HACKNEY WOMEN cyclists park the bike once they approach their forties as they increasingly worry about traffic. Men, however, ride on into later life.
The gender divide has emerged in feedback from Hackney council’s free cycle application for smartphones and tablets.
Most women users of the app are between 25 and 44 years old. The council says they prefer “quieter routes”.
The admission is significant because it goes against the council’s view that cyclists should take their place on the roads with motor traffic rather than be provided with segregated lanes.
Accordingly, criticism has been made on social media that Hackney’s cycling boom does not cater for women who are supposedly less risk-averse or more foolish (choose your view) than men.
Not surprisingly, the app survey finds that male riders in the borough tend not only to use main roads but to cycle into near-retirement: 30 per cent of the 600-plus cycling app users were male and aged 45 to 64.
Women prefer to use their bikes for commuting; men for social journeys as well.
Users of the app can note how far they have cycled, calories burned and how much carbon dioxide they have theoretically saved. Men’s journeys are longer: 8.6km to women’s 7km.
Local cyclist Ethan Ohs told the council: “Rather than having to put a cycle computer on my bike I can track my basic miles with little effort.
“I like the report feature on the app: it’s nice to be able to notify the council of problems on a cycle route by just pointing my phone and taking a picture.”
Neighbourhoods councillor Feryal Demirci said the app was being used to collect data to make cycling in Hackney easy and simple.
Asked about dedicated lanes, she said the council was “very open to looking at” cycle segregation or semi-segregation through carriageway reallocation.
She told Loving Dalston: “We are developing designs for improvements for cyclists along the Hackney Road and Old Street corridor that will include significant interventions and changes to the road network, including partial segregation where deemed possible.”
Funding was also a key factor in deciding a scheme’s type and location. Hackney’s annual transport allocation from Transport for London (TfL) was about £2 million.
To give an idea of how far that would go, the councillor said that a 2km segregated cycle lane in Newham cost almost £5 million.
She added: “If we are to divert all our transport funds to these types of interventions without additional funding, all the other sustainable transport schemes we provide, such as cycle parking, walking schemes, accessible bus stops, electric vehicle charging points and many others on 92% of the borough roads that the council is responsible for, will have to be stopped.”
As for the proposed cycle superhighway on the A10, she said that after much discussion with TfL, Hackney thought that the lack of success with existing cycle superhighways, along with the funding constraints TfL was facing, meant that “the best option would be to support an enhanced quietway route” – so long as TfL made big improvements on the A10 corridor to tackle the high number of casualties on it.
Hamish Scott 201014
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.