Women on a bike standing in the middle f the street

Female cyclists experience shocking levels of abuse in London

Nine out of ten women experienced abuse from road users while cycling, a new survey has found.

The London Cycling Campaign Women’s Network released their ‘What Stops Women Cycling in London?’ report, which revealed the levels of abuse faced by women cycling in the capital.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 women cyclists in London, found that 93% said they experienced intimidation from motor vehicle drivers while 77% said they experienced this at least once a month.

LCC Central London Coordinator Clare Rogers said: “The LCC Women’s Network team were sometimes in tears as we read through hundreds of survey responses describing women’s experiences of abuse and aggression while cycling in London.”

What Stops Women Cycling in London?

Though most respondents said they experienced verbal abuse, responses included sexual harassment, physical threats, and physical and sexual assaults, such as groping or slapping women on their bikes while stopped at traffic lights.

One respondent from the survey, Dani, said: “I experienced the most aggression when I was cycling with a trailer with my kids in.

“It was impatient drivers in residential areas getting frustrated that they couldn’t overtake me. 

“They would yell out of their windows and once someone stopped in front of me to tell me I was a bad mother for putting my kids in danger!”

The most common verbal abuse experienced by women respondents was a variant of  ‘Get off the road!’ while a fifth said they’d given up cycling, temporarily or permanently, as a result of these experiences.

Rogers added: “We urgently need the Mayor, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and London councils to work together to make cycling a safe, pleasant experience for everyone in London, whatever their gender, ability, age or background.”

Currently only a third of cycle trips are by women.

The group are campaigning for 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.

During an LCC panel discussion on January 16th, London Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime Sophie Linden spoke how the Mayor and TfL is planning on improving cycling in London for more women and girls including investing in a protected cycle network and secure well-designed cycle parking.

Linden said:  “It is simply unacceptable, and the Mayor and I are committed to preventing violence against women and girls and challenging the attitudes that enable these behaviours.”

The LCC’s Women’s Network is currently running a petition to the Mayor of London calling for urgent action.

Featured image credit: MarkA via Flickr

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