Women and bikes
Why don't more women ride bikes? That's the question asked by a recent NY Times story. And it's a question asked by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: Why aren't women on wheels? The answer is the same in New York as it is in San Francisco: women evidently have more sense than men. They don't feel as safe as the testosterone-fueled guys:
“Within the United States, New York is far behind in terms of the percentage of women cyclists compared to cities like Washington, D.C., and San Francisco,” said John Pucher, a professor of planning and transportation at Rutgers University who is working on a book about global cycling trends. “I’m convinced that one of the reasons New York City has such a low percentage of women cyclists is that it’s dangerous.”
Pucher is wrong about SF. I don't know about D.C., but the percentage of women cyclists in SF is pretty much the same as it is in New York: According to the City of San Francisco 2010 Bicycle Count Report, 72% of those counted were male and 28% were female, a percentage that has changed only incrementally over the years. But those percentages are a little squishy, since the report admits that "rider gender and helmet usage were not measured at all count locations from 2006 to 2010" (page 10).
With a higher percentage of women riding bikes in SF comes the inevitable consequence: more injuries to women cyclists. According to the City of San Francisco 2008 Bicycle Collision Report of Feb. 2010, 26.8% of cyclists injured in 2008 were women (page 31). That means that the percentage of women cyclists observed in the annual count must be pretty accurate, since 27% of the cyclists counted that year were women (page 11 of the Count Report).