E-scooters are girl-coded? Rutgers researchers examine gender differences in cycling, micromobility

September 14, 2023

Researchers from The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy recently published a study analyzing the behaviors of individuals riding bicycles and e-scooters in Asbury Park.

The study was authored by Hannah Younes, a post-doctoral research associate at the Bloustein School, Robert B. Noland, the director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and Clinton J. Andrews, the director of the Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research.

With the assistance of the city, the study’s authors set up a temporary bike lane near a busy intersection and examined more than 30 hours of traffic footage to observe a total of 707 bicycles and e-scooters in action.

The researchers focused on whether cyclists and riders wore helmets, used the designated lane and traveled in a group. These factors were also cross-examined with the gender of the observed riders.

The study found that women comprised 51.5 percent of e-scooter riders but only 21.3 percent of bicyclists. Additionally, they were observed as being far more likely to travel in groups and more likely to ride on the sidewalk rather than the bike lane or road.

While overall helmet usage for bicyclists was only 35 percent, women bicyclists were observed as being less likely to wear helmets than men bicyclists.

With their observed results, the researchers suggested implementing initiatives that promote micromobility and safer lanes for riders.

“Not all micromobility modes are created equal and our findings suggest the behavior associated with their usage is also not equal,” the authors wrote in their study. “Our study uncovered differences in how users behave and which safety precautions they may take, as well as in the gender differences between users.”

The Daily Targum, September 14, 2023

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