Factors Associated with the Gender Gap in Bicycling Over Time

Recent working paper:

Bicycling has grown in popularity over the past decade, but the gap in rates of bicycling between men and women in the United States (US) persists. This paper uses regional travel behavior study data from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Region in 2000 and 2010 to measure and model the gender gap in bicycling over time.


High Bike
High Bike

Findings from a series of statistical tests show that in aggregate, women bike less than men, and that growth in bicycling has been slower for women than for men over the past decade. However, stratifying the sample shows that women who live with at least one other adult bicyclist participate in bicycling at an equal rate as men. Similarly, frequency of bicycle trips among people who participate in bicycling differed by gender only slightly in 2000, and not at all in 2010. Binary logistic modeling results show that several factors, such as age and trip purpose, are associated with different bicycling outcomes for men and women, but some commonly hypothesized explanations, such as having children, were declining in effect or altogether insignificant.


These findings and conclusions are important for practice and research because understanding the nuances of the gender gap, such as the apparent gap in participation but not in frequency or the contagion effect of living with a cyclist, is essential for targeting programs effectively. This paper also identifies several travel behavior data collection limitations that complicate studying the gender gap, and offers recommendations for further study.