Lambeth’s Big Shift Support for Women Cycling

7 March 2024

Written by: Lambeth Council (P Knight)

Environment - Transport

Lambeth’s women Community Influencers discuss the difficulties they face while cycling for International Women’s Day 2024. Less than a third of cycle trips made in London are made by Women. What extra barriers do women face and how can we overcome them?

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Lambeth’s Big Shift Support for Women Cycling

A recent study found that most women have experienced harassment and intimidation whilst cycling in London, especially on the roads. The study also showed that one in three women stop cycling when it gets dark due to both personal and physical safety concerns. Over half the women surveyed stated that, when choosing their cycle route, they had to choose between dark and isolated paths or busy roads with no safe space for cyclists. Lack of safe options for women cyclists is a key issue London-wide.

When asked about how they felt about cycling on roads, the influencers spoke about how they felt ‘panicked’ when cars come towards them and that large roads were ‘dangerous and stressful,’ a common theme amongst responses was that they lacked confidence. Indeed, 76% of women respondents said they did not feel confident cycling on the roads in comparison to 50% of men.

When asked about cycling in the dark there was a similar response. The influencers spoke about being nervous of aggressive driving and speeding during the dark hours. Confidence was once again a key issue, with 64% of women respondents not feeling confident cycling in the dark compared with 37% of men.

Another barrier cited several times by the women Influencers was care responsibilities. One influencer said she ‘struggled to find time’ while working her schedule around looking after her toddler. Another said it isn’t practical cycling with her son while his cycle skills are still developing.

So, what can be done to help? Lambeth’s Big Shift has been designed to help people adopt active travel into their lifestyle as Lambeth builds more green infrastructure around the borough.

When the women Influencers were speaking about their lack of confidence cycling on roads and in the dark, the majority followed up their statement saying that they believed they would get better with more practice.

If you live, work or study in Lambeth, you are entitled to free, 1:1 cycle lessons with Cycle Confident. Lessons are available to adults and children so you can make cycling part of your family’s lifestyle instead of fitting cycling around your current lifestyle.

If your little ones aren’t confident cyclists yet, you can do the school run in an OurBike. OurBikes are e-cargo bikes for hire that can fit two children or 130kg of cargo.

New resident sign-ups for the app get 60 minutes free and new business sign ups get 180 minutes, after that it’s only 75p per minute, making it one of the cheapest bike hiring schemes in London. Peddle My Wheels also offer training sessions to anyone who is not confident riding a cargo bike.

Don’t have a bike yet? Try Before You Bike allows you to try out a bike before committing to buying it. You can also visit one of our Bike Markets to buy an affordable upcycled bike. We also host frequent Dr Bike sessions where experienced mechanics can help you with any issues you may have with your bike.

Both the influencers and the data from the wider London survey agree that improving cycle infrastructure and creating safe, segregated, and well-lit cycle routes is the most important when it comes to making women feel safe when cycling. Lambeth Council is committed to creating safe and pleasant routes to enable active travel.

With more improvements coming to cycle infrastructure throughout Lambeth as works are set to begin on the A23 later this spring, there couldn’t be a better time to give cycling a go.

Read the full details of support available here Big Shift programme | Lambeth Council.