Cycling isn't just for the 'Lycra crowd'
Re. “More bike lanes” (The Tri-City News, Sept. 14).
Thanks for your article about Port Moody bike lanes. Metro Vancouver could greatly benefit in many ways from more cycling, so it’s great to see publicity around it. But we have not seen a mode share increase for cycling in Metro Vancouver since at least 1996.
Your article starts out with the words, “Gentlemen, start your Lycra.” And that’s exactly the problem we have with cycling in Metro Vancouver.
Currently, less than 30% of cyclists in Metro Vancouver are women and, furthermore, the typical cyclist on the road is indeed part of the “Lycra crowd.” In other words, only expert cyclists feel safe cycling on Metro Vancouver roads because most people prefer to ride on bike routes that are separated from traffic and we don’t offer enough of those in Metro Vancouver.
One theory about why women are not cycling more is that they tend to be more risk-averse. So, while I recognize you were just playing off an old saying, your opening line reinforces the notion that cycling in Metro Vancouver is only for men and only for experts.
There is a concept known as “safety in numbers” when it comes to cycling. The more cyclists there are on the roads, the safer it will be for all cyclists. So, while part of the problem is that we aren’t building the types of facilities that everyone would want to cycle on (not just the fittest of men), it is also damaging to reinforce the notion that cycling is not safe, which is what your article does with those four little words.
With a truly safe and comfortable cycling network in Metro Vancouver, we would see women and men, children and old people, wearing all sorts of clothing, riding bikes.
Kamala Rao, Vancouver