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Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Get a City Cycling: Focus on Women [momentum]


Women Biking
Bhautik Joshi
A candid shot of a San Francisco rider on a sunny summer afternoon.
In most cities around the world, women are less likely to hop on a bike than men. John Pucher, professor at the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, explorers why women are less likely to choose a bicycle for travel, and how we can close the gender gap.
Explored in a chapter of his forthcoming book, City Cycling, Pucher has found that cities with more women riders experience higher rates of overall cycling. In these same cities Pucher finds that cycling conditions are typically safer, more accessible, and comfortable for all levels of cycling skill.
Conversely, where the percentage of female riders is low, overall rates of cycling also drop and the physical conditions for bicycling tend to be unsafe, inaccessible and uncomfortable. Pucher proposes that women are an ‘indicator species’ when it comes to cycling and that by obtaining the percentage of female cyclists a city can gauge their cycling infrastructure’s success. “The best way to raise overall levels of cycling is to get more women cycling,” said Pucher.
While promoting the health and mobility benefits of riding a bicycle are often used to encourage cycling – improved fitness, reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer – actually getting women to ride is more complex.

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