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Title: Cycling experiences : exploring social influence and gender perspectives
Author: Dalton, Aja Susanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 6530
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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Whilst a significant gender gap in bicycle usage in the UK has been apparent for some time, the reasons why women are cycling less than men has not been comprehensively studied. Similarly, whilst we know that people influence each other's travel choices, social influence and cycling have been little studied. This qualitative research added to knowledge of this important health and transport policy area by providing new data on women's and men's experiences of cycling in two UK cities; Bristol and Cardiff. A reflexive sociological perspective, which combined influences from both critical realism and feminism, informed the research and shaped the research design and the data production and analysis. A total of 49 discussions were conducted with females and males who currently cycle, using a novel two-stage methodology, involving 42 semi-structured interviews and 7 linked social reference focus groups (SRFGs), with social contacts of the initial interviewee. This method was designed in order to detect social influence on (inward) and from (outward) research participants. The data were analysed using thematic analysis and presented using five key themes; affective barriers, affective enablers, instrumental barriers, instrumental enablers, and gendered aspects of the cycling experience. Key differences were identified around aggression and competitiveness in cycling, gendered norms on clothing and appearance and the continuation of gendered social roles. However, a large degree of commonality between men and women was also present, especially around the desire for a safer and more attractive cycling experience. Social influence was explored using 'social maps', which participants made to describe their key social influences related to cycling. Social influence was gendered, with women more likely to encourage other women, and men other men. Participants also portrayed their influence as largely positive, with no or few negative social influences, although instrumental influencers were sometimes viewed as negative. The research highlighted the need to encourage women to cycle by both providing better for their infrastructural needs, but also to recognise the often different ways in which they might approach cycling in policy initiatives. Further research could explore ways in which this could be achieved, and also provide a comparative analysis of men's and women's cycling experience between a UK location and a high-cycling country location, such as the Netherlands, Denmark or Germany.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available