Here I will take the alternative view, that the whole city cycling thing is not just a women’s issue; and by doing so I perhaps risk going against the grain a bit. When ‘discussing women & cycling’ somewhat does seem to be the flavour of the month, I have some explaining to do. Where am I coming from?
Whilst I believe that
- It is a most valuable exercise to speak to women – they may be more expressive, emotionally in-touch and more readily forthcoming in their hopes and wishes
- Additionally I do also see that socialisation and gendering in many ways makes it into an issue for women. It makes for a different set of care, caution and compassion factors when travelling with children (school run) or doing chained trips with shopping cargo. And so, not surprisingly in a society where more women than men perform care duties, travel characteristics differ by gender, NTS2013 trips and miles
- Moreover, it should not be forgotten that English women already travel more sustainably (marginally nationally, and varying from place to place) by walking and bussing more – through choice or lack of the same (and that’s an interesting power question to discuss).
When looking at the comparative totals between a low-cycling (1%) and a high-cycling (25%) context, it becomes clear that it’s women and men who currently don’t readily take to cycling. Let’s look at the percentages as the number of people cycling (rather than the number of trips). Say, with a fictitious 5,000 people currently cycling (not unlike a NewcastleGateshead town), the graphic comparing The Now and The Future looks like this:
In a conurbation like NewcastleGateshead, over and above the 61,250 women, there are also 58,750 men who are not yet convinced the conditions are right for cycling. The interested-but-concerned come from both genders when the totals are considered. Some of these may put an emphasis on the interested some on more the concerned side of the coin.
Upshot is: men, too, don’t cycle in low-cycling countries.