Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

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Thoglette
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Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:04 pm

Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair
Helen Pidd wrote:The main reason most women don’t cycle in the UK is because they think it is dangerous. You can tell them until the cows come home that the roads are statistically safe, and that you are more likely to be killed walking than on a bicycle. But when they sit on the top deck of a bus and look down to see a cyclist squashed up against the kerb they feel no compulsion whatsoever to join them.

Probably the best line in the article.

Unfortunately, it's the sort of article that makes the Guardian easy to knock: lots of statements like "yet most of our cities are failing to design roads and streets for women to cycle" (made by a man) without a shred of supporting argument for this gendered viewpoint. E.g. how is it that the road designs are OK for men but not women ?

And the few arguments are based on individual anecdotes rather than a line of reasoning. (One run-in with a near-dooring and that route is abandoned. And all roads declared unsafe).

A missed opportunity, in my view
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby AdelaidePeter » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:14 pm

The gendered spin on it is really annoying. Most male cyclists don't like the road design either, and it's not any nicer because the designer (probably) was the same gender as me.

The problem isn't male road designers, it's non-cycling road designers (or more precisely, ignorant-of-what-cyclists-need road designers).

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby human909 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:48 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:The gendered spin on it is really annoying. Most male cyclists don't like the road design either, and it's not any nicer because the designer (probably) was the same gender as me.

The problem isn't male road designers, it's non-cycling road designers (or more precisely, ignorant-of-what-cyclists-need road designers).

Absolutely.

Though what is correct and fully supported by research is that safety is a barrier and more of a barrier to women than men. When safety and safety perceptions improve the ratio of female riders to male riders increase and often is above one.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:49 pm

human909 wrote:Though what is correct and fully supported by research is that safety is a barrier and more of a barrier to women than men. When safety and safety perceptions improve the ratio of female riders to male riders increase and often is above one.


Agreed, and I've probably got half a dozen papers at home that I could cite for this. My frustration is that even this level of explanation was missing from the article.
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby Tequestra » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:00 pm

When they write, 'segregated', do they mean segregated from cars or segregated from men?

There is a woman I notice every once in a while, perhaps every couple of weeks, when I look out my front window onto my street. She rides a nice looking 24" 'family-style' frame with a silverfish battery behind the seat tube, and she moves quite fast up the slight hill. Maybe around 30km/h, which is exceptionally quick to see for a lone sheila in casual gear sans lycra.
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It is a bit like the traditional argument about the gender bias in the IT business, I generally guessed at about 1:3 in favour of men. I don't know the ratio of men and women cyclists in Perth, but I would guess around the same as the computing industry, traditionally, that is. 1:2 in England, according to the link, once a week.

With cycling, it is obviously not the mathematics that turns the ladies away. Not being one, although I use the name 'Tequestra' which is my favourite bike's name, and she is female, (because I know my bikes well in spirit), I would not make that usual mistake of trying to 'sexomorphorise' over a species that which I am not, so what it might be that causes women to shun the tredley I would not try to guess, but I would like it if there were more equal numbers of women and men doing the Copenhagen thing. I like the women, truly, but this is about demographics of the political variety. The more women who ride bikes regularly, the more the politicians will grab the opportunity to legislate in our favour. Welcome fellow ladies. Welcome fellow voters.

Safety in the city is one thing. There are equal risks of being run over by a car for either gender. Safety in the country on dark roads on dark nights is another. A man alone is easy prey, but a woman alone is easier and for the well-known reasons, likely to be a more valuable prize for maniacs with unfortunate intentions. There are places I have walked at night when I was young where I would consider myself asking for trouble to walk at night now, and I am not even a woman. That is one safety concern.

During the day, in populated public areas, it would seem to me that there are equal risks for every meatbomb getting around on a bike, and if anything, it is safer for women to cycle in the city than for men.

Why is this?, you ask. It is because mothers are women and mothers are known to instictively put the safety of their children in the back seats ahead of all other concerns, which means that given the choice of colliding head-on with a rampant truck or knocking off a cyclist to avoid the truck, the mother will take out the cyclist to save her children, and debatably rightfully so. It depends on whose mother.

Now with recent media campaigns promoting 'the sisterhood' I would suspect that given the option of hitting a female cyclist rather than hitting a truck, that a mother might have a much more confusing decision in the heat of the moment.

In summary, in the city, in public, in daylight, at peak hour, a female cyclist will likely have a better chance against the cars than a male. It is safer for female cyclists in the city than male cyclists.

In the dark, in the country, riding alone, one must ask oneself, why not plan more sensibly?
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby g-boaf » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:29 pm

Thoglette wrote:Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair
Helen Pidd wrote:The main reason most women don’t cycle in the UK is because they think it is dangerous. You can tell them until the cows come home that the roads are statistically safe, and that you are more likely to be killed walking than on a bicycle. But when they sit on the top deck of a bus and look down to see a cyclist squashed up against the kerb they feel no compulsion whatsoever to join them.

Probably the best line in the article.

Unfortunately, it's the sort of article that makes the Guardian easy to knock: lots of statements like "yet most of our cities are failing to design roads and streets for women to cycle" (made by a man) without a shred of supporting argument for this gendered viewpoint. E.g. how is it that the road designs are OK for men but not women ?

And the few arguments are based on individual anecdotes rather than a line of reasoning. (One run-in with a near-dooring and that route is abandoned. And all roads declared unsafe).

A missed opportunity, in my view


Women don't just shun cycling because of safety, a lot of people do, men and women. and it's all because of a feeling of not being safe on the road.

It's not really the roads that are unsafe, but more the drivers using the roads that make it unsafe.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:24 pm

I agree, the perception of safety on the average is more significant for females than males.

Many years ago I rode some busy roads on Sydney's lower north shore about 20mtrs behind a female and I noticed how many times that motorists cut her off, it was way more than I would of experienced for myself. I pulled up beside her and discussed it, I pointed out that the difference was that I could rip their arms out of their sockets where all she could do was wiggle her finger at them.

The other change I've seen is the % of female riders has gone up, when I first started bike commuting in Sydney there were almost no female commuters, as they built a few disjointed separated cycleways the % of females noticeably increased
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby find_bruce » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:49 pm

It is one of the motivating factors behind the sydney cycleways - see for example Womens business - riding to work. Similar article in the SMH Cycling's gender gap: women less likely to choose 'unsafe' commute.

Now if only we could get some action on connecting the missing links

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby DavidS » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:16 pm

mikesbytes wrote:I agree, the perception of safety on the average is more significant for females than males.

Many years ago I rode some busy roads on Sydney's lower north shore about 20mtrs behind a female and I noticed how many times that motorists cut her off, it was way more than I would of experienced for myself. I pulled up beside her and discussed it, I pointed out that the difference was that I could rip their arms out of their sockets where all she could do was wiggle her finger at them.

The other change I've seen is the % of female riders has gone up, when I first started bike commuting in Sydney there were almost no female commuters, as they built a few disjointed separated cycleways the % of females noticeably increased


I agree, I ride on the bike path on Beach Rd in Melbourne when going to work. I've seen instances where cars will purposely run through a puddle to soak a cyclist on the path (which is separate from the road). But they do it more aggressively and make sure they throw up more water when the cyclist is obviously a woman - they go closer to the kerb (the bike path is where the footpath would normally be and is slighly higher than the road) and are more aggressive.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby uart » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:56 pm

DavidS wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:I agree, the perception of safety on the average is more significant for females than males.

Many years ago I rode some busy roads on Sydney's lower north shore about 20mtrs behind a female and I noticed how many times that motorists cut her off, it was way more than I would of experienced for myself. I pulled up beside her and discussed it, I pointed out that the difference was that I could rip their arms out of their sockets where all she could do was wiggle her finger at them.

The other change I've seen is the % of female riders has gone up, when I first started bike commuting in Sydney there were almost no female commuters, as they built a few disjointed separated cycleways the % of females noticeably increased


I agree, I ride on the bike path on Beach Rd in Melbourne when going to work. I've seen instances where cars will purposely run through a puddle to soak a cyclist on the path (which is separate from the road). But they do it more aggressively and make sure they throw up more water when the cyclist is obviously a woman - they go closer to the kerb (the bike path is where the footpath would normally be and is slighly higher than the road) and are more aggressive.

DS


I suppose that everyone's experience here is anecdotal, but to be honest I was surprised to read the above two accounts. Having ridden a lot in mixed groups I've always felt that the female riders attract significantly less aggression than their male counterparts.

Yes I'm a big hairy bloke that could rip their arms off too Mike, but that counts for nothing in 90% or more of the instances where there's no chance that you could catch up with them anyway. That's actually the primary reason that they do it (mindless aggression against cyclists) so freely.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby human909 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:29 am

uart wrote:I suppose that everyone's experience here is anecdotal, but to be honest I was surprised to read the above two accounts. Having ridden a lot in mixed groups I've always felt that the female riders attract significantly less aggression than their male counterparts.


That is my experience too. Especially if they look female and riding a city bike. If they are riding a road bike and in lycra their gender might not be immediately obvious so behavior might vary.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby RobertL » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:02 am

Yes I'm a big hairy bloke that could rip their arms off too Mike, but that counts for nothing in 90% or more of the instances where there's no chance that you could catch up with them anyway. That's actually the primary reason that they do it (mindless aggression against cyclists) so freely.


What I find amusing is that I am a big ugly bloke, and that means nothing to obnoxious drivers. They beep, yell, drive too close - all of those things.

And then, very occasionally, one of them will do something like that and then drive on up the road and park and get out. And I will ride past while they are on foot. And then, THEN, they realise that I am a big ugly bloke with a head like a robber's dog. And poo their pants.

It's only ever happened a few times, but I enjoy those moments. And I've never had to do anything other than make eye contact with them :)
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby antigee » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:18 pm

mrs antigee cycling to work in Melbourne CBD waiting at lights car pulls alongside close enough to clip her elbow with wing mirror - deliberate when she hammered the roof of the car - he wound down window to say he was in a hurry and f___k cyclists (business guy not bogan or tradie)

I've had plenty of blasts/revs/roll forwards/ brake checks /inarticulate shouts / bottles and punishment passes* but never actually been deliberately hit by a car when on my bike (once as a ped: "you were in the way") - I'm not a big guy but have shoulders that look like I spend a lot of time at the gym - oh and I've taken the lane at the junction

*aka cowards pass

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby RobertL » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:41 pm

antigee wrote:mrs antigee cycling to work in Melbourne CBD waiting at lights car pulls alongside close enough to clip her elbow with wing mirror - deliberate when she hammered the roof of the car - he wound down window to say he was in a hurry and f___k cyclists (business guy not bogan or tradie)


How on earth did we get to a state where that is considered acceptable? What is wrong with people?
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby CKinnard » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:51 pm

Typical article for the Guardian.
White males are the cause of all the world's problems.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby uart » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:51 pm

CKinnard wrote:Typical article for the Guardian.
White males are the cause of all the world's problems.

Yes, and particularly so the "tag line" at the top of the article! That one is just so unnecessary and divisive.

Roads designed by men are killing women

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby BobtheBuilder » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:28 pm

RobertL wrote:a head like a robber's dog


Wow, that's kept me chuckling all day.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby Mububban » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:26 pm

Men will take a risk where a woman will not. It's why we present to hospitals with so many interesting injuries. And why men comprise the bulk of Darwin Award nominations :D

My wife would never ride on the road and hates that I do, she is worried that I will get injured or killed. I understand that this could very realistically happen, but I take my chances. I'm very much a "safety first" personality type in nearly all aspects of my life, but I love cycling so much it's the one thing I'm prepared to take a regular risk on.

I'm almost 40. I wonder if in my lifetime, attitudes to cycling and cycling infrastructure will undergo any meaningful transformation.
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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby g-boaf » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:57 pm

Mububban wrote:Men will take a risk where a woman will not. It's why we present to hospitals with so many interesting injuries. And why men comprise the bulk of Darwin Award nominations :D

My wife would never ride on the road and hates that I do, she is worried that I will get injured or killed. I understand that this could very realistically happen, but I take my chances. I'm very much a "safety first" personality type in nearly all aspects of my life, but I love cycling so much it's the one thing I'm prepared to take a regular risk on.

I'm almost 40. I wonder if in my lifetime, attitudes to cycling and cycling infrastructure will undergo any meaningful transformation.


If you want to see different attitudes to cycling, learn Italian or German and go to Italy or Austria. There you'll be happy.

The infrastructure isn't always so different to here, but the attitudes of motorists are. You just enjoy riding so much more because you aren't second guessing what motorists are thinking of doing.

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Re: Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair (The Guardian)

Postby Mububban » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:01 am

I noticed the difference when cycling in Japan. If only....
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