Men cycle more than women in the ACT: for every woman cycling, there are two men. In English speaking countries this is the norm, however, in Europe women and men are just as likely to ride. It could happen here, too.
Comparing cycling in England and the Netherlands
Travel to the Netherlands and you will notice that everybody rides there – in some towns as much as 75%. The Netherlands has a mature cycling culture, and they have been working on cycling since the oil crisis in the early ’70s. A short distance away in the UK very few people cycle. London is only 357km away from Amsterdam, making the difference more remarkable.
The PCT team in the UK compared took their current circumstances (UK 2011 Census) as a baseline, and consider what is possible and normal in the Netherlands – “Go Dutch”.
What they found
“People in the Netherlands make 26.7% of trips by bicycle, fifteen times higher than the figure of 1.7% in England. In addition, cycling in England is skewed towards younger, male cyclists. By contrast in the Netherlands cycling remains common into older age, and women are in fact slightly more likely to cycle than men”Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) – Additional FAQs, accessed 2/5/2020
The difference is best shown in graphs. Men are much more likely to cycle than women in England. In the Netherlands, there is no real difference. Women are 20 to 80 times more likely to cycle in the Netherlands than in England.
Graph 1A and 1B: The proportion of trips cycled in England and Netherlands, stratified by age and sex.
Graph 3: The ratio of cycle mode share in the Netherlands versus England, stratified by age and sex
Potential for cycling
The cultures in the UK and Netherlands are generally not that dissimilar due to their close ties. Their cycling cultures, however, are quite different. The UK believes that it is possible to increase cycling participation significantly and sets the Netherlands as the standard of what is achievable.
In the ACT there is also a huge potential for improvement. Much can be learnt from the research done for the Propensity to Cycle Tool.