The ‘Cycling and Women Survey’ is the third annual survey conducted by the Heart Foundation and The Cycling Promotion Fund.
Gear Up Girl program, run by Bicycle NSW looks to help ladies overcome their Attitudes, Perceptions, Barriers and Enablers.
Riding a Bike
- Close to one in three women surveyed reported they had ridden a bike in the past six months. In comparison as children, close to 90% reported they had ridden a bike.
- Women aged 18 to 39 were three times more likely to have ridden a bike in the past six months than women aged 60 and over.
- For women who reported they have ridden a bike in the past six months, the majority did so for either fun or exercise. Overall, only 7% of women surveyed rode a bike for transport purposes.
- Women who reported not having ridden a bike in the past six months were more than twice as likely to report they were dissatisfied with their health and their health was fair or poor. When asked whether they participate in indoor cycling, more than one in three respondents reported they cycle indoors (i.e. exercise bikes), with women living in metropolitan areas significantly more likely to do so. Furthermore, more than 60% of respondents who reported they participate in indoor cycling do not ride a bike outdoors.
Overall, 60% of women reported they would likely to cycle more than they currently do. More than three quarters of women with 78% of those who currently cycle and more than 50% of women who hadn’t cycled in the past six months would like to cycle more than they do.
Attitudes and Perceptions
- Respondents ranked ‘health and fitness’, ‘getting outside’ and ‘fun and enjoyment’ as the most important factors in why they would ride a bike.
- Fashion seems to have a bearing on women’s perceptions towards cycling, with the majority believing its hard to cycle in skirts/dresses. In addition, one in three women perceive cycling clothes as unfashionable and a similar proportion feel wearing a helmet ruins a woman’s hairstyle.
- The overwhelming majority feel its socially acceptable for women to ride a bike.
More than half of women surveyed stated riding a bike is seen as acceptable by their friends, with younger women under the age of 40 and those who currently ride more likely to agree their friends see it as acceptable to ride.
Barriers and Enablers
There was not one clear stand out reason that women believe prevents them (or other women) from cycling:
- One in ten women reported lacking confidence in riding a bike, along with lack of time to get on a bike. When asked to nominate all reasons that prevent women from cycling, traffic and aggression from other road users featured prominently.
- The main safety concerns amongst women associated with cycling (aside from personal safety) involved traffic and cars, with speed and volume of cars/trucks, and distracted drivers being the major safety concerns.
- Women generally feel having more as well as separate bike paths to cycle on would entice women to cycle more.
- This view was consistent amongst all women, irrespective of whether women had cycled in the past six months or not, their age or residential location.
- The overwhelming majority of women agree that government should improve cycling facilities by providing more bike paths and/or lanes, consistent with the view that having more bike lanes and off-road cycling paths would entice more women to ride.