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'Nine out of ten female cyclists intimidated by drivers'

Deniz Huseyin
25 January 2024
Nearly half of women in the LCC survey said that good cycle infrastructure would help them switch to cycling from other forms of transport for local journeys
Nearly half of women in the LCC survey said that good cycle infrastructure would help them switch to cycling from other forms of transport for local journeys

More than 90% of women cycling in the capital have been intimidated by drivers, with 77% reporting this happened once a month, according to a new report by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC).

The findings are based on a survey that received more than 1,000 responses. Nine out of ten respondents had experienced abuse from other road users while cycling – 63% said it was at least once a month. The abuse was often verbal but included sexual harassment, physical threats, and physical and sexual assaults, such as groping or slapping women on their bikes while stopped at traffic lights, said the LCC.

Police responses to these incidents were mostly inadequate, according to respondents. Of the 25 described incidents that mentioned the police, only one resulted in significant follow-up action, the survey revealed.

Women also reported a lack of good cycle infrastructure, including protected cycle lanes and low traffic routes, as a major barrier to cycling – 45% of women said that good cycle infrastructure would help them switch to cycling from other forms of transport for local journeys.

Nine out of ten women said they would start to cycle, or cycle more, if they had better infrastructure (such as protected cycle lanes) for their journeys.

One in three women stop cycling after dark or in winter due to a lack of safe routes. According to the survey, 86% said that half or more of their journeys are less than three miles from their home, but 29% do not cycle these shorter journeys because there isn’t a safe route. Only 15% said their London borough provided a local cycle network that meets their needs.

LCC has called on Transport for London (TfL) and boroughs to design cycle schemes that work for women, including those who cycle with children, by ensuring all schemes are inspected by a design review panel that includes experts on women’s cycling design.

The Metropolitan Police should swiftly follow up and act on reports of gendered abuse or violence while cycling and record and report on crimes against women cycling, identifying crime ‘hotspots’ and targeting criminal behaviour in these areas.

Meanwhile, the Mayor should run a targeted public information campaign to raise awareness of aggression and abuse towards women cycling in London while TfL should include ‘social safety’ as a key priority in its Cycle Route Quality Criteria. This would ensure London’s signed cycleways are socially safe, well-lit cycle routes available to all, year and day round, says the report.

It calls on the boroughs to identify and prioritise neighbourhoods within 3km of their town centres to deliver high-quality cycle routes, low traffic neighbourhoods and high levels of secure and convenient cycle parking, said the LCC.

“Local implementation plans (LIP) and other funds, as well as TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis, Strategic Neighbourhood Analysis and other data should be used.”

What Stops Women Cycling in London

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