Over 50 women will join a breakfast ride to the Whitworth Art Gallery on International Women’s Day on March 8th.
The ride will celebrate the start of safer Danish-style cycling conditions in the city. The ride, which was organised by charities such as Sustrans and Love Your Bike as part of the Women on Wheels events in March, highlights the need for separated cycle paths in Greater Manchester.
Participants will commute along the new Wilmslow Road Cycleway, which is Greater Manchester’s latest and longest separated cycle route, and Sustrans’ traffic-free Fallowfield loop.
They will arrive at the Whitworth Art Gallery café for celebratory drinks and food at around 8:30 am and pose for photos for an online exhibition on women and cycling.
It was recently revealed that up to for times the amount of men cycle in Britain compared to women; this is mainly due to fears around safety. In the recent Bike Life report for Greater Manchester, female interviewees highlighted safety as a key concern and 75 per cent of all respondents said that they supported more investment in cycling.
Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans’ England director north said: “This International Women’s Day we want to celebrate the new Wilmslow Road cycle corridor. We know that women are put off cycling here in Manchester because of dangerous roads. In Denmark, where traffic-free cycle paths are the norm, more women cycle than men.
“These new cycle routes will help more people feel safer to get on their bikes and the Women’s Day ride is a chance for women to try out Greater Manchester’s first version of a Danish-style route, and demonstrate their support for more similar routes.”
Catherine Thomson, Love Your Bike volunteer added: “Love Your Bike campaigns for improved cycling facilities to enable more people to cycle to school, work and for leisure. It is fantastic that these new cycle routes are available – but as research shows more people would cycle if there are safe routes – so we need to invest in building a network of safe, convenient cycle routes across Greater Manchester.”
Sustrans confirmed that Greater Manchester authorities aim to increase cycling levels to ten per cent of regular journeys by 2025. The recently opened Wilmslow Road cycleway is one of six new routes separated from traffic in the city region.