As Portland aims for platinum status as a cycling city, it can use the gender gap to make rides safer
Thursday, June 21 2007 @ 09:16 PM EDT
Contributed by: B' Spokes
You don't have to be a cyclist to guess the scariest places to ride a bike in Portland. Danger zones include the controlled chaos of downtown, the high speeds of the outer Eastside and the winding uncertainty of the West Hills -- all places where drivers and cyclists mix with unease.
There's a way to measure bike safety beyond guessing, however. Watch for women. As the city's bike planners have found, there's a direct correlation between the safety of a particular area and the number of women cyclists. The city can use this information as it maps out a new master plan for biking, reduces the danger spots and strives to spin its "gold" rating from the League of American Bicyclists into platinum.
"Women cyclists," the city's transportation office asserts, "are the indicators of a healthy bikeway network."