Women scared off Boris Bikes by traffic and getting sweaty

Only a quarter of the scheme’s 92,000 registered users are women, according to the first City Hall figures to be broken down by gender.

Transport for London says it is trying to encourage women cyclists but adds that another problem is the weight of the bikes.

At about 23kg, Boris Bikes are about twice the weight of most road cycles, making many riders work up a sweat.

Since the launch of the £140 million scheme in July more than 1.5 million trips have been made on the bikes.

London Assembly member Murad Qureshi uncovered the gender divide in a written question to Mayor Boris Johnson.

Mr Qureshi said: “In my local pubs and among some friends I had heard remarks about the bikes being for women but it seems it is a real boy’s toy. Men, and young professionals in particular, have embraced this scheme, while women seem less sure.

“It seems men are less worried about using the bikes in central London and its very busy roads. TfL has to deal with these concerns to ensure more women use the scheme.”

This month the Mayor announced an extension of the scheme to the edge of the Olympic Parking time for the 2012 Games. This will bring an extra 2,000 bikes and 4,200 docking bays on top of the 6,000 bikes and 10,200 bays set to be in place by March.

Boris Bikes can only be used by registered users at the moment but from next month casual users should be able to swipe a credit or debit card at a docking station and ride away.

A TfL spokesman said today: “We are doing everything possible to encourage women to cycle. We know women’s main concerns are safety and changing facilities. Our Cycle Safety Strategy initiatives include signing a memorandum of understanding with the Freight Transport Association to get lorry drivers and cyclists sharing the road safely and adult cycle training to improve confidence and skill on the road.

“We are also working directly with businesses across the capital to help them provide better cycling facilities for employees.”

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