Comment 65764

By just me (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2011 at 16:15:40

letters Thurs

Yes, this is copyright bad, but here for interest only--

July 6, 2011
Getting More Women to Bike in New York City

To the Editor:

“Women, Uneasy, Still Lag as Cyclists” (news article, July 4) misses the full story of gender imbalance on two wheels. The gap between male and female bike riders is a concern for cities across the nation, but in New York this gap has narrowed every year since 2003, and female bike ridership is actually increasing at a faster rate than male ridership.

The article relied exclusively on limited data that do not account for 82 percent of bike trips made in New York City — counting only those who bike to work every single day while ignoring all other bike trips, including those made for school, recreation, to visit friends or run errands, and occasional commuting.

The risk of serious injury or death to commuter cyclists in New York City has dropped by 75 percent in the last decade. The fact that cycling has become safer over the last 10 years is indisputable, but we need to make more progress. Innovations like protected bike lanes are bringing even better safety results for everyone who bikes, walks or drives on our streets.

Commissioner, New York City
Department of Transportation
New York, July 5, 2011

To the Editor:

Your article highlighted several legitimate concerns that female cyclists have in New York, including safety and the impropriety of showing up at work or social events sweaty from a vigorous workout.

At least today women can determine their own parameters for appropriate bicycle conduct.

During the bicycle boom of the 1890s, gallons of printer’s ink were used to debate what female cyclists should wear, and many periodicals castigated those they thought were too bold. One example:

On Oct. 14, 1893, the weekly Sporting Life expressed dismay that a female cyclist had committed “an outrage upon decency and good morals.” Her sin? After riding in City Hall Park, the woman walked her bike through city streets while still in “male attire” (knickerbockers). As she passed the offices of The New York Sun, a gathering of newsboys let loose with a flurry of rude comments. Sporting Life opined that while female cyclists should enjoy their sport in comfortable clothing, they should not wear their bicycle outfits while walking.

It concluded, “We regret to see that cycling has at least one woman who so far forgets her own self-respect as to make a public exhibition of herself for the jeers of street gamins and the jibes of corner loafers.”

Englewood, N.J., July 4, 2011

The writer is the author of “Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way).”

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