Hundreds of people rode through the streets of London last weekend, protesting for safer cycling conditions for women. The event was organized by the London Cycling Campaign's (LCC) Women’s Network, along with Joyriders, a women’s cycling organization, and the Londra Bisiklet Klubu, a cycling group run by London’s Turkish/Kurdish community.
According to the BBC, Eilidh Murray of the LCC Women’s Network steering group said, “As women from a range of backgrounds, we know being able to travel cheaply and independently by bike can bring us confidence, health, and freedom. But we’re being put off cycling by a lack of safe routes, dangerous driving, harassment and more. We need the mayor to make using a bike a safe, everyday choice.”
The LCC says that women don’t even make up a third of bike trips in London, despite being 51% of the population.
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Numerous studies have proven that ridership among women increases significantly when safe infrastructure exists. Two European researchers found that, “Women’s participation in cycling mainly increases for routes that are covered by at least 50 percent protected bike lanes, and that the biggest uptake comes from routes for which more than 80 percent can be ridden on a protected cycling lane,” Streetsblog reports.
Hundreds of cyclists rode through the streets of London during the protest ride, hoping that it was hard to ignore so many people on all kinds of bikes. There were costumes, signs, and pets. Riders shared reels and photos of the ride using the hashtag #WomensFreedomRide on Twitter.
In response to the protest ride, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said he wanted “ƒ'women to feel safe wherever they are in London, and that includes on our roads.” He highlighted work that’s already been done to make roads safer, and vowed to continue to work toward even more infrastructure in the future.