGE – Tuesday 8 September between 3.00 and 4.00 p.m. Weather warm and windless again.

    Southbound: male 70, female 27, ratio 2.5:1.
    Northbound: male 50, female 20, ratio 2.5:1.

    I wanted to contrast this slot with the other two snapshots of the evening commuter slots.

    Encouragingly there were 26 children, mostly boys, but one girl from Our Lady’s. There were 3 primary school age cyclists with rucksacks, accompanied by cycling females (aka “mothers”).

    There were 8 elderly cyclists, all leisure bar one.

    Clearly the gender gaps were smaller in the mid afternoon than the commuter slot. Quite a few females looked as though they had been or were about to go shopping.

    Once again, no bell work but at this less busy time pedestrians and cyclists seemed to rub along quite well, although it was a nice warm day and bridge users seemed quite calm and relaxed.

  5. Jim Davies says:

    Thursday 24 September 1700. – 1730 on A6 Scotforth Road jc with Lily Grove. Weather cool and dry.
    34 males 5 females (ratio 7:1).
    All adult commuters apart from one inconsiderate youth cycling on the pavement who rode up behind a group of schoolchildren and then straight through them, without warning.

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