More than half the bikes hired as part of Leed's University Velocampus scheme have gone to female cyclists this year, reports Sustrans.
Of the 324 bikes hired in 2011 to date, female students represented 54 per cent. The scheme is part of the UTravelActive project which is run by the Leeds Universities in partnership with UK charity Sustrans.
Other university bike loan schemes around the country, like that in Nottingham and Durham University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton, are still seeing the majority of bikes hired by male students. The trend for cycle hire to be male dominated is also present in city wide schemes like the ‘Boris bike’ hire in London where only a quarter of the scheme's 92,000 registered users are women, according to the first City Hall figures.
Lisa Brannan, Sustrans Project Manager in Leeds told BikeBiz: “It’s brilliant to see that more and more women want to get cycling around Leeds. We know safety is a big factor is putting women off cycling and that’s why in Leeds we are trying to do more to encourage women onto bikes. We support the bike hire from the campus bike hub to overcome these concerns, with bike maintenance, and cycle skills sessions. This helps women feel comfortable and confident on a bike so that they see it as an obvious way to get around - and it seems to be working.”