Social attitudes toward cycling often influence the decision to cycle in many cities, and public support and acceptance of cycling as a mode of transport is important for cultivating a diversity of cyclists.+ Read More
Whereas women tend to represent a minority of cyclists in most cities due to a lack of social acceptance for women cycling, women are actually the majority of cyclists (55%) in Denmark, where protected infrastructure, car-free streets and slow speed zones have normalized cycling across socioeconomic groups, ages, and genders. On the contrary, using a bicycle has long been considered a sign of poverty in many Global South cities, where many view cycling as a last resort while saving money to buy a car.
Personal comfort and freedom from harassment or assault while cycling helps to cultivate long-term use. Efforts to reduce harassment and targeting of vulnerable populations, such as the poor and minority groups, while cycling are important to consider. Female commuters in London report being verbally and physically harassed while cycling, Saudi women are restricted to recreational cycling in parks supervised by men, and women in Iran are completely banned from cycling in public.
Social support for cycling also leads to more people knowing or learning how to ride a bicycle. In cities where cycling is not a prominent part of the culture or where bicycles are not commonly ridden, many people do not learn how to ride one. It is important to understand how long-standing gender norms might specifically prevent women and girls from learning how to ride a bicycle. Si