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An Examination of Women’s Representation and Participation in Bicycle Advisory Committees in California


fyiIn the United States, women bicycle at significantly lower rates than men. One method of remedying this disparity is to ensure that women are engaged in bicycle planning and policy making through, for example, participation in bicycle advisory committees (BACs). No research has been conducted on women’s representation and participation in these committees.

This study attempts to fill that gap by examining women’s membership levels in and experiences serving on California bicycle advisory committees and bicycle/pedestrian advisory committees.

In addition, we explore some of the barriers to participation faced by female cyclists. A survey of 42 committees revealed that women make up approximately 24% of members on an average bicycle (and pedestrian) advisory committee in California.

Through focus group interviews with 24 women currently serving on BACs, several common themes emerged. Women on these committees are more likely than men to bring up women’s and children’s issues, and some aspects of the committees themselves may seve as barriers for women to become more involved. An online survey of 565 women cyclists in California provided insight regarding some of the common barriers women identify as reasons for not becoming involved with a BAC. Lack of awareness of the committees did not seem to be a barrier: 67% of respondents were aware of their local committee. Instead, barriers indentified by participants included: time; perceived lack of qualifications; lack of information about the committee; family and household responsibilities; and lack of interest. Recommendations to increase women’s representation on BACs include the following strategies: education about the committee; targeted recruitment efforts; and policy and procedural changes.

Download the paper

National Women Cycling Forum

wheels-of-changeThis forum was billed as an iInaugural event to elevate conversation about women in cycling.

Read and hear coverage of the event from:

Women still cycle at much lower rates than men in the United States — making up just 24 percent of bike trips in 2009. But that trend is shifting. This Forum will be the first national gathering specifically dedicated to raising awareness about and discussing how to engage more women in bicycling. read more…

Photo / Video Contest Winners

Got photos? Your photos could help to convince a policy maker, planner, engineer, school superintendent, or police officer to make their community more bicycle-friendly. People who make presentations, create brochures, design posters, etc. need to have fresh, captivating images to turn heads and change hearts and minds. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) seeks photos and videos for this purpose, especially if the images are of women and girls using a bicycle for transportation. To learn more about how to contribute your photos and videos, visit www.pedbikeimages.org and www.walkinginfo.org/videos. To see what’s there now, enter “women” in the search field. We’d love to have hundreds of photos and videos to choose from!

Thanks for your help.

Photo | Video Credits

  • 1st prize: Beauty and the Bike (short) by the Darlington Media Group found in the PBIC Video Library at http://www.walkinginfo.org/videos/pubdetail.cfm?picid=39
  • 2nd prize: 3 images of women in Portland, OR with or on bicycles: www.pedbikeimages.org / photographer Elly Blue
  • 3rd prize: 2 images, little girl on bike near school and woman working on bike in bike clinic in Chicago: www.pedbikeimages.org / photographer Suzanne Nathan
  • 4th prize: image of woman riding bike in Bremen, Germany: www.pedbikeimages.org / photographer Shawn Turner

read more…