9,000 women in the United Kingdom have signed and delivered a petition to Transport Minister Sadiq Khan. Their request? Better safety conditions for cyclists on British roads.
The Motion for Women was launched last year in September, and the 9,000-strong signed petition was finally delivered this week to the House of Commons by cyclists Terry Cassels and Rachael Wood. Copies were also sent to the National Assemblies of Scotland and Wales.
The petition was born out of the results of a survey by Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity. The results showed that around 79% of the women in the United Kingdom never ride on bicycles. The number one reason for this, according to the survey, was that the women respondents “did not feel safe“.
Rachael Wood emphasized the necessity of removing this “fear factor” out of the equation, saying that this is critical to be able to encourage more people to start riding their bikes. Several large organizations in the UK seem to agree with the women and are showing support for the petition, including the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, the Townswomen’s Guilds, the Mind charity, and others.
Wendy Johnson of Sustrans explained that women tended to ride too close to the pavement, mainly because they didn’t feel safe enough to get on the roads. This tendency also results in another problem, since motorists may then ignore the cyclists as part of the normal traffic, thus failing to give enough space as they would for other vehicles.
The survey results show that the number one request was for separate bicycle lanes to be established or built on the UK roads. There were also a large number of respondents who indicated that they wanted more training to be widely available, so that they may know better how to handle common problems such as cycling in traffic and proper positioning at traffic lights, among others.