FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- It's not uncommon to see elementary and middle school girls riding bikes, but by high school most put the bikes away. There was a time when oppression against women ran rampant and bicycles offered a sense of power and independence. In 1986, Susan B. Anthony told New York World's Nellie Bly that bicycling has "done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." Toward the end of the 20th century, there was a significant drop in the number of teenage girls riding bikes. The National Children's Bureau published research that concluded that on average boys cycle 138 miles a year, whereas girls cycled 24. There were two common factors in bicycle abandonment: fashion or fear.
After collecting data from the three top bike-share programs in the US and determining the gender balance in three cities, New York, Chicago, and Boston, BuzzFeed's Jeremy Singer-Vine concluded that "for every three men riding a bike, just one woman does the same." The National Household Travel Survey presented findings that support Singer-Vines' findings, reporting that 24% of bike trips were made by women. Significantly higher numbers are reported in other countries, including Germany with 49% and Holland with 55%.
Women riders aged 18 to 24 ride more days per year than men of the same age, but as they enter the child-rearing age of 25 to 44, there's a decrease of women riders. Female baby boomers (aged 45 to 64) rode as much as their male counterparts, continuing to do so well into 75+ age groups. This suggests that women enjoy riding as much as men do, but that riding time is difficult to set aside when caring for children and fulfilling other life duties.
In the early 2000s, bicycling grew as a sport but in 2015 bicycle use took an opposite turn, becoming more commonly used as a means of transportation. The number of women who commute by bike has grown by 58.8% since 2006. The ACS data shows that between 2011 and 2012 the growth in bike commuting by women (10.9%) has outpaced that of men (8.4%).
Safety was identified as the primary concern women had regarding cycling. A 2010 Women's Cycling Survey showed that 73% of women were concerned about "distracted driving," followed by the fear of sexual assault and harassment. Two other factors that deter women from riding bicycles are "inability to carry children or other passengers" and "possibility of injury to self and others."
These factors are being addressed by the bicycle market and urban planning in multiple ways. Manufacturers such as Pedego, Juiced Riders, and Yuba released several cargo e-bikes capable of climbing steep city streets when carrying heavy loads. Bike lanes and dedicated bike paths developed by the likes of Rails to Trails Conservancy are connecting more urban landscapes than ever.
Velosurance is a cyclist-specific insurance policy that addresses the injury and liability concerns of female riders. The policy was designed with cyclists in mind and provides coverage for the vast majority of risky situations that a cyclist and their bike might be involved in, such as liability, theft, damage, physical loss and vehicle contract protection. Medical coverage option can mitigate or eliminate the annual out-of-pocket expense in case of an injury.
To learn more about how Velosurance can help manage risks associated with training and commuting by bicycle visit https://velosurance.com/information-center/women-cycling/ in our information center. To receive a quote please visit www.velosurance.com or call 888-663-9948.
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