CEDARBURG, WI—The Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals (APBP) invited women and girls across the country to participate in an online survey about women and their attitudes and concerns about bicycling. The response was much larger than anticipated and serves as the impetus for an ongoing dialog on the topic through APBP’s Women Cycling Project and the Women Cycling Photo & Video Contest.
The online “Snapshot in Time Survey” remained open through May 15, 2010 gathering a total of 13,085 responses from women and girls. Preliminary information about the survey participants suggests:
§ 69% live in medium to large cities
§ 60% use their bikes for some of their daily trips
§ 44% had freedom to ride alone from the age of 7-10 years
§ 13% do not currently own a car
§ 80% have a college degree or above
The women who responded that they ride regularly told APBP that they bike for errands (82%), commuting (78%), socializing (76%) and while on vacation (93%). This group overwhelmingly indicated that they enjoy the exercise aspect of cycling (91%), being in the outdoors (88%) and that their bike store provides great service (70%). They also said that they cycled because it is an environmentally good choice (70%), saves them money (70%), and helps them reduce stress (73%). Weather showed up in many responses as a major factor influencing many of their riding decisions. While they said that they follow the rules while biking as much as possible (88%), they told APBP that motorists don’t see them (63%), perhaps because motorists in the U.S. haven’t been trained to look for bicyclists using the public right of way.
Among the entire group of 13,000 survey participants, the concerns that were expressed overwhelming were related to drivers and infrastructure with only low levels of concern regarding such factors as clothes and appearance. Participants indicated that they have safety concerns about distracted driving (78%), speed of vehicles (69%) and vehicles turning right in front of them (61%). In terms of improvements in the community, 69% expressed an interest in adding more bike lanes, wider lanes (49%) and off-road paths (52%). Write-in suggestions included women-only bike and maintenance classes, better bike parking and lots of ideas for school programs.
APBP Executive Director Kit Keller comments, “We are delighted with the very high level of interest in this topic. APBP is now working with a graduate student on the next stage of the project- analyzing the tremendous volume of information and suggestions we received. We will announce the results of our analysis by the Pro Walk/ Pro Bike Conference® in September.”
The high level of energy for and interest in the topic of women and cycling has stirred APBP to create an ongoing public website group called The Women Cycling Project at www.apbp.org. A work in progress, APBP is offering this public group as an outgrowth of the implementation recommendations from the International Scan of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility in Europe (report at http://www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4504). The project offers an open discussion about how to change transportation culture by engaging more women in sustainable transportation. This space provides information about resources, barriers, and successes so that more women can confidently cycle more places more often. It is a site for people and communities to offer suggestions and share experiences.
APBP continues its exciting collaboration with partners at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center on a Women Cycling Photo & Video Contest to elicit more photos of women and girls on their bicycles. The directions for submitting a photo or video can be found on www.pedbikeimages.com Entrants should note in the description “APBP Women Cycling Photo & Video contest.” More information about the contest and prizes is available at www.apbp.org. The contest will remain open for several months; check the APBP Web site for the closing date.
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals provides expertise for sustainable transportation and is the only professional membership organization for the discipline of pedestrian and bicycle transportation. APBP members – employees of all levels of government, consulting firms and non-profits – work in the engineering, planning, landscape architecture, police, safety, health and promotion fields and specialize in improving conditions for bicycling and walking. For more information about the organization, visit www.apbp.org.
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source: Kit Keller, APBP