Are Bicycles Sexist?

I almost missed this story in the Times last week (thanks to Ann Althouse for pointing it out):

A Mission for Citi Bike: Recruiting More Female Cyclists

When Citi Bike arrived here, it promised to spread the benefits of biking to the masses. . . But two years in, Citi Bike’s inroads have been decidedly uneven, with men far outnumbering women in using the bike-sharing system. A little time on Eighth Avenue on a recent morning, watching the stream of Citi Bike riders heading north past Pennsylvania Station and toward Times Square, was instructive. Man after man pedaled by, some in suits, others in jeans. From time to time, a woman on a Citi Bike rode by.

For the bike service, that is a problem. . .  Today, women take about a quarter of all trips by Citi Bike riders and make up just under a third of its members.

“Women are early indicators of a successful bike system,” said Sarah M. Kaufman, the assistant director for technology programming at the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University and an author of a new report on Citi Bike. “If you have more women riders, that means it’s convenient and safe.”

Citi Bike’s gender gap is part of a broader pattern among cyclists across the country; bike-share systems in Chicago and Washington also have more male riders.

Clearly there is some kind of discrimination going on, with a disparate impact on women. And probably minorities, too. I notice there is no racial breakdown of bike sharers provided. Surely the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights should investigate. More:

In June, the company introduced a newly designed bike that has a different seat and kickstand and feels lighter, which may appeal to women and less bulky riders.

You mean, like, a girls’ bike? The patriarchy always wins.


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