How new cycle schemes should prioritise safety for female cyclists

by | Mar 12, 2023

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Amidst a period of soaring travel fares – with TfL rates rising by 5.9% across tube and rail services – and newly announced strike action set to take place on March 16th and 18th, more people are looking to cycling as a more affordable and reliable form of travel. 

New research from the UK’s leading e-bike engineers Swytch Technology has subsequently found that 29% of Brits plan to walk or cycle to work in order to reduce costs. The study also revealed that 30% of women in the UK say they are struggling to afford public transport amidst the cost-of-living crisis – compared to 23% for men. As a keen proponent of active and safe travel, Oliver Montague supports calls for new schemes to prioritise safer infrastructure for female cyclists and pedestrians. 

Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, protests this weekend by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) have highlighted the barriers female cyclists currently face in the UK. The campaign, which saw groups of riders from across London taking laps throughout the capital, sought to draw attention to how women are being put off cycling by issues including a lack of safe routes, dangerous driving and harassment. 

Thanks to a recently announced £200 million fund courtesy of the UK government, schools, high streets, and main roads are set to benefit from improved crossing and junctions to support more Brits in walking and cycling as their primary mode of travel. 

 
 

Montague explains that Active Travel England should look to follow the precedent set by other other European cities, which show how women are more likely to cycle than men when there is supportive cycling infrastructure in place. For example, investment in Lisbon and Paris, which increased the amount of street lighting and separation from road traffic in bike lanes, prompted a significant increase in the number of female cyclists. Similarly, in notorious cycling hotspots such as the Netherlands and Copenhagen, 55% of journeys by bike are made by women. 

Oliver Montague, CEO and co-founder of Swytch Technology comments: “Factors such as the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing strike action have fulled a shift towards other forms of travelling that are more convenient and cost-efficient than public transport such as cycling. However, it’s vital that this increased appetite for active travel is matched by an infrastructure that allows everyone to do so safely. 

“Despite initiatives to improve cycling infrastructure in the UK, with the government recently allocating a £200 million fund, more can be done to create safer cycling routes. It’s great to see Brits are urging government officials to make active travel safer and more accessible for everyone.”

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