Monday, March 04, 2013

Philadelphia Bicycling Has A Gender Gap (Part 1)

Does this look like a Philadelphia bicyclist?
Diane, 2012, in Clark Park in West Philly
It should. She is. But two out of three Philadelphia bicyclists are male.
Philadelphia has a gender gap in bicycling, one that reflects the nation at large. According to the League of American Bicyclists, women took just 24% of bicycle trips in the U.S. in 2009. Last year, bicycle counts conducted by both the Bicycle Coalition and Center City District showed that women only make up one third of bicyclists in Philadelphia.

Some point to sexist representations of women coming from the bicycle industry, while others argue that women are more risk-averse, so safer bicycle infrastructure is the solution. Some focus on the lack of adequate women-specific bicycles and gear, or the challenges of male-dominated bike shops, street harassment, fashion concerns, parenting logistics, and more. None of these explanations are wrong. None of them alone are correct. At the Bicycle Coalition, we know that bicycling is an empowering, healthy, cost-effective, and fun mode of transportation. We want bicycling to be equally accessible to everyone, regardless of gender.

What’s being done?
Across the country, individuals and organizations are working to break down the barriers between women and bicycles. At the local level, initiatives aimed at expanding female ridership are popping up everywhere from Queens, NY, to Long Beach, CA. At the national level, the League of American Bicyclists is sponsoring the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum today in Washington D.C. (see our post earlier this week about it). 

Stay tuned tomorrow for our report from the National Women's Bicycling Forum as we continue the conversation about women and bicycling.


Anonymous said...

yeah, i wonder.

snowboarding, motorcycling, skateboarding, and surfing seem to be mostly male too

i wonder if it's about infrastructure, or cultural norms.

if some part of it might have to do with a sense of reasonable vulnerability and fear, then maybe chastising and criminalizing something like sidewalk riding isn't healthy:

speaking of: I believe sidewalks should be available to bikers when it is safe to do so...we trust cars going 80mph on deleware avenue to race by us on a justifiable bike line...then why can't we trust bikers to safely navigate the city on sidewalks when they present a safer and easier route without infringing on other people's safety