Bristol's cycling charter aims to inspire more women

Vicki Cracknell Image copyright Brett Symes
Image caption Vicki Cracknell believes there have been a number of missed opportunities in the city to make things more cycle-friendly

A cycling charter has been launched in Bristol "to inspire and empower more women".

Research shows men are twice as likely to cycle as women in the city.

Poppy Brett, from Bristol charity Life Cycle UK, said many women were scared of cycling and the charter would offer them the necessary training and advice.

"They feel it is dangerous, and we really want to change the narrative around this," she said.

She said while many women have a bike and knew how to ride it, they were not being taught how to cycle safely on the roads.

Image caption There have been calls for more cycle lanes on Bristol's roads

Vicki Cracknell, from Henleaze, describes herself as "a mum who rides a bike".

"I'm really sad when I think I know so many fabulous women who are fit, healthy and strong, and they don't ride bikes," she said.

Ms Cracknell believes women are more "risk averse" and would like to see separate cycle lanes and other safety measures.

"The cycling infrastructure is key but I also think a little bit of human kindness would make a massive difference," she said.

"When I'm riding people in cars get really annoyed with me, and I want to shout 'I'm a mum, I'm a sister, I want to get home safely, just give me a bit of a space'."

Bristol Women's Cycling Charter

The charter aims to inspire and empower women by:

  • Offering refurbished bikes for sale
  • Running a loan bike system
  • Providing free training - including the rules of the road
  • Raising awareness of Bristol's cycle tracks and "quietways"
  • Offering bike maintenance courses
  • Organising group rides to boost confidence
  • Encouraging local businesses to get involved and provide cycle storage and shower facilities

You can sign up by visiting the LifecycleUK website

Her views are largely echoed by Mary Rivers, a regular cyclist who said she felt nervous on the roads.

"It's the aggression you get from other road users, it's like we're a menace," she said.

"We need a change in attitude from drivers, with more respect and enforcement of speed limits."

Image copyright TLT Solicitors
Image caption Siobhan Fitzgerald said TLT was keen to encourage female employees to cycle to work

The charter is also being supported by a number of businesses in the city.

Siobhan Fitzgerald is a partner at TLT Solicitors, one of the first Bristol companies to adopt the charter, and is hoping to encourage more female employees to cycle to work.

She has always commuted by bike and said the benefits were not just better for her health but also meant she was able to collect her children from school on time instead of being stuck in traffic.

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