Gorski Consulting has been monitoring various aspects of cycling in London Ontario for over a decade. One area of interest has been the apparent lack of ridership by females and what may be the cause. Recent documentations along London’s Thames Valley Parkway allow for further analysis of this issue.
Over the years Gorski Consulting has conducted a number of videotaping sessions in London which have documented the numbers of cyclists, pedestrians and non-pedestrians. A table of some of these documentations is shown below.
Comparing the numbers of cyclists to pedestrians the hourly average noted at the bottom the table shows about 15 cyclists and 36 pedestrians. However this average is misleading. A quick glance at the last two sessions (“19-Springbank Park at Storybook Gardens” and “20-Gibbons Park at Victoria”) documented very large numbers of pedestrians versus cyclists. The rest of the sessions however suggest more evenly matched frequencies. Never-the-less this data provides some general idea of the historic numbers of users of various facilities in London by cyclists and pedestrians.
With respect to females our data has indicated some unexplained results with respect to the numbers of female cyclists observed riding next to the right-of-ways of roads in London. The table below shows some data that was created from photos taken of cyclists riding on or next to the City’s roads from the year 2013 through to the end of 2021.
It can be seen in the above table that the percentage of female cyclists has been consistently low compared to the overall number of observed cyclists. The overall average of just 14.51% should cause us to wonder why this is so low and what may be the cause of this result. As indicated before, it is advantageous to the well-being of the City of London, and generally the Province of Ontario, Canada and worldwide that cycling become a more dominant form of transportation. If male cyclists are the predominate users of this mode then we are missing the opportunity of advancing cycling to much-needed, higher levels.
More recent observations of cyclists have been preformed by Gorski Consulting including observations along the City’s Thames Valley Parkway (TVP). The TVP is a multi-user path system that generally follows the forks of the Thames River. City-wide it is possible to ride about 40 kilometres in a circular fashion around the City or along selected legs of the path network.
From our viewpoint the TVP appears to be a very busy transportation network for cyclists and pedestrians. In fact our analysis suggests that it is the most-used network by both cyclists and pedestrians in London.
The results of more-recent documentations of cyclists and pedestrians along the TVP are shown in the table below. The sessions in this table are all from 2-hour documentations by multiple video cameras. The table is separated into observations of cyclists and pedestrians.
The above table includes the very recent results from the Blackfriars Bridge Traffic Study (BBTS) which is incomplete. Data about the numbers of pedestrians in the BBTS have not yet been completed but total pedestrian observations have been included.
In the last column of the above table are some interesting results of about the percentage of females observed in these sessions. Looking at the cyclist observations the percentage of observed females is about 26%. While this is low, it is substantially higher than the average of 14.51% observed on City roads (2013-2021) shown in the previous table.
Another interesting finding is with respect to the percentage of female pedestrians documented at the same time and location as the cyclists. No calculations exist yet from the BBTS but of the four remaining sessions the average number of observed female pedestrians is 48.95%, or essentially equal to the number of males.
In summary, our data shows that, historically, very female cyclists are observed riding on or adjacent to City roads, but the numbers of female cyclists riding along the TVP seems to be higher. And the number of female pedestrians observed along the TVP is almost equal to males. What do these results mean?
For readers it may mean that some basic conclusions may be possible? For us it means that more data will be collected.