The eighth London cyclist died at a busy junction in the city of London. Seven out of the eight of these fatalities involved an HGV. Perhaps this is not surprising but what is surprising is that most of these cyclists are women.
Why are women cyclists more in danger than men?
There are many factors in a complex situation like this: women are less confident on the road. They keep to the left, start slowly off the lights keeping them in the blind spot danger zone. Women generally feel less confident competing with traffic for road space.
Men on the other hand cycle more aggressively, go ahead of the bike boxes and can be easily seen by the lorry driver. They also speed of at the lights reducing the inconvenience for the lorry driver turning left.
Or do they?
Presumably all the HGV drivers are men? Younger men? They are driving all day 5-6 days a week. Their view of the road is from a high vantage point. They are driving a large vehicle, several tons larger then most other vehicles in small urban streets. They have a timetable to do as many loads as possible.
Of course none of this adds up to anything: but it is another way at looking at the problem. The HGV driver is all powerful. Vehicles, cyclists, & pedestrians all trying to avoid them.
To vehicle drivers in London cyclists are a nuisance. They are in the way. But like car drivers – do male and female who discriminate against each other? – perhaps this is what happens with the HGV driver: that women cyclists are subtly discriminated against. Women cyclists generate a different reaction than male cyclists.
Take a look at the overdue interest in womens’ football compared to male football!
Women are deemed to be slower, less able and weaker cyclists than men.
Does this mean male HGV drivers are targeting women cyclists? – of course not!
But discrimination impacts in hidden ways. Women cyclists know they are discriminated against: so feel more intimidated and less confident on London roads. Discrimination is hidden and powerful with far reaching impact.
Perhaps this is another example of good old fashioned sexism on the roads.
Women Cyclists Die
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2015
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