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In Oregon, as elsewhere in the US, a greater percentage of men bicycle than women. This study illuminates the gender gap in bicycling by exploring differences in bicycling among women and men in Oregon. A one-day statewide travel survey of over 30,000 adults was examined. Comparisons between individual, household, and trip and activity characteristics for people grouped by gender (women vs. men) and bicycling (made a bicycle trip or normally commuted by bicycle vs. did not bicycle) were assessed using chi-squared tests of independence. Many significant differences were found. In particular, women living alone, not working, without a high-school degree, without a driver license, and living in low-income households or zero-vehicle households were less likely to bicycle than other women. Men with similar characteristics did not exhibit the same trends and sometimes were even more likely to bicycle. These findings are consistent with a perspective that women who bicycle are more likely to do so by choice, whereas women with fewer means are less likely to turn to bicycling than their male counterparts. In addition, there was partial support for the idea that women’s roles and responsibilities (for household maintenance and escorting, but not necessarily the presence of children) may contribute to this deficit. The study’s results begin to suggest a rethinking of bicycle-promoting policies and interventions to better target certain women, although further research is needed to more fully understand bicycling’s gender gap.
Patrick Singleton is a Ph.D. student in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Portland State University, studying with Kelly Clifton. His research spans the areas of travel behavior, transportation planning, and travel demand modeling, with a special interest in walking and bicycling.
Cycling -- Social aspects -- Oregon, Oregon -- Social policy, Cycling -- Women -- Oregon, Transportation -- Oregon -- Planning
Transportation | Urban Studies and Planning
Singleton, Patrick Allen, "Cycling by Choice or Necessity? Exploring the Gender Gap in Bicycling in Oregon" (2016). TREC Friday Seminar Series. 86.