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Women Bike Wednesday: Insight from Capital Bikeshare

With Fourth of July festivities gearing up in Washington, D.C., our bright red Capital Bikeshare system is giving tourists and residents alike freedom from parking hassles and liberty from traffic congestion. But, while national holidays put CaBi on high display, as an all-seasons bike commuter, I see the excitement and convenience of our thriving bike share system on a daily basis.

And, I’ve heard from plenty of women that bikeshare has transformed their perspective on bicyclng for transportation.

“I remember receiving the red glossy Capital Bikeshare pamphlet in the mail in the summer of 2010,” Debra Zusin, founder of GiveLoveCycle, told me earlier this year (pictured above). “I loved riding my bike recreationally and on trails but never considered biking as my daily transportation. Bike share answered the question of not wanting to worry about my bike everywhere I went. The idea of a one-way ride was so appealing that I became one of the first people to sign up! I still have my original black fob card and carry it around like a badge of honor.”

Zusin certainly isn’t alone.

In late May, Capital Bikeshare released it’s annual member survey and there’s some interesting insight on women’s ridership, participation and trends. Here are just a few interesting and revealing findings…

  • In 2012, 54% of new members of Capital Bikeshare were women.
  • Female respondents are slightly more likely than male respondents to rate three motivations as important:
  1. Get exercise (61% of women vs 54% of men),
  2. Environmental concerns (53% of women vs 45% of men), and
  3. Access to new transportation option (84% of women vs 79% of men)
  • Regular helmet use (most of the time or always) is more common among women (38%) than men (28%).
  • Men were slightly more likely to have made a recent bikeshare trip to or from work (44% of men vs 39% of women).
  • By contrast, 15% of women’s last bikeshare trips were to run errands / go to a personal appointment, while only 9% of men noted this trip purpose.
  • Men are more likely than are women to bicycle to work; 33% of male respondents primarily bicycle, compared with 26% of female respondents. About 66% of male respondents made at least one work-related bikeshare trip, compared with 60% of female respondents.
  • When it comes to how they learned about Capital Bikeshare, women are more likely to mention referral (30%) than are men (25%).
  • Women were more likely to report the following as barriers to riding:
  1. Lack of dedicated bicycle paths or lanes (60% of women vs 52% of men)
  2. Too much traffic on local roads (48% of women vs 36% of men)
  3. Car traffic moves to fast (29% of women vs 23% of men)
  4. Don’t like to ride after dark (29% of women vs 13% of men)
  5. Terrain too hilly (20% of women vs 13% of men)
  6. Women were less likely to report “not enough bike lockers or racks” as a barrier (24% of men vs 19% of women)

Click here to read the full 114-page report!

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