Women on bikes are subjected to twice as many incidences of harassment and bad driving per mile than men, a recent study reveals.
The Near Miss Project looked at the experiences of over 1,600 cyclists and found women reported 0.42 “near miss” or harassment incidents per mile, compared to men’s 0.24.
Riders reported experiencing “very scary” incidents on a weekly basis and most of the reports related to close overtakes, drivers turning across their path, or verbal abuse.
The study contradicts previous research by Ian Walker which suggested that female cyclists are offered more passing room by drivers.
The evidence also throws into question popular comments around drivers reacting to ‘macho men in lycra acting like they’re in the Tour de France’.
Researches concluded that more research was needed into why women were experiencing more incidents. However, the initial explanation was that drivers became impatient with the slower, on average, riding speeds of women.
The women’s rides averaged at around 8mph, whilst men’s journeys averaged at 11mph.
Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Transport Lecturer at Westminster University, concluded in the report: “[A] sobering result is the relatively high incident rate reported by women, which regression analysis suggested was a result of their lower speeds and shorter trips.”
She added that since previous research has shown near misses can be a deterrent from cycling, the findings could even explain the lower numbers of women getting around by bike.
Dr Aldred added: “Policy currently seeks to diversify cycling… and in this context it is concerning that women seem to experience a higher rate of near miss incidents than do men. More attention should therefore be paid to the experiences of slower and possibly less risk-tolerant cyclists.”
Do you think you experience more incidences of dangerous driving and harassment on the roads as your male friends?