Women encouraged to cycle more as NHS data reveals slips, trips and falls are bigger risks than riding a bike

The Women's Festival of Cycling starts on 11 July. Photo by Raleigh.
Image: Raleigh
Image: Raleigh
Christina Bengston's picture

Women encouraged to cycle more as NHS data reveals slips, trips and falls are bigger risks than riding a bike

Cycling UK has released figures ahead of its Women's Festival of Cycling showing that cycling is not the dangerous activity many women think.
  • Women currently cycle less than men, in part because of safety concerns that are not supported by the latest hospital admission figures 
  • Cycling UK launches its Women’s Festival of Cycling, a three-week celebration of the joys and advantages of travelling by bike (11 – 31 July) 

People are far more likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment for a simple trip, slip or fall than through any kind of cycling accident, according to admissions data released by the NHS.

In fact, slips, trips and falls accounted for 23 times as many hospital admissions as cycling-related injuries last year, before the Covid-19 crisis.

People are also much more likely to need hospital treatment for falling down stairs, falling off or out of bed, or even falling off a chair.

And you’re three times more likely to be admitted for treatment after being bitten by a dog than after being knocked off a bike by a car or van.

However, many people, especially women, say the perception that cycling is dangerous is one of main reasons they’re put off cycling.

The figures have been revealed by Cycling UK as it launches its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling aimed at encouraging more women to cycle.

Although the number of women cycling has increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women. 

Fears that cycling can be dangerous are often cited as a factor for why more women are not cycling, but the charity says the data shows cycling is not the dangerous activity many think.

TV presenter and mental health campaigner, Gail Porter, is supporting Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival. She said: “I understand the concerns that many women have around cycling, reports of accidents in the media can make women cautious about getting on two wheels. But the benefits far outweigh the risks.

“I’ve been riding as a way of keeping myself active and mentally well and I hope that during the festival women give it a go so they can see all the enormous benefits it brings to their lives.” 

I’ve been riding as a way of keeping myself active and mentally well and I hope that during the festival women give it a go so they can see all the enormous benefits it brings to their lives.

Gail Porter

Helen Cook, Cycling UK’s head of engagement, said: “There is a mistaken belief among many people – but particularly women – that cycling is not a safe option for short journeys to work or for leisure. That could not be further from the truth and these NHS admission figures do show just how safe going for a ride is in relation to other activities.

“The Women’s Festival of Cycling was created to celebrate female cyclists and to encourage more women and non-binary people who are currently under-represented, to experience the healthy lifestyle and fantastic fun that cycling offers. We hope more women will be inspired throughout July to get out cycling and build up their confidence on two wheels.”

The festival is taking place between July 11 and 31 and features a range of virtual events, including learning how yoga can help your mind and body prepare for a ride and advice on fitting regular cycling into family life. 

The Women’s Festival of Cycling is also being supported this year by Nottingham based cycle manufacturer, Raleigh. Family cycling advocate, Michelle Jakeway from Raleigh is one of the 100 Women in Cycling and said:

“We’re thrilled to be supporting the Women’s Festival and I’m honoured to have been nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling list. I have enjoyed cycling with my family for many years and love that my position at Raleigh allows me to share my passion much wider. I believe if we want to see meaningful change in the number of women cycling it’s important that women see themselves more widely represented in media, sport and in the cycling industry.”

Statistics released by Sport England show the percentage of women who said they had cycled in the past week had doubled between the beginning of April and the end of May, from 6% to 12%. Over the same eight-week period, the number of men who reported cycling in the past week also increased, though they began at almost the same level women had reached by the end of the period (11%) and rose to nearly 1 in 5 men riding during May.

With most UK regions beginning to ease out of lockdown and traffic levels which had fallen in the last three months set to rise again, Cycling UK is keen to ensure a continuation in the number of women opting to cycle rather than a return to pre-lockdown levels. Sport England’s latest survey on attitudes conducted on June 19-22 showed that more than six out of ten people intended to walk and cycle more for everyday journeys as lockdown rules are loosened.

The charity will also be unveiling its 2020 ‘100 Women in Cycling’ list featuring 100 inspiring women who encourage others to ride, on Saturday, July 11. 

The Women’s Festival of Cycling takes place from 11 - 31 July.  

Contact information 

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org 
 

Notes to editors 
  • Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org 
  • Statistics on the difference between numbers of men and women cycling across the UK: cyclinguk.org/statistics
England (2018) Men make 2.5 times as many cycling trips as women and travel 3.6 times as far 
Wales (2018/19) Women are less than half as likely to cycle once or twice a week than men
Scotland (2016) More than double the number of men (4.1%) cycle 1-2 days per week for transport than women (1.6%) and just under twice as much for pleasure or to keep fit (men 5%, women 2.6%).
Northern Ireland (2017/18) 13% of men and 5% of women said they had cycled in the last four weeks
Reason Admission Total
Unspecified fall 181,550
Fall on same level from slipping, tripping and stumbling 104,425
Other fall on same level 87,446
Fall on and from stairs and steps 43,836
Fall involving bed 23,884
Fall involving chair 13,155
Pedal cyclist injured in non-collision transport accident 11,120
Fall on or from ladder 6,965
Striking against or struck by sports equipment 4,038
Pedal cyclist injured in collision with car, pick-up truck or van 2,637
Discharge of firework 154
Pedal cyclist in collision with heavy transport vehicle or bus 153
Wave Date

Male

Female

1 3-6 April 11% 6%
2 9-14 April 13% 7%
3 17-20 April 17% 8%
4 24-27 April 14% 9%
5 1-4 May 17% 10%
6 8-11 May 18% 8%
7 15-18 May 20% 12%
8 22-25 May 18% 12%
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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19