More than 60% of women said they would like to cycle more often but more than half say they would like more and safer cycling paths to do so.
A survey by the National Heart Foundation and the Cycling Promotion Fund of 1,000 women found that the main safety concerns among women involved distracted drivers as well as speeding vehicles.
Of the women surveyed, more than 90% had ridden a bike as a child, but less than one-third had ridden one in the past six months.
“Cycling is clearly something that women want to do, but they’re being let down by a lack of safe cycle routes,” said Dr Lyn Roberts, CEO of the National Heart Foundation.
“Women told us their main safety concerns involved traffic and cars, with speed and volume of cars and trucks, and distracted drivers, highlighting their desire for more separate off road cycling paths, more bike lanes, and wider lanes to stay safe.
“Without a concerted effort to get more women cycling by addressing infrastructure and safety, state, territory and federal governments will not achieve their national goal of doubling the rates of cycling by 2016.”
The Cycling Promotion Fund says governments need to consider women when designing transport systems and the inclusion of safe, separated bike infrastructure will support women using active travel for transport and recreation.
“The data showed that when women cycle it’s for a variety of reasons, including to work, study or just doing errands. With women’s preferences in mind, we need to build bike networks that connect women to local destinations such as the places they go frequently, shops as well as travelling to work,” a spokesman said.
Last week, the then Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese, announced that urban transport infrastructure projects funded by the Federal Government will be required to consider cycling and walking paths.