The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has released a women’s cycling survey. The survey comes from PBOT’s Active Transportation Division and it aims to learn more about women’s current bike use and interest in cycling in general.
PBOT’s Women on Bikes program has been leading rides and creating resources for women since 2005. Currently, just 31 percent of Portland’s bike riders are women. According to the most recent City data, that number has not changed since 2003. Women are often singled out for promotion of cycling because it’s believed that they are an “indicator species” of a bike-friendly city.
A 2009 article in Scientific American put it this way:
Women are considered an “indicator species” for bike-friendly cities for several reasons. First, studies across disciplines as disparate as criminology and child rearing have shown that women are more averse to risk than men. In the cycling arena, that risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bike infrastructure as a prerequisite for riding. Women also do most of the child care and household shopping, which means these bike routes need to be organized around practical urban destinations to make a difference.
Janis McDonald started the City’s Women on Bikes program back in 2005 and still leads the effort today. “Women on Wheels and Women on Bikes are local women’s cycling groups,” McDonald wrote in an email promoting the survey, “We want to support women of all riding abilities with rides, resources, and social networking. To give you what you truly want and need, we need to hear what you think.”
The survey asks questions on a variety of topics including: riding behavior, reasons for riding, whether or not women would be interested in becoming a member of a Women on Wheels club; and so on. The survey is open until June 20th. Fill it out online and share it with your friends.