What are the barriers to more women cycling in London? The new London Cycling Campaign report ‘What Stops Women Cycling in London?’ reveals shocking levels of abuse faced by women cycling in the capital.

LCC’s Women’s Network has today published the results of a survey of over 1,000 women who cycle in London about their experiences, with both a report and hard-hitting video aimed at illustrating the gendered abuse women in London face while out cycling. The report was launched on 16th January at an LCC panel discussion, including Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and Ruth Cadbury MP, former Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking.

Below are a few of the key results from the What Stops Women Cycling in London? report.

  • 93% of women surveyed said drivers had used motor vehicles to intimidate them. 77% said they experienced this at least once a month.
  • 9 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 1/5th of women said they’d given up cycling, temporarily or permanently, as a result of these experiences.
  • 9 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.

Women’s experiences cycling in London

The survey, report and accompanying video highlight the gendered abuse and aggression far too many women experience in London while cycling. This includes:

  • Nevin: “We were both stopped at traffic lights. He shouted ‘You can fuck off and suck your mother’. It was the way he said it.”
  • Dani: “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!”
  • Sara: “I was cycling on the road where I live. There are cars parked on each side so I have to cycle in primary position. A driver drove towards me at speed, then as he passed he wound down his window and shouted ‘bitch’ in my face.”

Make London safe for women to cycle

London Cycling Campaign 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. Currently only a third of cycle trips are by women. The LCC’s Women’s Network, a coalition which includes women from cycling groups JoyRiders and Londra Bisiklet Kulübü, is currently running a petition to the Mayor of London calling for urgent action on these issues. The petition asks the Mayor 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.

LCC’s Women’s Network will hand the currently running petition to a representative from the Mayor of London at our central London, LCC Women’s Freedom Ride on Sunday 3 March.

For the petition and campaign information, including the full report click here: lcc.org.uk/freedom