5 Barriers to Women Biking More

Women Biking from Jak and Jil

I was recently asked to write a post about what I think to be the top barriers to women biking more for Walk Score. As I sat down to write, I thought, “Everyone always talks about the barriers, but where are the solutions?” A few excerpts below, click over to Walk Score for the full article.

Barrier #1: Avoiding Risk

Safety often comes up as a top barrier to women biking to work. I believe that fear prevents a lot of people from biking, including men and older demographics, as well as women. These concerns include a lack of safe cycle infrastructure such as separated bike lanes and cycletracks; traffic and vehicular fears; personal safety fears; and topography (especially in cities like Seattle).

“Women are considered an ‘indicator species’ for bike-friendly cities for several reasons. First, studies across disciplines…have shown that women are more averse to risk than men. In the cycling arena, that risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bike infrastructure as a prerequisite for riding.” Scientific American

Solutions

  • Learn your rights and responsibilities as a biker.
  • Take the lane when you feel comfortable.
  • Ride with a friend or experienced biker.
  • Study your city’s bike maps to be familiar with the existing infrastructure and easiest routes.

Barrier #2: Time

Time is a precious thing for many commuters, including women. With several reports showing that employed women devote more time to household duties and caregiving than their employed male counterparts, time could be an even bigger barrier for women. In turn, when biking is the fastest and easiest way to work, you’ll find more women on wheels.

Solutions

  • Bus or drive halfway to work with your bike to save time.
  • Work with your partner to relieve you of your regular duties once or twice a week.

Read the full article to read about my final three barriers and how to break through.

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