I've mentioned before that in the Netherlands, everyone cycles. This graph shows how cycling rates vary with age and sex within the Netherlands, expressed as the average number of cycle journeys per day made per person.
It shows a number of things: that cycling is very popular with school age children, for instance, and that it drops off a bit for working age adults as for some the commute is "too far" by bike. Males between 20 and 50 years of age cycle the least. This is because they're most likely to have a job requiring a long commute. Women follow a similar pattern, but there is a jump in cycling between "25 to 30" and "30 to 40" as this is the age at which women have children, and having children allows women to return to cycling. This first happens with children on their mother's bike and later with women accompanying their children on their own bike before at eight years old they are able to ride unaccompanied to school. Men don't get this chance so often so men cycle less.
This is due to women being more likely to be at home looking after children than their male partners. As a result, they more often cycle with young children to school, or make shopping and other utility trips by bike. This is what leads to the Netherlands uniquely having 55% of trips overall by women.
Cycling stays with people through their entire life. Even the over 75s make an average of around 0.3 trips per day by bike, or more than two trips each week.
Here we see the reasons for bicycle journeys. Only 16% of all cycle journeys are commutes. The largest percentage, 22%, are shopping trips, 18% are school journeys, 14% are social, and 11% are to go visiting.
This level of cycle usage, across both sexes, all ages, and for all purposes, requires infrastructure which has a high level of subjective safety.
But let's go back to that figure of just 16% of cycle journeys being for commutes. In all too many places, commuting rate figures are touted as "modal share". Actually, commutes make for just a small percentage of total journeys in any country, and that should be the case for cycling too. However, in many countries there is not the required subjective safety for everyone to cycle. In these countries, promoting cycling as just something for commuters and ignoring the other 84% of potential cycle journeys removes the need to make conditions suitable for everyone to cycle. This can never be the route to mass cycling on the scale that it is seen in the Netherlands.
I am not impressed with people touting "commuting" modal shares because they have missed out the big picture. What is important is that everyone should be able to make journeys by bike, not just self-selected confident young adults, who are mostly male.
These figures came from the same source as last week's post, the Fietsersbond. Marc has also written about these statistics.
5 hours ago