Dr Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport, was interviewed by El Pais about her research and changes in London’s mobility.
The article explores the changes in London’s transport to encourage more people to cycle, such as introducing the ‘Mini-Holland’ cycle scheme, and constructing more cycle lanes. However, Dr Aldred says in her research that a gender gap is generated when there are no bike lanes.
She said: “The bike as a means of transport cannot grow where conditions only serve brave young men in good shape.”
Discussing London’s adaptations to cycling, she said that the changes began with the people. She added: “There were many problems on roads and several cyclists died, then the protests began…A positive point was that in 2010 a public bicycle rental system started.”
Talking about the factors that influenced the changing attitudes to cycling in London, Dr Aldred said: “Many health professionals began to show interest in active transport, which is very important for health.”
She added: “The most important thing is not the investments, but the changes of mentality and politics will take space from cars and give it to pedestrians and bicycles.”
Discussing her research into the gender gap in cycling, Dr Aldred said: “There is clear evidence that women need more protected infrastructure than men to move by bike. In general, people prefer not to take risks, but there are more men than women who accept those risks to ride without a bike lane.”
She added: “Women, the elderly and the disabled are underrepresented in cycling in the city.”