Nine in 10 women cycling in London face abuse


A new report has highlighted the extent and toxicity of abuse experienced by women cycling in London.

The report from the London Cycling Campaign's (LCC) Women's Network, What Stops Women Cycling in London, is based on a survey of over 1,000 women who cycle in London.

It was launched alongside a video aimed at illustrating the gendered abuse women in London face while out cycling.

Findings from the report:

  • 93% of women surveyed said drivers had used motor vehicles to intimidate them, with 77% saying they experienced this at least once a month.
  • Nine out of 10 said they 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.
  • Most common verbal abuse was a variant of 'Get off the road!'
  • Over a fifth of women said they'd given up cycling, temporarily or permanently, as a result of these experiences.
  • Nine out of 10 said they would start to cycle or cycle more if they had safer cycle routes, for instance with protected cycle tracks, for their journeys.
  • Over half of women said they are forced to choose between cycling on busy roads without any safe space or through isolated, quiet or dark places for their journeys.

The video contains swearing and detailed descriptions of abuse faced by women while cycling

Survey respondent Catriona said: ‘I've had drivers passing too closely on purpose to intimidate me more times than I can remember. I've been stopped at lights and had my backside slapped by a man as he walked past.

‘Women in London, including those of us just trying to get about on bikes, face gendered abuse, aggression and violence and we have to end this.’

LCC chair Eilidh Murray said: ‘While more and more people are cycling in London and safe cycle routes are rolling out in many boroughs, there's still too many parts of London where cycling isn't and doesn't feel safe enough – and women still face additional barriers to cycling and additional hostility when cycling.

'This needs urgent action to address the fact that only a third of cycle trips in London are done by women – whereas in Holland, over half are.’

The LCC said it wants London to become a place where women and girls feel safe to cycle, and for women to use cycling as transport in equal numbers to men across the city by 2030.

The LCC's Women's Network is running a petition to London mayor Sadiq Khan, which asks him to:

1. Act on physical safety – working with TfL and boroughs to deliver high-quality safe cycling infrastructure across London, to "give women the confidence to cycle, including with children, without fear of collision with motor vehicles"

2. Act on social safety – for the Mayor and Met Police, TfL and boroughs to measure incidents associated with, and act to improve, social safety for women cycling in London.

3. Provide local cycle networks – for TfL and boroughs to "think beyond the commute" and prioritise local cycle networks, such as low traffic neighbourhoods and safe routes to amenities and schools.

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