In 2009, Sustrans carried out a survey about women and cycling and found that only four per cent of women cycle at least once a week. Eight in ten women never cycle, although 43 per cent had access to a bike. This was against a background of only two per cent of all journeys being made by bicycle.One would like to believe that there had been an increase since 2009, but it still seems obvious that there are not as many female cyclists out there as male cyclists: from the gaggles of Lycra-clad men out on the 20-mile rides at the weekend to commuter cyclists.
Much has been said about the reasons that women do not cycle more often. Commentators cite perceptions about road safety and the need for separate cycling lanes. All these things are important – sometimes more important to women who, experience tells us, tend to be more risk averse than men.
However, we have to look at how cycling fits into women’s lives, as well. Can cyclists drop children off at school before going into work? Will there be washing facilities at work, so women can have a shower before starting work? All our lives are so busy now, it needs to be practical to cycle and those who do already have to show that we can manage it within the demanding structure of our lives.
Women and cycling: why does it matter?
It matters because of the impact cycling has on health, the environment and our communities. One more person on a bike is one car fewer on the road. It also matters because we are showing children – and particularly daughters – that physical activity is integral to our lives. Sustrans complains that once girls reach their teenage years they stop cycling because of worries about their appearance and image. This concern perhaps comes as no surprise and is not just about cycling but about sport in general.
Female cyclists are showing girls that is OK to participate in physical activity and that our bodies have more value than just in terms of appearance: bodies are also what get us from A to B safely, often in a quicker and more enjoyable way than being in a car.
As part of our commitment to cycling, Lyons Davidson is involved this year’s Bristol Cycle Festival and is sponsoring the series of talks.
If you have been injured while on your bike and you think that you might have a claim, contact our specialist cycling solicitors team for a free initial consultation and advice. Email [email protected] or telephone 0330 0539 411.