(From the Cycling Australia Website)
Feeling unsafe on the road and a lack of confidence is preventing Australian women from riding more regularly, a new report from Cycling Australia has revealed.
Over 50% of the women surveyed for the report said they would like to feel more confident in their cycling abilities so they could ride in traffic, yet 55% said they didn’t have access to safe on-road facilities to do so.
These women indicated that safer bike lanes and pathways, access to other women who ride at their level, as well as access to organised riding groups would motivate them to ride more.
“Women ride for fitness, fun, to improve their health, to socialise and to challenge themselves, yet feeling unsafe on the road, work commitments and lack of time are the top three challenges that inhibit them from riding more regularly,” said Cycling Australia’s General Manager of Participation Gareth Watkins.
“Women want to be more confident riding on the road in traffic and they want to have access to organised riding opportunities. They also want to feel safe and see Cycling Australia hold an advocacy voice in the community.
“The findings in this report validate a number of thoughts about women’s riding habits and provide us with data that can be used organisation wide to improve women’s participation in cycling.”
The survey of 2,400 Australian women also found:
- – 52% of women currently ride alone
- – 61% of women describe their skill level as intermediate
- – Women currently ride an average of 3 times a week
- – 92% of women enjoy reading stories about women’s cycling
- – 51% believe that media coverage for women’s cycling is improving
Despite a significant growth in the number of women cycling for recreational purposes, a gender imbalance still exists in Cycling Australia’s membership that sees women represent only one in every five members. It is hoped the findings from this report can help improve this number, as well as facilitate change organisation wide to improve women’s participation in cycling.
“I am confident that Cycling Australia is already moving towards greater inclusion and equality for women who cycle in Australia,” said Cycling Australia’s Acting CEO Melinda Tarrant.
“Through board endorsement of the Diversity Policy, the establishment of a women’s commission, our commitment to implement an equal prize money policy for national events and the launch of She Rides, Cycling Australia is heading in the right direction to support more women to cycle.
“The report findings will keep us on track and I am thrilled to see the report completed and ready for use.”
The release of the Women’s Stakeholder Finding Public Report coincides with the commencement of the pilot delivery of Cycling Australia’s new women’s riding initiative, She Rides.
Pilot She Rides programs are running in New South Wales and Queensland, targeting women who want to ride regularly but lack the access, skills, confidence or support to do so. Over the next three months, more than 100 women will participate in programs focusing on riding on shared paths/road or in a mountain bike environment.
About the Women’s Stakeholder Findings Public Report
Developed with the support of Cycling Australia’s Women’s Commission, and implemented in conjunction with Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), AustCycle and the Amy Gillett Foundation, the report is built on the responses of 2,400 women who were surveyed in October and November 2013.
The surveys targeted two audiences – women who are members of Cycling Australia and its affiliates (Female Member Survey), and women who simply ride bikes in the community as recreational riders (Women on Bikes Survey). The surveys collected responses from around Australia and provide a fair representation of Cycling Australia’s membership for women nationally (women aged 18 years or older).
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