Supportive cycling environments for women

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Russell-Edmonds, Jessica
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Cycling is recognized as an important mode of transportation. It is affordable, produces no greenhouse gases, provides a form of exercise, and requires infrastructure that is cheaper to build and maintain compared to personal vehicles. However, in low-cycling countries like Canada, women comprise a disproportionate share of total cyclists, between 20-30%, which has implications for equity, and the health of the population and environment. The academic literature offers few, and only theoretical, solutions to improve the gender disparity, all of which are theoretical. This practicum fills a portion of this gap by identifying real world interventions that assist women to cycle and asking how these could be implemented in Winnipeg. A precedent review returned ten interventions including women-specific cycling courses, events, rides, and mentorship programs. Key informant interviews with Winnipeg cycling advocates provided a better understanding of Winnipeg’s cycling environment, and how the interventions could be implemented in the city. Some were considered feasible to implement while other interventions were too context specific. Two barriers hindering efforts to adopt interventions supportive of women who cycle or wish to, are the continued emphasis on physical bicycle infrastructure and the belief that programming targeted to the general population is sufficient. The findings provide several opportunities for further research including: completing the precedent review in additional languages and conducting a focus group with municipal transportation planners and bicycle advocates to better understanding the barriers identified in this practicum and determine the next steps for reducing the gender disparity in Winnipeg.
Gender, Women, Cycling, Mobility, Precedents, Winnipeg