by Sarah Goodyear
The question of how to get more women on bikes has received quite a lot of attention recently, in part because of a recent article in Scientific American that suggested women are an "indicator species" for bike-friendly communities.
A group of people in Darlington, United Kingdom, decided to approach the problem of getting women on bikes by getting girls on bikes. The result is Beauty and the Bike, a multifaceted project -- a book, a documentary, and perhaps most excitingly, a bike-share program. Watch the short version of the film below. It's so wonderful to see how the girls move from skepticism about cycling to exhilaration about how "liberating" it is.
This is a project that meets girls on their own terms, and that doesn't minimize or denigrate the importance of peer pressure in the choices they make. As the coordinators write:
For teenagers the question of their image is crucial. And if cycling is seen as mad or eccentric, it is unlikely to appear attractive. Thus, UK transport statistics show that the already low percentage of British girls who have cycled regularly as a child, stop doing so when they reach puberty.
This piece originally appeared on Streetsblog New York City.
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