Just one quarter of the UK’s female population cycle

According to research conducted by UK-based cycling charity Sustrans, almost three-quarters of women in Britain never cycle.

The news was discovered when conducting research for a report titled ‘Women: reducing the gender gap’, which was published by Sustrans. The report details women’s travel habits, views and attitudes towards cycling.

More than 7,700 residents of Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Greater Manchester were surveyed for the report.

"Most of our cities are failing to design roads and streets for women to cycle," the charity said.

72 per cent of those surveyed commented that it would take a shift in cycling perception amongst the general public to persuade them to get on a bike. More than two-thirds of those surveyed believed that their city would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled.

The research found that many women do not feel safe cycling. Just 27 per cent of those surveyed believed that cycling safety was a priority in their city.

"There should be an investment in on-road dedicated cycle lanes, protected from motor traffic, that get people to where they want to go directly and efficiently," commented cyclist Verity Leigh, from Edinburgh.

"I’ve always cycled with my children on my bike from the time that they were babies. It’s a practical thing for us, it’s just a choice that makes our lives easier," added Cardiff resident Cerys Furlong.

The report pointed to the success of Cambridge – which has the UK’s highest level of cycling – and attributed it to low-speed limits, extensive cycle routes and expensive parking.

"Evidence from the UK and beyond shows that when dedicated space for riding a bike is provided, alongside engagement programmes, the gender gap in cycling can be eliminated," commented Sustrans chief executive Xavier Brice.

The charity recommends prioritising women’s road safety through protected routes and providing training programmes to enable more women to use bikes.

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