06/13/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/12/2019 21:39
Geelong has one of the lowest rates of female cyclists in Australia
GEELONG has one of the lowest rates of female bicycle riders in the country despite the city being a powerhouse in Australian cycling.
Female riders represented 18 per cent of cyclists across the City of Greater Geelong in 2018.
This is lower than the average female ridership across Victoria (24 per cent) and Australia (24 per cent).
A high proportion of female riders is a strong indication of the health of a city's cycling environment with the higher the proportion, the better the cycling infrastructure.
In the top international cycling cities, women tend to comprise around half of rider numbers.
Bicycle Network spokeswoman Anthea Hargreaves said Geelong has great potential to increase the number of women riding bikes.
'As the council continues to build better, attractive, separated and more connected places for people of all ages and abilities to ride - this will change,' she said.
'With the right investment and support, in a few years, bike riding will become more common, attracting more women to ride to work, to education, the railway stations and for other activities.
'After all, Geelong was one of the first places in Victoria to have a bike plan, and we hope to see that vision reignited so that in the years to come Geelong will again be recognised as a leader in active transport.'
Wendy Snowball, from She Rides, said local councils need to recognise that women need to feel safe in order to want to ride in and around their local areas.
The four main challenges for women participating in cycling were lack of confidence, feeling unsafe on the roads, work commitments, and lack of time.
'Women like to ride with women,' she said.
'Women's cycling can grow as they support each other through networks.
'Geelong already has great cycling infrastructure and with close proximity to Geelong central and the small size and flat nature of the land, it is very obtainable to use cycling as a way of commuting and social riding for everyone.
'The awareness and promotion of where women can go, how they can get around and accessibility of facilities around Geelong are integral to making women feel more confident to get on a bike and ride.'
The top cycling routes in Geelong were the Barwon River trail, Foreshore trail, The Esplanade, and McClelland Ave/Station Lake Road.
The busiest site was in Lara at the intersection of Mill Rd/McClelland Ave/Station Lake Rd and Walkers Rd with an average of 80 movements per hour.
The City of Geelong did not participate in the 2019 Super Tuesday Commuter Bike Count on March 6.Lou O'Neill cycles twice a week to work at the NDIA's city office. Picture: Peter Ristevski
ME AND THE BOYS IN THE BIKE LINE
LOU O'Neill says the City of Greater Geelong has made great strides in its cycling strategy - but there is still more to be done.
The 51-year-old, who works as a branch manager at the National Disability Insurance Agency, cycles twice a week between Drysdale or St Leonards and the NDIA's Malop St office.
She admits it can be intimidating at times to ride on the road.
'I've been cycling since I was a kid,' she said.
'The paths are really good and they are upgrading them all the time.
'The roads have some good cycle lanes but they end abruptly at major intersections so you're trying to merge across into traffic so it can be a bit dangerous.
'They should keep the lane going - it doesn't make any sense.'
Ms O'Neill admits fellow female cyclists are few and far between.
'It's nearly all men, I think I've seen one woman,' she said.
'The traffic can be intimidating and the inner part of town is not very friendly.
'If you're on a bike path it's fine, but if you're not used to riding on roads, I think it's probably pretty intimidating.
'Motorists are usually pretty good if you indicate, but it's tricky because people are busy and there's a lot going on.
'You're not always sure people have seen you.'
Geelong Advertiser - Andrew Jefferson