Bicycle Pilot Projects:Effective small-scale solutions for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment Draft presentation World Bank, PRMG
Bicycle Pilot Projects: Why Bother? • Promoting bicycles offers multiple environmental and social benefits. • Promoting bicycles is good transport policy • Promoting bicycles alleviates poverty • Promoting bicycles can empower women
Promoting bicycle use is good transport policy • Bicycles are non-polluting, low-technology vehicles that provide energy-efficient and flexible transportation at low prices. • Bicycles are three times faster than walking, and offer effective ranges of movement nine times as great as walking
Promoting bicycle use is good transport policy (cont.) • Bicycles are more affordable than motorized forms of transport. • In congested urban environments, bicycles offer superior flexibility at competitive travel speeds.
Promoting bicycle use alleviates poverty • The developing country poor, particularly women, are often confined to walking and headloading. Bicycles can greatly alleviate transport burdens. • The World Bank's Policy Review Paper Sustainable Transport finds that "one of the best ways to help the poor is to improve non-motorized transport."
Promoting bicycles can empower women • Women are often more constrained in their transport choices than men. Access to a bicycle increases women’s independence and flexibitity. • Women are less likely to ride in unsafe traffic conditions than men. Providing adequate cycling infrastructures means empowering women to safely use non-motorized transport.
Bikes and access to markets • Rural populations, in particular women, have difficulty accessing local markets. • With a bicycle, both traders and buyers would be able to overcome these medium distances.
Bikes and access to employment • Bicycles can be effective transportation for commuting. • The first bike lane built under the non-motorized pilot project in Peru was specifically targeted at providing access to employers in an industrial district in Lima.
Using bikes for passenger transport • If sufficiently modified, cycles can be used as taxi services. • In rural Uganda, simple bicycles are transformed into taxis by placing a padded seat over a study back rack. Especially women use this service to access markets.
Using bikes for passenger transport (cont.) • In Dhakka, Bangladesh, one third of all women rely on rickshaw services as their primary form of passenger transport. • In India, special cycle rickshaws carry as many as 10 children safely to school in one trip.
Using bikes as feeder services / paratransit • Public transport stations are often not in close walking distance from people's homes. Cycles are a very effective way of accessing stations. • In a user survey at a suburban railstation in Rio de Janeiro, 20% of all people interviewed said that they would use bicycles to come to the station if safe parking facilities were provided and 93% of all interviewed supported the construction of such facilities.
Using bikes for goods transport • Bicycles can carry loads up to 100kg. For a rural woman responsible for water and fuelwood collection, access to a bicycle can cut her transport time in half. • Adaptions may have to be made to the vehicle depending on the bulkiness of the load, however. Poor users tend to overload the vehicle, thus endangering both the rider and other road users.
Using bikes for delivery services and garbage collection • Bicycles are very effective for mail delivery and neighborhood waste collection in urban areas. Many dense developing country settlements are inaccessible by vans or trucks, so service is either not provided or has to be done by hand. • Workbikes are an efficient feeder garbage collection service, especially in informal settlements with limited road systems.
Using Bikes for income-generation • Cycles are frequently used by petty traders. There are many different forms of fashions of bi-and tricycles all over the world, selling everything from ice cream, sandwiches to knife-sharpening services. • Helping someone acquire such a specialized cycle means helping someone into a small business and out of poverty.
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Cultural attitudes towards female cycling vary greatly by culture and region - In East Asian countries like China or Vietnam, half of all cyclists are female - In Latin American countries, cycling mode shares are low throughout the region (with a few notable examples) - In many Muslim and rural African countries, cycling is considered off-limits for women
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Cultural attitudes towards female cycling vary greatly by culture and region (cont.) - Women worry more about unsafe traffic. Dangerous conditions in urban areas result in low percentages of women riders - Cycling is considered only a ‘poor man’s vehicle’ in many African urban environments
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Resistance to female cycling is not fixed over time and can vary within a region - Earlier in the century, one city in the South of the US banned female cyclists from its streets - Research in Accra, Ghana showed that women and girls in one district commonly rode bicycles while cycling in another neighborhood was seen as dangerous and rebellious
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Resistance to female cycling will diminish when household benefits can be demonstrated - Experience from rural Mozambique shows that village men found female cycling more acceptable once they saw that the only way for female health extension workers to reach villages was by bicycle.
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • To improve female ridership, women need opportunities to learn how to ride - One of the greatest challenges to female cycling often is the lack of training opportunities. - A bicycle promotion project in South Africa taught riding and basic mechanic skills to 24 female paper making apprentices, and 22 of them said they never had the opportunity to learn how to ride. - Special efforts need to be made to recruit women for these training sessions.
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Training women to ride bicycles has strategic personal empowerment benefits as well - In the Putdukkotai district of Tamil Nadu in India, women cycling was included in a rural development program to improve women’s independent mobility and self-confidence. Women felt greatly empowered by their newly acquired riding skills, and the campaign exceeded expectations, with over 50,000 women learning how to ride bicycles in one year alone
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Micro-loan programs for bicycles have high success rates among women borrowers - Studies in many countries consistently show women to be more reliable borrowers than men - In Mozambique, a rural women's organization distributed bicycles to women through a revolving credit schemes with excellent success rates
Women and Bicycles Evidence from around the world: • Access to a bicycle quickly pays off for women - Female participants in a South African earn-a-bike program saved $75 a month on transport costs, thus being able to quickly pay back the cost of their training and bike acquisition costs.
Women and BicyclesEvidence from around the world: • Cycling women entrepreneurs can act as important role models for other women - The high visibility of female workbike paper collectors in South Africa inspired many other women to consider non-motorized vehicles as an income-generating resource
Women and BicyclesEvidence from around the world: • But: cycling also requires attention to gender-appropriate technology - A study in Uganda found that many bicycles retailers did not carry women’s bicycles. Male bicycles, however, were too large and the high crossbar incompatible with African female dress.
Gender-sensitive bicycle projects: Summary of key issues to consider • What are predominant attitudes to cycling? • Are women allowed to ride bicycles? • What are traffic and safety conditions like? • What are the available transport alternatives? • How many people presently own bicycles? • How many people could afford bicycles? • What institutional structures are available to support cycling in the project area?