Monday, January 4, 2010

an informal count

who says that women ride less than men? ok, a lot of people do, but this is what i gathered as i was scoping out items for scenes from the bikey lane from this morning's commute. the following numbers were counted at stops at certain intersections along my route. meaning there was enough time for us to stop and for me to count before moving along with traffic. this occurred just before 9am this first monday morning of 2010.

1. page & octavia: 3 women; 1 man

2. van ness & market: 3 women; 1 man

3. 7th & market: 4 women; 2 men

4. 5th & market: 4 women; 3 men

5. 4th & market: 3 women; 3 men.

this sort of interested me as i started really counting the numbers. i think i may keep this up and see how my very informal take on gathering data & numbers goes.

do you see a significant amount of either gender on your workday commutes? are you noticing any changes?


  1. Overwhelmingly men in the South Bay, but I haven't actually counted, just my totally informal observation.

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  3. Good idea, Calitexican. Go women cyclists!

    Santa Barbara has been bike-friendly and had bike-culture for a while, but cycling has increased over the years too.

    Hey, it would be cool if other bike bloggers do this too: monitor cyclists at their favorite bike lane or intersection. Update once a month or week. Maybe use some cool info-graphic? Going to think about it more.

    Eyes on the Bike Lane
    Critical Count

  4. thanks christa. i'm definitely in to keep counting. i'm still thinking of whether random observations or same time, same day is best. both ands? i think random may be good for various reasons including just to see where else people tend to ride, not just commuting.

    love to hear what you think.

  5. You know, I've seen several female commuters out and about. Probably more men than women, but the fairer sex is well represented.

    If you take out what I think of as "subsistence cyclists" (i.e., people riding X-Mart bicycles on the sidewalk because no other form of transport is available to them) and just count cyclists of choice, I think it may be 50-50.

  6. calitexican,

    Hmm.. well it could get pretty boring to monitor the same place on the same day of the week/month. So yes, maybe mixing it up is best.

    Or maybe use seasonal variations somehow.

    I always see more families cycling on weekends.

    Wish they had public bike counters in the US (like in Denmark).

  7. I always look to see who is riding. It depends on the day but it averages out to 50/50 for me here in SF.

    In suburban LA, I hardly ever see women on bicycles. I completely blew one guy's mind because I rode the mixte in heels (not even terribly high ones at that : )

    Interestingly, I almost never see women riding on the sidewalk. It is almost always a guy. Wonder what that's about?

  8. In winter it's more men that cycle here, in summer more women. But that's only in the city. On the countryside there is not so much of a change, I think.

  9. Here in London, UK, cycle commuting was always traditionally the domain of men, but it's changing all the time and where I live, in East London, I'd say it's getting to be a 50/50 split which is excellent.

    There has been lots of theories put forward about why women don't cycle as much as men recently, and sadly here in London of the 12 cyclists who died on our roads in 2009, 8 were women. Theories behind why this might be have included the idea that women are less likely to red light jump and thus get into more junction collissions.

    Of course, all this is conjecture, far be it for me to say what women want, but a few more positive role models like the girls who right this blog would help greatly I am sure!

    i b i k e l o n d o n

  10. @doohickie: i don't see why we shouldn't count "subsistence cyclists" as "cyclists of choice." does that make their ride any less valid than others because they, only presumably, have no other choice? i would have to respectfully disagree with this choice in counting and brings up another topic that i have been wanting to post about anyway: bike education to those who may not be familiar with the rules of the road due to cultural/class/language/gender/[insert adjective] differences.

    @christa: i guess this means we have to be the change we want to see. i will volunteer to be a public bike counter! :)

    @anna: no change in the countryside, eh? exercise v. commute differences i suppose. gotta exercise! don't gotta commmute?

    @mark: that is an unfortunate and sad statistic. regarding your other statement about theories, i normally like to think critically about things that have just been accepted or "studied" and deemed as true. based on my own observation in the admitted bubble that is san francisco, i noticed what my reality was (much like adrienne's observations) and what news outlets and studies were telling me did not match. that's why i decided to finally count yesterday.

    and finally thanks to all of you for your comments! we enjoy each and every one of them.

  11. I counted this morning -- cyclists boarding the train at Mountain View. 6 men, 2 women.

    Cyclists should be counted regardless of other transportation choices they might or might not have. Like Calitexican suggests, I've lobbied in the past for advocacy groups to reach out to immigrant populations for their support.

  12. Interesting.

    There are definitely fewer women in the winter, although today I was pleased at a stoplight to see that four women (myself included) were there waiting. I was tempted to say something like silly like 'sup girlfriends! but people often ignore my simple "good mornings" so I didn't want to push my luck :)

  13. Dottie, I say hello to people too and quite often get looked at oddly. Doesn't stop me though. When I'm cycling through heavy noisy traffic I like to sing at the top of my voice - a rare treat in a neighbour-conscious high density city like mine. And it's good fun. Still get funny looks though... :o)

  14. Near Bordeaux, France:
    On the way to work:
    2 women (both in heels), 1 men

    At work:
    Two bicycles, both belonging to women

    On the way home:
    2 men (one on the sidewalk)

    The numbers will look better when it gets warmer--or any day when the temperatures haven't just fallen several degrees in the past day or so!