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New Data on Women & Girls Riding

Now that the holidays have passed, ’tis the season of 2014 predictions and, earlier this month, the Gluskin Townley Group, a research outfit that delves into bicycling retail data, released it’s top seven projected trends for the year.

For me, two stood out: the rise of women and decline of youth in bicycling participation.

As GTG reports:

  1. “Women become the New Majority in more aspects of the American bicycle market in 2014. Women currently represent 51 percent of the U.S. population and were 53 percent of the voters in the 2012 Presidential election. They also hold the purse strings and influence or make 80-85 percent of household purchases. The American Bicyclist Study reports that women make up 55 percent of Generation X bicycling consumers.”
  2. “Children and Juveniles will continue dropping out of bicycling in 2014. During the twelve month period from 2011 to 2012, 3 million Americans 17 years of age and younger dropped out of bicycle riding participation. If the current trend continues there will only be an estimated 6 to 7 million Americans 17 years of age or younger participating in bicycling 6 or more days per year in 20 years.”

New data from the federal government backs up both predictions.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on physical activity among youth, showing that less than one quarter of kids aged 12 to 15 get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The good news: Bike riding was in the top five activities for both boys and girls. The bad news: For boys, only 24 percent had biked in the past week and for girls that number dropped to just 18 percent. Girls were also more likely to get no physical activity at all, with 1 in 5 reporting they did not exercise at all and 15 percent reporting they were active only 1 or 2 days per week.

As for adults, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quietly released a new report late last year with a wealth of data on “Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior.” A follow-up to the much-cited national survey in 2002, the NHTSA polled more than 7,500 Americans to assess their participation and perceptions of biking and walking. As you might expect, there were some interesting and promising take-aways and trends among women, including…

  1. Perhaps most interesting and in line with GTG’s projections: 32% of women (vs 25% of men) said they were riding more often in 2012 than 2011.
  2. 45 percent of women bike at least once a week during the summer months with another 29% riding at least once a month.
  3. In the past 30 days, women were less likely than men to ride 20+ times (just 13% vs 18%) but a full 71% had ridden 1-7 days in the past month.
  4. Somewhat counter to conventional assumptions, only 13% of women (virtually the same as men at 12%) “felt threatened for personal safety while bicycling” the last time they rode.
  5. Even fewer — just 3% of women and 4% of men — reported having been injured while riding.
  6. However, fewer women felt “safe” riding in their neighborhood — just 56% vs 67% of men — and more considered it “dangerous” (11% vs 7%).
  7. So women could be important advocates for community change: Fewer female respondents said they were satisfied with how how their community was designed for biking (50% vs 56% of men) and more were dissatisfied (30% vs 24%).

Want to learn more about bicycling trends? Join us at the National Bike Summit, where the Gluskin Townley Group will release it’s latest research on the Urban Cyclist. And, of course, join us at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, as well.

Register today — early-bird discounts end January 22!

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