This month’s Scientific American has a very interesting article on how to boost urban bicycling. Their conclusion? Figure out what will get more women on bicycles!
The articles references comparisons between male/female bicycle trip ratios in the US (2:1) and in Germany and the Netherlands (close to 1:1). Referencing prior studies on gender roles, the article suggests that women are more risk averse, and generally responsible for a greater share of child care and household shopping – necessitating safe bicycle infrastructure that connects practical urban destinations. Most bike paths are intended for recreational use and don’t help with fetching household staples.
It’s an interesting article, and given the proportionality of male/female trips by bicycle in the US, one that is worthy of consideration by transit planners and urban designers.