Kate Jelly 26/03/21
The UK’s cycling infrastructure is hostile to women – and smart new measures in Paris and Lisbon show that change is overdue
Women cyclists in the UK are twice as likely as men to have faced harassment by drivers, research shows. It was enraging and exhausting to read comments on social media in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder from men suggesting she had made a “poor decision” to walk home alone in the dark. Every day, women and gender non-conforming people reflexively make calculations about their safety in a way that most men do not have to – and yet sometimes, tragically, it still is not enough.
We have normalised a society in which men can move around as they please while the rest of us fear for our lives for the simple act of travelling home.
Entrenched gender norms and expectations are a large part of the picture, but they are compounded by the physical design of our public spaces, which is often based around the needs of men – white, cisgender, heterosexual men, in particular. The UK’s cycling infrastructure is especially hostile to women – and it is time we looked at it again.
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