WABA (Washington Area Bicycle Association) is putting together an education and outreach program to get more women on bikes! While the program is still in the infancy it seems they have obtainable goals and mission to begin with. I’m excited to follow along with what WABA is doing and how these efforts can be duplicated elsewhere.
Why is getting more women on bikes a critical cause?
- In 2012, women represented just 22.7 percent of cyclists on the road in D.C. According to DDOT, that’s a slight drop since 2011.
- In Women on Wheels, April Streeter writes, “New bike commuters are overwhelmingly male. Data reviewed by researchers John Pucher and Ralph Buehler show that almost all of the recent growth in cycling in the united states recently can be attributed to men between 25 and 64 years old. Pucher and Buehler found that cycling rates are just holding steady for women, and have fallen sharply for children.”
- Our women’s bicycling forum identified three top barriers for getting women on bikes: safety (fear, safety concerns, inexperience/confidence, harassment), logistics (facilities, time commitment, weather, gear, money), and perception (misconceptions, double standards, and professionalism).
- We aren’t the only group at work! Through Women Bike, the League of American Bicyclists is working at a National level to encourage women to facilitate solutions on the local level.
How is WABA going to fix these problems through the Women & Bicycles program?
- Ten “Roll Models” will be selected to mentor women in their friend, family, church, and work groups
- Roll Models and mentees will be invited to a series of bike meetups, group rides, and workshops that will mix practical advice and conversation about how to incorporate cycling into one’s lifestyle with socializing and low-key hanging out.
- Non-participants will be kept abreast of the program, so they’ll learn more about the issues facing women on bikes and be inclined to encourage their friends and family to bike, regardless of gender.
We don’t want to sit around and talk about what’s discouraging women from biking, so we’ve created a program centered on peer-to-peer encouragement, information, and experience through events.
Want to learn more? Visit WABA.org