Getting More Women on the Bike

326087276_33bcf7c8a4.jpgMore women on bikes means healthier bike facilities for all. (Photo: boxchain via Flickr)

Are you a woman who rides a bicycle? Or are you a woman who would like to ride a bicycle? Then the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) needs you to participate in a survey about women and girls and bicycling. (If you’re not a woman, perhaps you know a few females who fit into these categories.) It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. And the data will provide useful information for planners about why women cycle — and why they don’t.

The issue of women and cycling has gotten increasing attention over the last few months, in large part because of an article in Scientific American that discussed the idea of women as an "indicator species" for healthy cycling environments. In the US, what they indicate is not great — men riding bicycles outnumber women by two to one. Women, it turns out, are statistically less likely to ride in places that lack adequate protections for people on bicycles. In European countries with good cycling infrastructure, such as the Netherlands, this gender disparity doesn’t exist. Things could be different here, too, if planners change their attitudes.

To support people around the country working to encourage women cyclists, the APBP is also hosting a webinar titled "Writing Women Back Into Bicycling" on March 31. Participation is free. It should be a great chance to get ideas and resources from some dedicated advocates and researchers about how to get more women riding the streets and roads of America. Which would be a great thing for everyone.