Over the weekend, the New York Times weighed in on an important issue facing the city of New York. It seems that the fairer sex, despite making up about half the city’s population, constitutes merely a third of the users of the city’s bikeshare system.
According to the Times’s observer on Eighth Avenue, the situation is dire. “Man after man pedaled by, some in suits, others in jeans. From time to time, a woman on a Citi Bike rode by.”
While bikeshare programs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago also have more male riders, New York’s Citi Bikes is taking a more active approach to persuading women to ride in the city. The blue bikes have already made appearances in the window of Bloomingdale’s and in an episode of Comedy Central’s slacker millennial show Broad City.
If that isn’t enough to persuade more women to fork over $9.95 to rent a bike for the day, CitiBikes is hosting rides with women’s cycling groups and released a series of ads recalling how bicycles symbolized independence for suffragettes back in the days of bloomers.
The Scrapbook wishes to point out that the reason for low numbers of female riders might be right in front of the Times. The women depicted in the photographs accompanying the article are all wearing pants. The pencil skirt, a longstanding staple of the female work wardrobe, is nowhere to be seen. Men can easily ride a bike in a suit, but riding in a skirt takes a bit more skill.
Could it be that New York’s fashionistas and career women are dissuaded from using the bikeshare by the difficulty of managing pedals in pumps and a pencil skirt?