Thursday, March 28, 2013

Registration Open for Philly Pedestrian & Bicycle Summit

Interested in the future of walking and bicycling in Philadelphia? The Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) has opened registration for their day-long summit coming up April 30th.

Transportation is becoming a big deal in Philadelphia. We are not a city of cars - we are a city of people trying to get places. MOTU is holding a summit to discuss and demystify Philly's plans, strategies, and purposes for how it manages foot and bicycle traffic.

Topics will include:

  • Where and when Philadelphia will get new bike lanes;
  • The City's sidewalk cafe regulations;
  • How and why the City optimizes traffic signals and manages construction to benefit pedestrian traffic;
  • The future of The Circuit and other regional bike/ped trails. 

High-level people from MOTU and regional planning and development agencies will be in attendance, speaking about their work and taking questions from the public.

The summit is free to attend but you need to register in advance.

Click here to register

Click here for the summit agenda

If you have any questions, or to find out more information, contact Ariel Ben-Amos at the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities ( or 215.686.9001) or Cassidy Boulan at DVRPC ( or 215.238.2832).

Get Your Volunteer On This Wednesday 4/3

While he prefers cold waters, Oliver
is still excited about spring
Our monthly volunteer night is coming up this Wednesday, April 3rd!

The spring and summer are, unsurprisingly, our busiest times of the year. May itself is National Bike Month, and there will be many rides, events, and other bicycle-related goings-on.

If you've been meaning to help your community become more bike-friendly, or just like being around other people who love bicycles, this is right in your wheelhouse.

Wednesday, April 3rd
6:00 - 7:30 pm
1500 Walnut Street, 2nd Floor conference room
RSVP to attend here

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Section of Schuylkill River Trail in Roxborough Opening March 28th

Note: a version of this post first appeared on Crossing Paths, the official blog of The Circuit trail system.

Spring is here, let The Circuit trail events begin!

At long last, the first new section of Schuylkill River Trail to be built in several years (and the newest piece of The Circuit) will be dedicated on Thursday, March 28 at 10:30am. This new segment runs from Port Royal Avenue in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia to the intersection of Shawmont and Nixon Streets.
Runners on the trail looking towards the Nixon & Shawmont intersection
The ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to feature many notable dignitaries: Mayor Michael Nutter, Congressman Chaka Fattah, Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., and Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis.

If you like ribbon cuttings, dignitary-spotting, or just getting outside and being excited in public about new bicycle and pedestrian trails, please attend! The more the merrier.

This project involved using a PECO right-of-way behind Nixon Street, creating a gently sloping trail down to the intersection of Nixon and Shawmont. The project also widened the paved section between the Montco line and Port Royal Avenue and significantly improved the paved connection to the Manayunk Canal Towpath.

This project was originally identified by the Complete The Schuylkill River Trail Campaign as a key gap in the trail. It was funded in 2010 by the $23 million TIGER grant that Philadelphia and the City of Camden won to build ten trail segments in both cities.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chester Valley Trail Update - A Tale Of Two Counties

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That pretty much sums up the state of development for the Chester Valley Trail. The trail in Chester County continues to chug along, growing inch by inch as the months pass, while Montgomery County's plan to connect the trail to the Schuylkill River Trail has suffered a major setback.
Chester Valley Trail Phase 2 east of Cedar Hollow Rd:
Photo Friends of the Chester Valley Trail on Facebook
But let's start with the abundance of good news. The pace of the development of the Chester Valley Trail in Chester County is breathtaking, reminiscent of Montgomery County's 3 year marathon to build the Perkiomen Creek Trail ten years ago. Phase 1 was opened in September 2010; Phase 2 is 65% complete with most of the trail overlaid with a stone base with some sections already paved. The heavy lifting of this project will be the completion of bridges over North Valley Road and Valley Forge Road and a culvert (tunnel) under Warner Rd. Look for a late summer (September) or early fall opening.

Meanwhile Phase 3 has recently received approvals that will help close a gap in the trail near the Exton Square Mall. The Chester Valley Trail website gives Phase 3 a general completion date in 2013. West Whiteland Township is also laying the groundwork to conduct a study for extending the trail one mile west out to Whitford Rd.

In Montgomery County, a two mile stretch along the recently acquired East Penn Railroad Right of Way is scheduled to go out to bid for construction later this year.This would leave a two mile gap between Saulin Blvd and South Gulph Road in Upper Merion Township.

Which brings us to the PA Turnpike Authority. This quasi-public organization recently rejected Montgomery County's request to obtain a 1/2 mile easement parallel to the Turnpike. The County currently has zero local matching dollars budgeted (this could change in the next three months) to explore and engineer alternatives.

To our knowledge, the Turnpike has not given a public explanation as to why they would stand in the way of a regionally significant trail project. Is there another widening project planned? Does it have anything to do with SEPTA's proposed alignment of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia? The reality is that in this heavily developed and trafficked area with few bike or walking options, right of ways for this trail are few and far between. Our fear is that having the County go back to the drawing board may set back the project for years and result in a loss of the federal dollars already obligated to the project.

The best course of action is for the Turnpike Authority to go back to the negotiating table with Montgomery County and find a way to help complete its segments of the Chester Valley Trail. The Bicycle Coalition mailed a letter to that effect to the Turnpike Authority last week and copied the Montgomery County and Chester County commissioners.

View Larger Map
The right of way in question at the intersection of  S. Henderson Rd in Upper Merion

Monday, March 18, 2013

PA State Transportation Funding is at Stake

You've seen the closed bridges, faded bike lanes and crosswalks, the potholes, the overcrowded roads during rush hour. It's no secret that Pennsylvania's transportation system is in dire shape. Governor Corbett has proposed raising new revenue to make much-needed investments to repair our roads, bridges and transit systems. But some legislators in Harrisburg do not see the wisdom of investing in infrastructure and they need to hear from you!
Harrisburg needs to fund transportation!


In 2010, the state's transportation funding gap was calculated at $3.5 billion. And because putting off repairs only makes them more expensive, the cost of fixing our transportation system is growing by $1 million for each day we do not pass a transportation funding bill.

When transportation is under-funded, not only do bicyclists and pedestrians suffer from the poor quality of our roads and bridges but fewer dedicated facilities are built or striped.

Governor Corbett proposes to raise $1.8 billion over five years by uncapping the Oil Company Franchise Tax. The Governor's proposal also includes a multi-modal fund that will be a dedicated funding source for non-highway modes, including biking and walking.

As part of the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, we asked Governor Corbett to make proposals to better fund transportation needs. Now that he has, your elected officials need to hear from you that you support a comprehensive transportation bill. Please take action today by writing a quick email to your state reps and then placing a call to their offices.

Better streets mean safer, better transportation
for all. Photo credit: Complete Streets
A comprehensive new transportation bill offers an opportunity for Pennsylvania to support communities that want to make bicycling and walking safer. PA Walks and Bikes and others who support biking and walking are asking for three commitments from the state:

1. Create a Bicycle Pedestrian Office within PennDOT.

2. Ensure that the new Multi-Modal fund allocates sufficient funds to bicycle and walking projects.

3. Eliminate the Bicycle Occupancy Permit (which prevents smaller communities from building bicycle infrastructure).

You can read more about our suggestions for improving biking and walking in Pennsylvania in this handout.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Renderings Released of Bartram's Mile Trail In Southwest Philadelphia

Note: a version of this post first appeared on Crossing Paths, the official blog of The Circuit trail system.
PennPraxis has released conceptual renderings of one of Philadelphia's most eagerly-awaited sections of the Schuylkill River Trail and East Coast Greenway. These two sections of trail, known as Bartram's Mile North and Bartram's Mile South, extend the already-built section within Bartram's Garden. The new trails will connect Bartram's Gardens to the Gray's Ferry Crescent and give Southwest Philadelphia much better access to its riverfront.
Bartram's Mile North, South, and the already-built section of trail in Bartram's Gardens
These renderings are preliminary and based upon a first round of design and public input. So the ultimate designs could change dramatically from what is depicted here. Further detailed work was briefly held up by the William Penn Foundation's temporary suspension of grants to the City of Philadelphia, but PennPraxis now expects to begin the next stage of design in May.

See below for some of the images released this week. You can learn more about the project at PlanPhilly's page devoted to the work.

Crowdsourced Bike Parking Map Identifies Rail Stations Most In Need Of Bike Parking

This thing. Remember this thing?
Back in September we asked for your help to improve bike parking at area rail stations and transit hubs by adding information to a crowdsourced map. The project was a collaboration of DVRPC, SEPTA, NJ TRANSIT, DRPA (PATCO) and the Open Plans Shareabouts application.

The public input portion ended in December, and DVRPC has now compiled the 462 responses the map generated. PlanPhilly also covered the release of the survey results.

At the bottom of this post, you can see the three maps DVRPC generated based on the user responses.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our First Women-Only Bike Ride Rolls This Tuesday!

Fairmount Bicycles, 2015 Fairmount Ave, Phila 19130
Interested in a women-only bike ride? 

Have a friend who is nervous about biking through the city? 

Our bike ride this Tuesday is a perfect opportunity to introduce a hesitant friend to bicycling with a relaxed, friendly bike ride!


We are kicking off our Women Bike PHL campaign with a women-only bike ride in conjunction with Fairmount Bicycles.

A limited number of bicycles will be available for rent for free.

Date: Tuesday, March 19th
Meet up: 5:20 pm, Fairmount Bicycles, 2015 Fairmount Ave, Philly
Time: Ride starts at 5:45pm and ends approximately 7:30pm.

This ride could potentially be a cold one, so come prepared and dressed in warm clothes. Bring your bike lights and helmets! We will be stopping at all lights and stop signs.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Big Takeaway from Last Week's National Bike Summit

Last week's National Bicycle Summit, an annual confab organized by the League of American Bicyclists, was an invigorating and innovative three days in Washington D.C. As reported in earlier posts, the Summit featured the terrific National Women's Bicycle Forum on Monday. We heard keynote addresses from Georgena Terry, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. (Click those links for videos of their addresses.) Tuesday's speakers included beloved and departing DOT Commissioner Ray LaHood, Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institute, and Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard.

Tuesday also featured one of the most interesting parts of the summit, the presentation from Doug Meyer, of Bernuth & Williamson Consulting. Mr. Meyer was hired by the League to interview 30 Republican and Democratic hill staffers to get a sense of which messages delivered by the biking and walking community best resonate. You can read a summary of Mr. Meyer's findings here and his presentation here. Some of the key findings of his presentation:
  • Bicycle advocates as “sore winners”  (MAP-21 should be considered a win, not a loss, given that all funding was slated to be eliminated and we were able to save it.) 
  • Dedicated funding is not the be all, end all (The trend is for funding to be directed to MPOs and localities.)
  • The future is a multi-modal transportation system; embrace it and use it (Frame biking as a key cog in a larger multi-modal transportation system.)
  • Asking for a “fair share for safety” doesn't resonate (Asking for safer streets through performance measures — or a national goal — is far more compelling than asking for money.)
As reported by Bike Portland, the bicycle movement is evolving and the advocacy community needs to evolve with it.

A big takeaway from Meyer's research (and the Summit overall) is that bicycling should no longer be considered a fringe activity. From the huge positive impact of bike-sharing and the proliferation of protected bikeways in U.S. cities; to US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood's efforts to legitimize non-motorized transportation — the national profile of cycling has never been higher. That means advocates must shift their frame-of-reference.  "Bicycling advocates now have a seat at the table," said Meyer during an interview on Wednesday, "So instead of convincing people that they need that seat, now they need to sit down and start working together on solutions."

On Wednesday, despite a federal government shut-down (by a storm that ultimately skipped DC), we joined other PA residents in trooping through the rain to visit with members of Congress and their staff (those whos offices remained open through what turned out to be little snow and much rain). A big thank you to everyone who took the time to come down to DC to deliver the message that Bicycling Means Business, especially in Pennsylvania!

Pat Cunnane (Advanced Sports) & Joe Staffor (Bicycle Access Council)
 greeted Rep. Scott Perry (PA -09) on his way to a vote

 Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06) took time out of
a Ways and Means Committee hearing to meet with
Shayne Trimbell and Joe Lison 

Bucks County residents Gunnar Bergy,
Jennifer Polo, Scott Wueschinski,
Andy Hamilton and Steve Hawkins were warmly greeted by Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA-08)

Jacquie Phelan Workshop Photo Roundup

A week later and we're still basking in the warm, ebullient glow of the women's mountain biking workshop with Jacquie Phelan. We joined more than 30 women and the legendary mountain bicyclist in the Wissahickon for three hours of inspiration, mountain biking, and tea and biscuits.

Big thanks are due, of course, to Jacquie herself. Additional thanks go to Breezer Bikes, Potito's Bakery, Blake Larson for his excellent photography, and the women who joined us for the event!

Bunny hop over to our Facebook page to see the full photo gallery from the workshop.

This event was part of a new campaign we're kicking off this spring: Women Bike PHL. The campaign seeks to make riding a bicycle more fun and feasible for Philadelphia women of all ages and backgrounds. Stay tuned for more events and updates!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Greater Philadelphia Pedestrian & Bicycle Summit Coming April 30th

The Mayor's Office of Transportation & Utilities is hosting Philly's first-ever Bicycle & Pedestrian Summit. Stay tuned for more info.

Get Ready for Spring Bicycling with Our Refresher Course This Thursday

Diana and Steve answer a class's questions about urban
This beautiful weekend was perfect for biking around Philadelphia. Are you new to city bicycling, or feel that this is the year you're going to dust that bike off and bike around?

Then take our free Urban Riding Basics class this Thursday!

Our 60-minute class is for new or inexperienced bicyclists looking to gain confidence navigating streets with cars. Let our Bicycle Ambassadors walk you through everything you need to know to have fun and be safe when riding your bike in the city.

This Thursday, March 14th
6:00 - 7:00 pm
1500 Walnut Street, Suite 1107, Philly
Register here
Class limited to 15 spots; bicycles not required.

Friday, March 08, 2013

New Round of Grants Opens for Regional Trails

The third round of trail funding has been announced by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). This round will be available for design and construction of trails within The Circuit. Applications are due on April 5th. More information is on the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Up to $4 million is available and no project may receive more than $500,000.

The Regional Trail Program was created by a grant from the William Penn Foundation. The first two rounds provided grants for planning, design and construction of 29 projects throughout the nine county region covered by DVRPC.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on Crossing Paths, the official blog of The Circuit.

Bicycle Coalition Volunteer Night This Wednesday

He's got 200 business cards printed in his own ink!
Okay, that's a little gross...
Volunteer night returns March 13th! It was shifted back by one week on account of the National Bike Summit down in D.C.

Oliver remains down in D.C. for the yearly Mollusk Bike Advocates International networking event. But we're back in Philly, ready to talk bicycling advocacy and the many events and activities coming up this spring!

Bicycle Coalition Volunteer Night
Wednesday, March 13th
6:00 - 7:30 pm
1500 Walnut Street, 2nd floor conference room
RSVP here

Three Proposals for the Ben Franklin Bridge Ramp

On Wednesday the Delaware River Port Authority's Engineering Department presented its preliminary design options to the DRPA Operations and Management Committee.

According to, plans were presented for three design options ranging from a straightaway ramp, a single switchback, or three switchbacks. The estimated costs ranged from $3 million for the single switchback to $3.7 million for the straight ramp.

Image taken from The Inquirer. Credit: Robert West.

The design drawings will probably be presented to the DRPA Board at the March meeting; the options will be presented to the public at some point before the final design is determined.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Get Involved In Women Bike PHL (Part 4)

This week we've introduced our forthcoming Women Bike PHL Campaign - the aim of which is to address the gender gap in bicycling and make riding a bicycle more fun and feasible for Philadelphia women of all ages and backgrounds.

On Monday we introduced the problem.
On Tuesday we highlighted what's happening at the national level.
On Wednesday we introduced the classes, rides, and events we are organizing over the next three months.

Today, we conclude with visions for the future of this campaign:
  • Expanding our adult "Learn to Ride" classes and promoting them to women.
  • Additional themed social rides: brunch rides, midnight rides, and more... 
  • Working with Bike Temple on programming to encourage more women to ride on their campus.
  • Supporting new Girls Bike Clubs at area schools.
  • Recruiting more girls to Neighborhood Bike Works programming.
  • Outreach to parents: Many Philly parents bike with their kids, but it can be intimidating at first. We want to connect interested moms and dads with the mentors, and the gear, to make it feasible.
  • And more unexpected action as we meet new partners and new engaged bicyclists!
Anne and unidentified ride leader, Schuylkill River Park, 2012
It's clear we've struck a resonant chord. The first three blog posts in our series have already been read and shared more than 1,000 times. We've received feedback that's ranged from, "We love this!" to "Who cares?" (Note: when you take the time to write 'Who cares,' you obvious care or you wouldn't bother to write.)

If you care about making our region a better place to ride a bicycle, period, you care about lowering gender barriers to bicycling. How you can get involved:
By attending an event, making a donation, or taking a friend on an encouraging ride, you can be a part of Women Bike PHL! Katie Monroe is our lead staff person on this campaign, and she wants to hear from you! Contact her at

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Getting More Philly Women On Bikes (Part 3)

As we've been talking about this week, Philadelphia bicycling has a gender gap. Our bike counts find that only one out of every three bicycle commuters in Philly is a woman. We've discussed possible reasons for this, and briefly covered the conversation happening on a national level.

Now, what are we going to do about in Philly?
Susan, a Philly bicyclist in Headhouse Square, 2012
This spring, the Bicycle Coalition is launching a “Women Bike PHL” campaign, aimed at making riding a bicycle more fun and feasible for Philadelphia women of all ages and backgrounds.

This campaign will be centered around action:
  • Last weekend we held our first ever women's mountain bike clinic in the Wissahickon with the legendary Jacquie Phelan, sponsored by Breezer Bikes. (The event sold out like whoa). 
  • We'll be offering women-only Urban Riding Basics classes: at our office, at neighborhood bike shops, in offices, in English and in Spanish. Our first class is happening May and you can register for it already
  • Bicycling activist and feminist Elly Blue will visit Philadelphia during Bike Month -- May 19, venue TBD! 
  • Bike Rides! More casual, introductory bike rides, starting with a "Take Your Time" women's bike ride March 19th in partnership with Fairmount Bicycles. Stay tuned for a "Cyclofemme" Mother's Day Ride during Bike Month! 
  • We are collaborating with Girl Scouts in the region to increase their bicycle-oriented programming. 
  • Regular blog posts celebrating the wide variety of women bicyclists who are already out on the streets of Philadelphia, blazing the trail for others. Have a suggestion of a woman we should feature? Let us know! (

Victoria, Center City Philly, 2012
We are excited to begin this work, and we are eager for collaboration! Bicycling is, after all, more fun with friends! We are looking for leaders and collaborators to make this campaign a success. Do you have a venue for an Urban Riding Basics class? Are you part of a women's group that wants to partner with us? Do you work for a business that is interested in sponsoring this type of initiative? Do you want to volunteer to help plan rides? We welcome all input and support -- email

You can help close the gender gap by becoming a member of the Bicycle Coalition. Join the conversation and talk to us on Twitter, and keep an eye out for #womenbikePHL tweets.

Questions? Ideas? Contact Katie at to get involved.

Get Your Bike On This Week With Upcoming Classes and Family-Friendly Bike Rides

It feels like winter outside, but everyone know bicycles are notoriously calendar-focused. They see it says "March" on that Phillies wall calendar hanging in your garage and they start spinning their pedals and whining. So shut your bike up by taking advantage of these free bike activities happening in the next week!

1) Kidical Mass! Family Bike Ride
This Saturday, March 9th
10:30 AM, Fitler Square, Philly

This is a friendly, casual ride for parents to ride bicycles with their children! It's like a Critical Mass, but with more adorable and less confrontation.

You can see the 4-mile center city ride route here. You can learn more information about the group of parents organizing these rides on their website or in their Facebook group.

2) Bicycle Coalition Volunteer Night
Wednesday, March 13th
6:00 - 7:30 PM
1500 Walnut Street, 2nd floor conference room, Philly

This is our monthly volunteer night! This is going to be a HUGE year for the Bicycle Coalition, and we want you to get involved! Volunteer nights are relaxed, fun evenings in our office where we handle volunteer-y tasks, talk bicycling, eat pizza, and preview upcoming events and activities for which we'll need volunteers. RSVP by filling out this form and contact Steve at with questions.

3) Urban Riding Basics Class
Thursday, March 14th
6:00 - 7:00 pm
1500 Walnut Street
, Suite 1107
Register here

A class for new or inexperienced bicyclists looking to gain confidence navigating streets with cars. Let our Bicycle Ambassadors walk you through everything you need to know to have fun and be safe when riding your bike in the city. Class limited to 12 spots; bicycles not required. Topics covered include:
  • Buying the right bike
  • Locking it up
  • Helmets and clothing
  • Rules of the road
  • Biking in the rain

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Picking Up Speed: Women Talk Bicycling In DC (Part 2)

Note: This is the second entry in our ongoing conversation about women and bicycling in Philadelphia. Katie Monroe, who is leading the Bicycle Coalition's work to address the bicycling gender gap, is in Washington DC this week for the National Bike Summit. Here she reports on Monday's National Women's Bicycling Forum.

The second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum in Washington, DC, presented by the League of American Bicyclists, had a catchy name: Women Mean Business. Chosen in part to emphasize the economic power of women on bicycles, the more idiomatic meaning rang true for me. Women from around the country are taking bicycling and bicycle advocacy seriously, and I couldn't be more excited about it.
Diana Owens Steif and Katie Monroe riding Capital Bikeshare bicycles in the Black Women Bike DC ride
One of my personal heroes, the feminist bicycling thinker, writer, and activist Elly Blue, distilled it best in a speech on Sunday night. She put the conversation about women and bicycling in the context of the national conversation about women’s rights. After all, what better symbol do we have for controlling our own health and mobility than riding a bicycle? Elly also acknowledged the changing face of the National Bicycle Summit -- after years of being a “sausagefest,” now it’s more like “a tsunami of inclusivity” (her words!).

The women at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum came from rural and urban backgrounds, from established advocacy groups and grassroots movements, from academia, advocacy, and the art world. A few of the many who stirred my mind and heart:
  • Black Women Bike DC grew from a just a few Twitter followers to a bike club over 700 strong in less than two years, because of the vision and leadership of Veronica Davis. BWBDC led a bike ride through the city on Sunday -- I had so much fun pedaling past the Washington Monument on my shiny red Capital Bikeshare bike! 
  • Liz Jose is the founder of WE Bike NYC, a women’s bicycle club that operates in all five boroughs, offering social rides, mechanics workshops, training rides, and more to grow NYC’s community of women bicyclists. 
  • Under the leadership of Nelle Pierson, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association just launched a peer-to-peer mentorship program designed to transfer the enthusiasm and practical knowledge necessary to ride a bicycle from woman to woman. 
  • Finishing up an anthropology PhD dissertation about social justice in bicycling, Adonia Lugo is building new and useful academic knowledge for the bicycle movement to use -- rooted in her own real-world advocacy experience in Los Angeles and Seattle. 
  • Harrisonburg, VA is lucky to have Suzi Carter working to build a biking and walking path called the Northend Greenway through her town. Harrisonburg has made dramatic improvements in bicycling infrastructure in recent years, a reminder that bicycling isn't just about big cities. 
  • One of the rock stars of the event, New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has crafted innovative streetscapes that are safer for everyone under Mayor Bloomberg -- including 200 miles of new bike lanes in three years! 
Every moment of yesterday’s National Women’s Bicycle Forum -- from the keynote speakers to the conversations in the hallways -- buzzed with the excitement of a movement diversifying. Stay tuned tomorrow to learn how the Bicycle Coalition plans to help more Philadelphia women start bicycling!

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.