NY Times has a pretty interesting article, Women, Uneasy, Still Lag as Cyclists in New York City. It states that:
Despite the city’s efforts to become more bike friendly, male cyclists in New York continue to outnumber female cyclists three to one, just as they have steadily over the past two decades. Data tracked by the city and private groups shows the gap between male and female cyclists is even wider in areas where vehicular traffic is more concentrated. These figures lag not only far behind those in most major global capitals like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where women make up the majority of cyclists, but also behind American cities like Portland, Ore., that have narrowed the gender gap.
They go on to attribute that fact to two main reason.
1. NY City Cycling is dangerous and women are more concerned about that danger then men.
2. With NY being a fashion obsessed city women fear showing up at a high-profile corporate job or meeting friends for cocktails sweaty or weighed down with cycling gear.
I of course instantly started comparing that to Seattle. Biking in a city is always somewhat inherently dangerous but I think seattle does a relatively good job of trying to make it as safe as possible. Granted there are definitely some trouble spots, I swear I still see my life flash before my eyes every time I get off the Ballard bridge. I also think that Seattle’s uber casual attitude makes it more accepting to show up for work or happy hour in bike clothes. Plus with “the active lifestyle” being so ingrained in this area’s culture a lot of corporate companies provide showers/locker rooms for commuters.
I tried to find the number of Seattle women on bikes compared to men but couldn’t. If anyone has this info please share! There is no doubt that men cyclists still out number women here but at the same time in my few years of cycling there has been more ladies around then when I started, which is awesome. Hopefully that gap just keeps getting smaller.
The article talks about how our NW sister city portland has been able to make great strides with getting ladies on bikes.
But city officials in Portland have been able to greatly increase the number of female cyclists. In 1992, male cyclists outnumbered female cyclists four to one; by 2006, the ratio shrank to two to one. City officials credit a program that offers clinics for women on bicycle maintenance that has drawn roughly 800 people since it began seven years ago and organizes female group rides in the summer. But Roger Geller, Portland’s bicycle coordinator, said that the rise in female cyclists could largely be attributed to creating safer lanes for all riders.
So hopefully Seattle can copy a bit of what portland does and make that bike gender gap even smaller. At least Menstrual Monday will still bring on the female group rides every first monday of the month.