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Bicycle Pilot Projects: Effective small-scale solutions for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. Draft presentation World Bank, PRMG. Bicycle Pilot Projects: Why Bother?. Promoting bicycles offers multiple environmental and social benefits. Promoting bicycles is good transport policy
World Bank, PRMG
- In East Asian countries like China or Vietnam, half of all cyclists are female
- In Latin American countries, cycling mode shares are low throughout the region (with a few notable examples)
- In many Muslim and rural African countries, cycling is considered off-limits for women
- Women worry more about unsafe traffic. Dangerous conditions in urban areas result in low percentages of women riders
- Cycling is considered only a ‘poor man’s vehicle’ in many African urban environments
- Earlier in the century, one city in the South of the US banned female cyclists from its streets
- Research in Accra, Ghana showed that women and girls in one district commonly rode bicycles while cycling in another neighborhood was seen as dangerous and rebellious
- Experience from rural Mozambique shows that village men found female cycling more acceptable once they saw that the only way for female health extension workers to reach villages was by bicycle.
- One of the greatest challenges to female cycling often is the lack of training opportunities.
- A bicycle promotion project in South Africa taught riding and basic mechanic skills to 24 female paper making apprentices, and 22 of them said they never had the opportunity to learn how to ride.
- Special efforts need to be made to recruit women for these training sessions.
- In the Putdukkotai district of Tamil Nadu in India, women cycling was included in a rural development program to improve women’s independent mobility and self-confidence. Women felt greatly empowered by their newly acquired riding skills, and the campaign exceeded expectations, with over 50,000 women learning how to ride bicycles in one year alone
- Studies in many countries consistently show women to be more reliable borrowers than men
- In Mozambique, a rural women's organization distributed bicycles to women through a revolving credit schemes with excellent success rates
- Female participants in a South African earn-a-bike program saved $75 a month on transport costs, thus being able to quickly pay back the cost of their training and bike acquisition costs.
- The high visibility of female workbike paper collectors in South Africa inspired many other women to consider non-motorized vehicles as an income-generating resource
- A study in Uganda found that many bicycles retailers did not carry women’s bicycles. Male bicycles, however, were too large and the high crossbar incompatible with African female dress.