Transport for London is investing nearly a quarter of a million pounds in encouraging social groups under-represented in the capital’s cycling population to take up travelling by bicycle.
Up to 30 community and not-for-profit organisations have until 17 September to bid for grants from TfL, aimed at broadening a demographic currently dominated by affluent white males.
Initiatives that might be funded include cycle training, bike loan schemes, guided rides and maintenance courses. This is the fourth year of the Cycle Grants London scheme, which is administered by environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London.
TfL says that over 14,000 Londoners have been encouraged by the programme to take up cycling to far. Schemes supported in the past include the Ilford-based “Brothers on Bikes“, which sought to persuade young Asian Londoners to ride, and the Limehouse Women’s Cycling Project, aimed principally at local Bangladeshis but also open to others.
Boris Johnson’s 2013 Vision for Cycling in London described a goal of getting more women, older people, black and minority ethnic Londoners and Londoners from all social backgrounds to cycle by means of changing street designs to increase safety and the perception of it.
However, a 2011 study commissioned by TfL had indicated a range of cultural factors that dissuade women, poorer and ethnic minority Londoners from embracing cycling as a way to get around the city, bound up with social status and gender identity issues.
Sadiq Khan’s cycling and walking commissioner, Will Norman, has acknowledged the need to break down such barriers if London’s still small but increasing number of cyclists is to grow more quickly.
Surveys conducted for TfL have suggested that the introduction of segregated “cycle superhighways” has not produced an increase in the percentage of woman cycling, as some activists had predicted.
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