A large group of protesters rode through London at the weekend, calling for cycling to be made safer for women in the city.
Hundreds of riders participated in the event, which went past a variety of major landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. According to a report from the BBC (opens in new tab), organisers of the protest explained that women were “put off cycling by a lack of safe routes, dangerous driving and harassment”.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan called for change, and said that he wanted women “to feel safe wherever they are in London”.
“We must continue to break down the barriers to cycling faced by women and girls and I’m doing all I can to make active travel around the city as accessible and safe as possible,” he said.
Khan also highlighted work already being done to rapidly improve cycling infrastructure within the capital.
“That’s why I’m delighted that we’ve built hundreds of kilometres of new or upgraded cycle routes since the pandemic, introduced e-bikes to the Santander Cycles scheme, and completed work to make some of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions safer.”
The event was organised to coincide with the fast approaching International Women’s Day, and was put on thanks to the work of the London Cycling Campaign [LCC] women’s network along with the Londra Bisiklet Klubu, which is a riding group mainly run by and for members of London’s Turkish/Kurdish community.
Both organisers reported a carnival-like atmosphere at the event, with people joining dressed as suffragettes, as well as unicorns. One rider even joined cycling on a Penny Farthing.
According to the LCC, less than a third of London’s cycle trips are by women, despite being 51% of the population, according to LCC.
Eilidh Murray, of the LCC Women’s Network steering group, said: “As women from a range of backgrounds, we know being able to travel cheaply and independently by bike can bring us confidence, health and freedom. But we’re being put off cycling by a lack of safe routes, dangerous driving, harassment and more. We need the mayor to make using a bike a safe, everyday choice.”
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