In an effort to get more women on bikes, The Washington Area Bicyclist Association started a new program aimed at women, and so far the organization has raised $11,000.
Citing Department of Transportation data, the Washington Examiner reports there are more men than women cyclists, but all the talk about getting more women on bikes and convincing them to join the fray isn’t new.
But when you read quotes about why women are reluctant to start riding regularly (safety being the number one concern), you can’t help but feel for them in some way.
I know when I first committed myself to buying my bike to start a new lifestyle habit/hobby/pleasure, safety was my key issue. My dad is a cyclist, and there’s no shortage of accidents on his bicycle rap sheet. It also didn’t really help when I was getting ready to ride my new two-wheeled steed home from the shop that the lady helping me was telling me
horror cautionary tales of what trails to avoid or when to avoid them. Luckily, living in the better part of Montgomery County, I wasn’t all that concerned about being attacked (though there have been a few last summer on the Capital Crescent Trail). If anything, my concerns were more about safety on the road itself, sharing space with cars, trucks, and buses.
I don’t want to say that these concerns are unfounded. After all, why put yourself in a risky situation that could potentially end your life?
But the concerns seem to be blown out proportion in some ways through misinformation and miseducation.
Yes, bicycling can be dangerous but so can walking down the street, driving your car, or even cooking up some delicious post-cycling noms. But I realized, once I was actually on the bike pedaling around on the streets and the designated trail, it wasn’t scary at all! Of course, I still have to tackle the tiny detail of actually biking on the street, but when you live surrounded by major thoroughfares, the scary is compounded by how many times you almost got run over just trying to walk on a crosswalk.
Anyway. Kudos for WABA, and other organizations and independent cyclist advocating for more women on bikes!