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Dr Rachel Aldred
So here's notes for my 'short, no more than 10-minute presentation on why there is to your mind a gender gap in cycling' for roundtable on this morning. Bonus: if I run out of time I can refer people to Twitter ;)
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Women are not a homogenous group. In a 10-min talk I have to simplify a lot. But I will try to highlight some differences/interactions with other characteristics. Also many barriers to cycling affect men too, even if to a lesser extent (mode share for men's still only 3%).
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Firstly, three key route quality issues. (i) Protected infrastructure (incl. routes free/nearly free from motor traffic). Both women & men prefer protected space but women tend to express stronger preferences. A cycling environment that forces ppl to mix w motors discriminates.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
(ii) Route directness/detours. As distance grows, cycling propensity falls. This fall's larger for women & older people. So if ppl must detour to find good infra, this discriminates too! (NL shows that women's cycling mode share can be higher than men's if we get it right, tho).
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
(iii) Physical obstacles: cyclists dismount signs, gates, narrow gaps, lack of dropped kerbs, etc. Why is this a gender issue? Women are more likely to be travelling with kids than men. Or to have mobility impairments. Either means such obstacles can be insurmountable.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Harassment & discrimination. Affects many women (& men). Cycling can feel safer in this regard than walking. But 'quiet' routes often don't feel socially safe & this isn't taken into account enough in planning. More broadly we need to work towards public space safe for all.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
I've listed some characteristics of good routes. But where do these go? We should be measuring spatial equity for gender & other factors. If we build good routes only to commute destinations, planning is biased towards (some) working age men. The school run's still mostly female.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
It's not just routes. Where are bike hire stations: do they serve trips for a diversity of purposes by a diversity of people? Where's the bike parking? Does it serve a variety of bikes, such as cargo cycles?
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Which leads to affordability. Not a problem for all women. I can afford my standard hybrid. But what about a low income single parent (90% are female) who needs a more expensive cargo bike for her kids? A retired woman who needs an e-bike to get around? Cost can be a big problem.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Policy, language, imagery. People need to see people like them cycling. The standard image of a 'cyclist' (see LTN 2/08!) puts many off. But arguably women even more than men. And such images aren't 'only' pictures but part of a mindset that's helped reinforce bias in planning.
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Dr Rachel Aldred Mar 12
Replying to @RachelAldred
Which reinforces the need for diverse (public & professional) involvement in planning; wider range of voices. But we also need more equitable planning processes & systems that don't rely on ppl who experience marginalisation also doing all the equality work. It's all of our job.
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