With 131 responses in to the survey I decided to post the results. I can’t say that I am able to draw any amazing conclusions from this survey to determine why women in Milwaukee bike to work in disproportionate numbers compared to other cities. The main reasons women surveyed don’t bike more appear to be concerns about traffic safety and lack of shower/locker rooms facilities at the workplace. Schedule conflicts with personal life seem to be a pretty big secondary concern.
I posted some of the survey results below and added links to the entire survey results at the bottom of this post. I have filtered the results in three ways in case people want to see just what women say, or women from Milwaukee or everyone.
I have had some time to think about this and talk to a few women, inlcuding a friend from Chicago who moved to Milwaukee and bikes to work. The low numbers in Milwaukee may be a combination of the overall culture in which biking to work is still considered a bit out there and the fact that it is just so easy to drive here compared to other places.
Chicago has a similar 1% overall mode share for biking to work, but twice the percentage of women than in Milwaukee. What if the same anti-biking culture exists in Chicago, but that is offset by how much more difficult and expensive it is to drive and park in Chicago compared to Milwaukee?
Right now there is tons of free on-street parking within a few blocks of most downtown workplaces. Most workplaces other than downtown provide free parking. And there are plenty of monthly parking spots that cost around $100 per month. That is not the case in Chicago. There is virtually no free on-street parking in the Chicago loop. And the parking rates in Chicago are about double to triple what they are for private lots in Milwaukee.
Cities like Portland, Madison and Minneapolis already have a much better culture to support people biking to work than Milwaukee and Chicago. And they have better infrastructure for bikes. So I can understand why they have an even higher percentage of women biking to work.
Anyway, that is my best guess to explain the differences between Milwaukee and Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison. I would appreciate any other thoughts on this though.
I will say the survey did identify that there are a lot of women out there biking to work. The numbers say women bike to work 9 months a year on average and more than 3 times a week. That is pretty good if you ask me.
Women, Milwaukee and elsewhere:
Men and Women