Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Women demand action on safer roads (UK)

Here is an idea for Toowoomba women to consider organising.

Perhaps our Council and State Government could do with an approach directly from the women cyclists here to galvanise them into a more coherent approach to our local cycling conditions and local cycle education?

The TBUG would be happy to assist.

Add your name to our Motion for Women petition urging local and national governments to stop dragging their heels and to make it safer for more people, especially women, to cycle. Every name will count when we present our petition to Government in December. Add your name now, then please ask all the women in your life who deserve to be given the opportunity to cycle safely, to do the same.

We, the undersigned, want to be able to choose to cycle for many more of our daily journeys. To do this we need to feel safe when we cycle.

We demand that governments prioritise the creation of environments that encourage and support cycling, specifically this must include cycle paths separated from traffic, as a way of enabling many more women to travel by bike.

See more here:

And here is an interesting piece on the role of women in cycling-past, and the impact cycling has had on women to today.


The 'Gude Cause' procession is named after a slogan from one of the original protest banners and hopes to attract hundreds of men and women who will march to pay tribute to the women in Scotland who campaigned to obtain women's right to vote. As part of the procession, which will be split into past, present and future, will be a cycling contingent, organised by the CTC Lothians.

So what historical impact has the bicycle had on women's rights?

Susan B. Anthony, one of America's most influential suffragettes, stated that in her opinion the bicycle had done 'more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world'.

As the cycling craze kicked off in America in the 1890's, women began to realise that this new mode of travel allowed them a taste of a different life outside the boundaries of the home. They could broaden their horizons by travelling further than they had ever done before and do so independently of their husbands. The women's activist movements were already in full swing by this time, and the bicycle helped women to assert themselves and their independence.

The rise of the bicycle amongst women also led to a revolution in clothing. The long, restrictive dresses and skirts of the day were eschewed in favour of bloomers, much to the disgust of traditionalists, who viewed them as 'sinful' and an 'abomination'.

One of the first champions of bloomers was Annie 'Londonderry' Kopchovsky, an extraordinary woman who is hailed as 'the world's first international female sports star'. On June 25, 1894, Annie set off on a round the world tour on a bike, dressed in a man's cycle suit. The challenge started as a bet from a friend who set the challenge that not only did she have to complete the task in 15 months, but she had to earn $5000 on the way.

Leaving behind three small children and a husband, she attacked the challenge with relish and achieved both, to collect a $10,000 dollar prize at the end of her travels, declaring, 'I am a 'new woman', if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do'.

There are many reasons why today, that out of the 2% of trips that are made by bike, only one quarter of these are made by women, reasons which differ greatly from the ones which Annie Londonderry faced.

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