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Cycling has second-greatest gender gap among ways Britons commute, official statistics show

Only motorcycling shows a bigger divide between men and women, while cars are most “equal” mode of commuting

Analysis of the way people in the UK travel to work by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that cycling has the second greatest gender gap when it comes to how people commute.

Only motorcycling showed a greater imbalance between men and women, while motor cars were the most “equal” mode of transport, as well as the most popular one.

With men making up 74 per cent of people who cycle to work, they outnumber women bike commuters by three to one.

The data does need to be treated with some caution – taken from the quarterly Labour Force Survey which has a robust sample size of 40,000 people in work aged 16 or over, it is taken from the period October-December 2017.

That, of course, is a time of year when with poorer weather and the nights drawing in, some fairweather cycle commuters may put their bikes away until the springtime.

The ONS said that at 65 per cent, men are twice as likely as women to undertake long commutes lasting an hour or more.

Women, meanwhile make the majority – 55 per cent – of trips of less than 15 minutes’ duration, which is coincidentally the average commuting time across the UK as a whole.

As a result, men are more likely to take the train, where use rises in line with length of commute, while walking and travel by bus is more popular among women given the shorter trip duration.

Journey times generally are lengthening – there has been a 31 per cent rise in commutes of an hour or more, and that change is more marked among women than men.

Despite study after study highlighting the benefits of active travel to work, and cycling in particular, the motor car dominates as the choice of transport – an astonishing two in three workers travel by that mode across the country as a whole.

For all the benefits, there are of course barriers - among those the perception of danger, lack of safe infrastructure and the lack of facilities for showering, changing and parking a bike at the workplace, as well as people simply considering the distance too far to ride by bike.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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