THE SCARY STATS
Unfortunately, we’re probably not doing enough. U.S.based Peopleforbikes has found that in the States, boys and girls from ages three to nine ride at same rate. Starting at age 10, there’s a significant drop-off for girls – and we can assume those statistics would be similar in Canada. That gap continues to grow as the girls get older.
The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (caaws) recently released a report showing that 41 per cent of girls age three to 17 don’t participate in any sport. That percentage grows to 84 per cent in adult women. Even scarier: if by the age of 10, a girl has yet to play a sport, the report suggests that she will only have a 10 per cent chance of “living a physically active life” in her adult years.
While some women find their way back to cycling as they get older, the peak time to be learning skills is in those early years, leaving those who start riding later in life at a disadvantage. Furthermore, with rates of childhood obesity on the rise and activity for kids at an all-time low, those preteen years are some of the most important for staying active.
Don’t panic, though. The cycling system isn’t broken, and access to every level of cycling has improved for girls in recent years. We can get more girls on bikes.