or are we just plain stupid?
I don't know why more women in North America don't ride bikes more as their means of transportation. It makes sense to me why everyone should bike, but Elly Blue of Grist asks if it's the economy [stupid].
I'm not sure if I buy her argument that the sluggish economy and the disparity between men's and women's salaries contribute to women not riding a bike, though I do agree with most of Elly's conclusive statements in her well-thought out article. Personally (call me a conspiracy theorist), I think industry and government conspired to make women think that cycling was dangerous, by providing an infrastructure for cars and not for bikes, and therefore some of us find it unsafe and refuse to get on a bike and out there on the street.
I don't see any legitimate reason why your average middle-class North American woman doesn't find herself a set of two wheels and get rolling. Everyone has an opinion, and consequently, we had an exciting debate yesterday via Twitter and Facebook.
Here's what some of our followers on Twitter chimed in to say:
I believe that there are fewer women on bikes, but I don't buy the economy argument.
I think it can play a part, but it's just a piece of a big puzzle.
I believe that there are fewer women on bikes, but I don't buy the economy argument. (I agree. Flawed argument)
I agree too. Bad argument. No correlation between economics & female modal share in market by market analysis. And there actually is a correlation between female modal share & infrastructure quality. It's the risk aversion.
I don't buy the headline. If you read the article it's more like 'it's the infrastructure, stupid'.
Economics as explanation for fewer women cyclists?.. RT @velovogue "I don't buy it" (me neither)
One of the things that doesn't get mentioned a lot is that in Denmark, most women work part-time. When you work part-time multi-trip bike transport becomes easier to do. But the number of working women who say part-time work is ideal is increasing. (source: http://bit.ly/jOo2b9) 52% full-time, 12% part-time (source: http://1.usa.gov/laNJrE)
I don't buy it completely but interesting RT @velovogue: What do you think of this point of view? http://fb.me/UX1FpVP9
More cultural than economic IMO.
@skeskali It's larger than individual choice and responsibility. It's structural. It's systemic. And that's why I loved that Grist piece.
Not economy. Carrying capacity. I buy that. I live that. A trailer for a 4yo & 2yo plus panniers helps for now
In N. America, bike infrastructure friendly changes don't usually begin until poor neighbourhoods gentrify. But focusing on how cheaply you can get a bike is the wrong focus, IMO. I think it's very real for a lot of women who aren't represented in the "cycle chic" aesthetic
And from Facebook:
I don't either. I'll give them the time argument, but that's not the greatest factor of all.
Really, in any urban or semi-urban area riding a bicycle is far easier, quicker, and cheaper that driving a car no matter your gender. I'm sure all ...of these poor women own cars so it debases the entire article.
I think the biggest reason for the gap is that women are encouraged to and feel fine with making excuses not to ride. But nobody is going to print that.
Infrastuctre change will be nice but I'm not one that believes that its the real problem. I've bike commuted for the past 25 years off and on on the east and west coasts. Things now are pretty fantastic compared to the old days.
The heart of... what I'm saying is that when I put my bike on the bike rack of the bus each day, mine is usually the only one that goes on out of 3 spots. I've only been 'bumped' two times in the past 4 years. Until that changes, I'm not going to blame the infrastructure for peoples lack of motivation.
I learned to ride a bike on the mean streets of SF, and don't buy this POV either. Change begins with each of us, and as SFYBP states, there are many organizations ready to help get ppl on 2 wheels, regardless of sex or financial status. It's about enjoying the ride.
Maybe we'll never really know why more North American women don't cycle until we actually see them out in droves.