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Bicycling Gender gap?

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24

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  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
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    Avidkeo wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    I bike sometimes, just for fun. I would 100% say something that stops me from biking is safety. Far to many cases of women being kidnapped, raped, and murdered from their bikes. In general though, women worry about that kind of thing more then men.

    Is that really an issue? I'm not trying to downplay it or make light of the situation, but is that really a wide-reaching concern to the point that it's a significant limiting factor? "being kidnapped, raped, and murdered"?

    I don't doubt women think/worry about it more than men... I guess I'm wondering if it's an issue for women because they worry about it, or do they worry about it because it's an issue.

    I'm not sure if it's really a reasonable worry for anyone- statistically you're very unlikely to get kidnapped/raped/murdered by a rando stranger, but those stats do go up if you are a woman. It's probably not going to be that extreme, but most women have been creeped on just living life- someone groping us on the bus, someone who won't take 'no, I won't give you my number' for an answer, someone who think it's funny to shout inappropriate things, etc.

    Women are often taught it's a fact of life and 'boys will be boys' or 'men can't control their urges'. Women don't talk about it because we get stuff like, "well he was drunk", "what were you wearing", "were YOU drunk?" It's changing (I think) but slowly.

    This, so much this. Statistically kidnappings and rape are done by someone known to the victim, like around 95% or a similarly high number. The problem is because stranger rape is so rare it gets a lot of media attention and therefore is perceived to be very common.

    I regularly go running after dark, something I know not of women do out of fear. My only worry is tripping over or being hit by a driver who didn't see me. The possibility of being kidnapped/raped never really crosses my mind. For reference I don't live in the US.

    I'm similar, and yes I sometimes run after dark/before it's light.

    My worry about biking is being doored or hit by a car (on the streets, even in bike lanes in some areas) or hit by some idiot (on a really busy bike trail) or just not enjoying it when the crowds are overwhelming (same). I do it anyway, but those are limiting factors.
  • Purplebunnysarah
    Purplebunnysarah Posts: 3,252 Member
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    peleroja wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    I bike sometimes, just for fun. I would 100% say something that stops me from biking is safety. Far to many cases of women being kidnapped, raped, and murdered from their bikes. In general though, women worry about that kind of thing more then men.

    Is that really an issue? I'm not trying to downplay it or make light of the situation, but is that really a wide-reaching concern to the point that it's a significant limiting factor? "being kidnapped, raped, and murdered"?

    I don't doubt women think/worry about it more than men... I guess I'm wondering if it's an issue for women because they worry about it, or do they worry about it because it's an issue.

    In my own experience, (I preface this by saying I live in a Canadian capital city of about a million and bike/run/walk daily), I have been chased while running and had men attempt to stop me and pull me off my bike multiple times while on multiuse trails in my city. About two weeks ago, I also had a man leave a restaurant when he saw me leaving with a female friend and our bikes and attempt to follow us until stopped by a bystander, and that's not an isolated event.

    It doesn't happen daily, but I would say that I am approached by someone aggressively every couple of weeks, whether that's a drunk guy trying to grab my backpack as I ride past him, a man stopping to tell me I should get in his car, or whatever. I'm not afraid for my life or thinking I'm going to be "kidnapped, raped, and murdered" all the time, but I do need to be cognizant of my physical safety frequently and take steps to protect myself, like running only on well-populated, well-lit streets, staying out of arms' reach and away from blind corners or clumps of trees or whatever on my bike, and planning routes that keep me visible to traffic.

    That's pretty frightening! I'm pretty sure I live in the same city as you based on your description but I haven't had anything that disturbing happen to me when I run, and I frequently run quite late in the evening or early in the morning.

    I don't actually have a bike or I would bike commute to work more often since there's a dedicated multi-use trail right past my house that goes all the way to work (only 5 km away). I do occasionally run home from work though. I have the path to myself most days when I do.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    edited May 2018
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    honestly until folks in the cycling world start taking the gender gap seriously you won't see many changes (i.e. bike ads with women featured that talk about the advantages of electric bikes and "how i can keep up with my husband" marketing)...i'm a cyclist and a triathlete and its something that we struggle with...added to that, the way i've seen/heard how my friends have been treated by male cyclists (having to be "explained" multiple times how to pick a pace group; or basically treated like idiots)

    So how does that work? Is it a psychological thing, or..?

    If a woman is talked down to about cycling/by a cyclist.. If an ad is for an ebike that will help her keep up with her husband...
    • Does she consciously say "screw you, I won't ride then if you're going to be an *kitten* about it"?
    • Does she simply not feel welcomed, and thus is hesitant to step into that arena?
    • Is there something in her subconscious that tells her cycling isn't for women?
    • How does she know/decide that she's being condescended to because she's a woman rather than a beginner?

    Sorry if those are stupid questions. As a guy who has no interest in the social aspects of cycling and who is far more apt to encounter deer and porcupines during a ride than pedestrians, this whole conversation is very foreign to me.

    And yes, I know anyone who weighs in here isn't speaking for all women everywhere.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
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    i think its more the dismissive nature of the ads - like women are weaker and need an electric bike to keep up - when i know a good many who beat most men...why would a man not use an ebike...why was the ad (which i believe the company withdrew) only focus on women?

    or for example - my friend who just moved and went out for a group ride this past weekend....she opted to go with the B group (since she was new to the area) - probably could have easily kept up with the A group since she does 21+ mph on avg...but one guy in the group kept approaching her about how "was she sure she could keep up" or "just in case, here are the speeds for the C group" or "are you sure you know how fast the B group is going" - stuff like that
  • amandaeve
    amandaeve Posts: 723 Member
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    It looks like the responses here mostly match the articles linked- safety/fear is the primary factor keeping women off bikes. The gender gap closes in countries that have infrastructure keeping bikes and cars separate. Fear of attack/assault is a concern, but (in general) not so much as fear of vehicles, or else we'd probably see more of a gender gap in walking/running too (we don't) and less gap correlated with infrastructure. It makes sense to me that women (in general) would have stronger safety concerns than men for myriad reasons. This leads me to wonder, of the men who don’t ride, is safety also the major factor (and just being a minority in their gender), or do men choose not to ride for some other reason?
  • peleroja
    peleroja Posts: 3,979 Member
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    sarahthes wrote: »
    peleroja wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    I bike sometimes, just for fun. I would 100% say something that stops me from biking is safety. Far to many cases of women being kidnapped, raped, and murdered from their bikes. In general though, women worry about that kind of thing more then men.

    Is that really an issue? I'm not trying to downplay it or make light of the situation, but is that really a wide-reaching concern to the point that it's a significant limiting factor? "being kidnapped, raped, and murdered"?

    I don't doubt women think/worry about it more than men... I guess I'm wondering if it's an issue for women because they worry about it, or do they worry about it because it's an issue.

    In my own experience, (I preface this by saying I live in a Canadian capital city of about a million and bike/run/walk daily), I have been chased while running and had men attempt to stop me and pull me off my bike multiple times while on multiuse trails in my city. About two weeks ago, I also had a man leave a restaurant when he saw me leaving with a female friend and our bikes and attempt to follow us until stopped by a bystander, and that's not an isolated event.

    It doesn't happen daily, but I would say that I am approached by someone aggressively every couple of weeks, whether that's a drunk guy trying to grab my backpack as I ride past him, a man stopping to tell me I should get in his car, or whatever. I'm not afraid for my life or thinking I'm going to be "kidnapped, raped, and murdered" all the time, but I do need to be cognizant of my physical safety frequently and take steps to protect myself, like running only on well-populated, well-lit streets, staying out of arms' reach and away from blind corners or clumps of trees or whatever on my bike, and planning routes that keep me visible to traffic.

    That's pretty frightening! I'm pretty sure I live in the same city as you based on your description but I haven't had anything that disturbing happen to me when I run, and I frequently run quite late in the evening or early in the morning.

    I don't actually have a bike or I would bike commute to work more often since there's a dedicated multi-use trail right past my house that goes all the way to work (only 5 km away). I do occasionally run home from work though. I have the path to myself most days when I do.

    If you're in YEG as well, I will explain that I'm in the northeast, and so my commute takes me along the LRT line for long stretches, which in that north-of-Churchill station area especially is not really a great part of town, but using that path is still much preferable to me to being in traffic with cars. I can dodge drunk guys all night but I can't control other people in cars, so it's a choice I make. Just means I have to tolerate some unpleasantness, mostly from the homeless guys who set up their tents in the trees between Churchill and Stadium.

    Most of my unpleasant running experiences involve weirdos in the river valley, which is also kind of par for the course. I don't tend to have any issues if I stay in neighbourhoods and on sidewalks.
  • Purplebunnysarah
    Purplebunnysarah Posts: 3,252 Member
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    peleroja wrote: »
    sarahthes wrote: »
    peleroja wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    I bike sometimes, just for fun. I would 100% say something that stops me from biking is safety. Far to many cases of women being kidnapped, raped, and murdered from their bikes. In general though, women worry about that kind of thing more then men.

    Is that really an issue? I'm not trying to downplay it or make light of the situation, but is that really a wide-reaching concern to the point that it's a significant limiting factor? "being kidnapped, raped, and murdered"?

    I don't doubt women think/worry about it more than men... I guess I'm wondering if it's an issue for women because they worry about it, or do they worry about it because it's an issue.

    In my own experience, (I preface this by saying I live in a Canadian capital city of about a million and bike/run/walk daily), I have been chased while running and had men attempt to stop me and pull me off my bike multiple times while on multiuse trails in my city. About two weeks ago, I also had a man leave a restaurant when he saw me leaving with a female friend and our bikes and attempt to follow us until stopped by a bystander, and that's not an isolated event.

    It doesn't happen daily, but I would say that I am approached by someone aggressively every couple of weeks, whether that's a drunk guy trying to grab my backpack as I ride past him, a man stopping to tell me I should get in his car, or whatever. I'm not afraid for my life or thinking I'm going to be "kidnapped, raped, and murdered" all the time, but I do need to be cognizant of my physical safety frequently and take steps to protect myself, like running only on well-populated, well-lit streets, staying out of arms' reach and away from blind corners or clumps of trees or whatever on my bike, and planning routes that keep me visible to traffic.

    That's pretty frightening! I'm pretty sure I live in the same city as you based on your description but I haven't had anything that disturbing happen to me when I run, and I frequently run quite late in the evening or early in the morning.

    I don't actually have a bike or I would bike commute to work more often since there's a dedicated multi-use trail right past my house that goes all the way to work (only 5 km away). I do occasionally run home from work though. I have the path to myself most days when I do.

    If you're in YEG as well, I will explain that I'm in the northeast, and so my commute takes me along the LRT line for long stretches, which in that north-of-Churchill station area especially is not really a great part of town, but using that path is still much preferable to me to being in traffic with cars. I can dodge drunk guys all night but I can't control other people in cars, so it's a choice I make. Just means I have to tolerate some unpleasantness, mostly from the homeless guys who set up their tents in the trees between Churchill and Stadium.

    Most of my unpleasant running experiences involve weirdos in the river valley, which is also kind of par for the course. I don't tend to have any issues if I stay in neighbourhoods and on sidewalks.

    That makes sense then! I'm waaaay far SE (not far from Ellerslie) so most of our crime seems to be bored rich kids. Used to live in the Bonnie Doon area and while I never felt personally unsafe I definitely saw quite a few people who seemed strung out and could have been threatening.
  • SusanMcMc
    SusanMcMc Posts: 252 Member
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    I’m mostly a get from here to there biker who loves to go for rides from time to time to burn off energy and get some sunshine. I’m a mom and I basically dragged my family into biking. I took my kids on Kidical mass rides on the back of a cargo until they could ride themselves. We are a one-car family so having everyone up on bikes is very helpful. I’m just wary of careless drivers more than anything else.

    I’m fortunate to live in a college town with decent infrastructure like multi use paths, wide bike friendly streets and bike lanes here and there. Even with all that, I still feel intimidated from bike riding groups. Most are made up of dudes and some of the are extremely cold and crunchier-than-thou. But the LBS has female employees and an annual women workshop about maintenance. There’s an annual bike ride for women (50 miles on trail) that I’d like to do sometime. Our local bike coalition does host a lot of cool events so perhaps I’ll get up my courage and try one this summer.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 28,034 Member
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    I liked biking when I was in Okinawa. I biked to work and also for exercise. I felt safe on the roads there.

    I did it less in NY, and then we moved to MA and a coworker broke his collar bone while off road biking and I don't think I ever got on a bike again after that.

    Perhaps I was less concerned about safety in my early 20s and got more concerned as I got older.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    I loved mtn biking and really got into downhill after attending a meet in Vail and got to watch Missy Giove dominate. I never learned to love road biking, but forcing myself to over the last year trying to get better results in multisport.

    I don't really concern myself with representation - just don't see the point. I just want to ensure that anyone who has the desire to also has the ability to....at least get exposed to a new activity. I'm a long time firearms instructor and never had exclusionary courses, but noticed a dramatic increase of women in my courses and been asked to run a women only course. Where for years I would only have one woman in the class it is now about evenly split.

    I've been hit on three separate occasions by a car - twice in a marked bike lane no less and once in a crosswalk. Walked away with a bit of road rash, but never a serious injury. Not sure if this is a factor, but the data certainly suggests that men have a higher risk tolerance.

    Our preferred bike trail just had two sexual assaults committed in the past month - both in daylight and in populated areas. Again, not sure how much this actually impacts, but my wife is now concerned about running there and always carrying.
  • Zodikosis
    Zodikosis Posts: 149 Member
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    I'm pulling this out of my butt, but I feel like women tend to think a bit more about safety. I don't feel safe riding on the streets here in America, and there aren't many other places to ride a bike conveniently. Drivers aren't used to cyclists out on the road here as much as they are in Euro countries, and especially where I am, drivers are also extremely aggressive, bordering on reckless. I'm also not THAT great of a cyclist (I learned how to ride a bike fairly late), so there's that added risk of messing up and injuring myself as well. There are a lot of other activities I could do where I don't have to worry about road rash.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    Zodikosis wrote: »
    I'm pulling this out of my butt, but I feel like women tend to think a bit more about safety. I don't feel safe riding on the streets here in America, and there aren't many other places to ride a bike conveniently. Drivers aren't used to cyclists out on the road here as much as they are in Euro countries, and especially where I am, drivers are also extremely aggressive, bordering on reckless. I'm also not THAT great of a cyclist (I learned how to ride a bike fairly late), so there's that added risk of messing up and injuring myself as well. There are a lot of other activities I could do where I don't have to worry about road rash.

    Not at all - there's decades of psychological evidence supporting this.
  • ttippie2000
    ttippie2000 Posts: 412 Member
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    We live in a community where bike lanes were designed in on all roads from the start. I bought my wife a nice carbon fiber road bike, but she doesn't ride it. I guess she had a couple of bad accidents as a little girl where she went over the handle bars and hit her head. She has difficulty relaxing when riding now. I tried going slowly and being very patient and encouraging, but I let it go when it was clear it just wasn't her thing. We just do other sports together.

    As far as the people on my triathlon team...there is a wide range of fitness and experience. Lot of people on the team have self-doubt from time to time, whether about fitness or experience or technique, etc. Fortunately, it is also a welcoming and encouraging group of people that are very positive and willing to listen and help. The women outnumber the men, but taken as a whole, the women are also more fit and win more consistently than the men. And there are a couple of women who I have never seen not finish on the podium.
  • 2baninja
    2baninja Posts: 517 Member
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    I don't bike much anymore, I used to lots, I think my biggest reason for not riding as much is because as others have said, drivers don't pay attention, it's rather unnerving to have a car go flying past you and not move over at all.
  • runnermom419
    runnermom419 Posts: 366 Member
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    Safety. Hands down. Where I live, it's more acceptable to drive your tractor down the road than it is to ride your bike. I DO ride, but not as often as I'd like. I don't personally want to feel what it's like getting hit by a car. We've been screamed at, honked at, flipped off and almost ran off the road despite hugging the right line as tight as possible.
  • Noreenmarie1234
    Noreenmarie1234 Posts: 7,492 Member
    edited May 2018
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    I would bike more places if I didn't get all sweaty and gross and then have to take a shower. I find men can bike to work and look just fine, but personally as a women, in order to look presentable and not have matted down sweaty hair I need a good shower and locker room before work. If I was a guy, I wouldn't have to worry about hair. Most of the guys at work are fine with biking to work and just a quick change and comb through their hair. Because of this I don't bike to work, only for leisure.

    I have never felt unsafe or worried about being raped or attacked. I have been almost hit numerous times though because even though there is clearly a "BIKE CROSSING YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS" sign across the on and off ramp of the thruways around town, NO ONE yields and I always have to stop or else I will be hit. It is kind of annoying they speed through there even if I am starting to go through. But I just stop and wait until they pass and have to be careful on the busy streets because cars don't yield or even seem to be careful around bikes.
  • Fuzzipeg
    Fuzzipeg Posts: 2,301 Member
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    When mine were at home, some years ago, were often out on our bikes, it was the only way to get about, we would be neatly spaced for safety, never side by side. Out with my son, a driver from a side road, drove into me. Another cyclist had said, always keep your handlebars up. I did, crumpled I was getting up when my son realised I was no longer with him. The driver saw one bike, had not looked for another! I doubt he will have ever missed a second again.

    Were I to cycle with my husband I would be appalled if he thought he had to race me all the time! Insulting.