Increasing everyday cycling: Sarah interviews Dr Rachel Aldred
There are a lot of theories on how to get more people riding their bikes, and what stops people cycling, but some of the most interesting research in the UK is being done by Dr Rachel Aldred, a Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster. She’s got a really interesting perspective, coming at transport policy from a background in sociology, and she’s especially interesting for her approach of looking at how social, cultural and infrastructure issues interact, and also her focus on diversity in cycling – including specific issues around cycling for women, older people, Black and other minority ethnic communities, disabled people, children and more.
We talked about what her research has shown her about barriers that stop people cycling, what more could be done, and the initiative she set up last year, the Near Miss Project, and what that’s already showing about attitudes to cycling. This is naturally a little bit UK-focused, but there’s so much here that will be applicable everywhere, so if you’re not in the UK, don’t let that stop you!
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Find out more about Dr Aldred’s work on her website – and I recommend the paper she co-authored with James Woodcock and Anna Goodman, Does More Cycling Mean More Diversity in Cycling? And follow her twitter for lots of fantastic links to research and work on cycling issues. (You can get to her paper about protective gear that we talked about from here, and to her blog about MGIF & cost-benefit analysis). The work she did on the Cycling Cultures Project on their website.
Definitely check out the Near Miss Project website, and if you’re in the UK, ask your local Police Force if they have a way to report cycling near misses – and then, if you experience them, report them (for example, here’s how you can report to Avon & Somerset Police). And if you want to help improve things for everyday cyclists, contact your local democratic representatives to tell them what you’d like to see, and help them hear positive stories about cycling (in the UK? Contact your Councillor, MP, and Scottish/Welsh/London Assembly representative!).
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