Bristol Cycling Campaign were delighted to be at the launch of the Bristol Women’s Cycling Charter.
LifeCycle Chief Executive, Poppy Brett has brought together women from various groups all over the city and today was the culmination of all that work.
There have been comments on social media, asking ‘why should women be considered a special case’. So in short:
- Women generally have different travel patterns – caring responsibilities still tend to fall to women, so perhaps they might be taking kids to and from school, trying to fit in an appointment at lunchtime (not necessarily for themselves) or picking up the weekly shop on the way home from work. And that’s when things are going to plan. For example, many women are expected to drop everything at work to go and collect an unwell child.
Women, both with and without cring responsibilities, often have more complex journey patterns where they are ‘trip-chaining’ (making multi-stop journeys). Sustrans have produced very readable reports on this, for example.
- Perceptions of road safety and personal safety have been shown to differ. Girls learn to change their behaviour to avoid risking harrassment. Women on bikes are not exempted from cat-calling or worse – sadly, some of this comes from a nasty minority of male cyclists. That cycle path through a quiet park is unappealing after the clocks go back; the bike racks hidden in a dark corner behind the office are just as bad.
Many people cycling might feel uneasy mixing with aggressive, speeding drivers, a number of studies suggest women are disproportionally represented in urban collisions.
The percentage of women using bikes is much smaller so there is huge potential to increase the number of people travelling actively.
And when that happens, in addition to their improved physical and mental health, we will all benefit from cleaner air and less road congestion.