50% of women feel unsafe cycling alone at night, finds Lime

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New research from shared operator Lime has found that 50% of women fear night-time cycling in the UK.

Titled ‘Tackling the Gender Pedal Gap’, the report gathered data from 132 Lime riders and 2,000 UK adult participants of an Opinium survey to highlight the barriers to cycling that women face both day and night. The report took two months to complete.

9 in 10 women said they faced barriers to cycling, contributing to a significant gender disparity within the mode of transport which sees UK women cycle almost half as much as men each month.

“Raising awareness of the challenges female cyclists face is key to ensuring a mutual understanding and respect between all road users,” Lime Public Affairs Manager Alice Pleasant told Zag Daily.

“The more people become aware of the barriers female cyclists face, the easier we can move forward with actionable solutions.”

Poorly lit roads (46%), isolated cycle routes in quiet areas (41%), antisocial behaviour (36%), and fear of harassment from other road users (34%) were uncovered as the main deterrents for female cyclists at night.

71% of women said they would not hire a shared micromobility vehicle at night if it meant they had to park far away from their destination.

“69% of respondents said they would feel safer if there were lit parking areas to finish their ride and 62% said they wanted more parking areas near their homes or final destination to avoid additional walking in the dark,” said Pleasant.

“That’s why we are calling for a higher density of parking bays in well lit locations, and in locations that reduce walking time to their destination.”

The report also calls for operators to partner with transport and geographical mapping applications which show the most well-lit routes home for cycling and walking.

Other recommendations include developing a ‘Follow My Ride’ feature which enables women travelling alone at night to share their journey with other people.

Launched in collaboration with TV presenter and London cyclist Angellica Bell, the report from Lime is accompanied with a mural that has been installed in East London. Only when a UV light is shone on the mural does it reveal a series of secret messages from women calling for action to improve their safety when cycling. The mural is deliberately located in a poorly lit location.

“We know that lack of experience or confidence is a key reason women choose not to cycle,” Alice said. 

“That’s why we’re calling for the Government to work with the industry, charities and local authorities to introduce accessible cycling proficiency refreshers in secondary schools, giving women and girls the confidence to ride and feel safe while doing so.”

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