Girls Try Bikes, Discover New Freedom

The question of how to get more women on bikes has received quite a lot
of attention recently, in part because of a recent article in Scientific American that suggested women are an "indicator species" for bike-friendly communities.

A group of people in Darlington, United Kingdom, decided to approach the problem of getting women on bikes by getting girls on bikes. The result is Beauty and the Bike,
a multifaceted project — a book, a documentary, and perhaps most
excitingly, a bike-share program. Watch the short version of the film
below. It’s so wonderful to see how the girls move from skepticism
about cycling to exhilaration about how "liberating" it is.

This
is a project that meets girls on their own terms, and that doesn’t
minimize or denigrate the importance of peer pressure in the choices
they make. As the coordinators write:

For
teenagers the question of their image is crucial. And if cycling is
seen as mad or eccentric, it is unlikely to appear attractive. Thus, UK
transport statistics show that the already low percentage of British
girls who have cycled regularly as a child, stop doing so when they
reach puberty.

Beauty and the Bike
shows that it is entirely possible to change those attitudes. It’s good
stuff. Thanks to new Streetsblog Network member Utility Cycling for bringing this one to our attention.

More from around the network: Hard Drive on how ants are smarter than people when it comes to traffic. The Transport Politic looks at the role of corporate lobbyists in the push for high-speed rail. And Austin on Two Wheels crosses paths with a family of five riding 7,000 miles on a quint bike.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Young girls are as enthusiastic about biking as boys, but many lose interest in biking as they get older. Photo: Cameron Adams/Flickr
STREETSBLOG USA

Why Do Teenage Girls Lose Interest in Biking?

|
Jennifer Dill at Portland State University is taking a close look at why girls' attitudes about biking change over time. In a study of 300 Portland-area families, she observed that a gender gap in attitudes toward cycling isn't apparent in younger kids, but when girls reach adolescence, they don't view cycling as positively as boys do.
Kit Hodge, Arielle Fleisher. Brian Wiedenmeier, Jamie Parks , and Luis Montoya at SPUR's event on the state of bicycling. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick unless otherwise noted.

SPUR Talk: The State of Cycling in San Francisco

|
San Francisco has made strides in increasing bicycling’s mode share, but its bike infrastructure is still bad. That was the conclusion of yesterday’s state of cycling talk at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. “I had three or four near misses on Market street just getting over here,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, […]