This morning, I happened across an article entitled "How to Conquer Bikephobia" in the Toronto Star. Occasionally, puff pieces such as this have little nuggets. This one had the following, hidden amongst the usual stuff:
"We Canadians, however, aren't doing so well at a 30 per cent bike share for women, and maybe a 2 per cent commute share for bikes. (The trend is similar in the U.S and Australia.) In Toronto, just 1.7 per cent of the population rode to work in 2006 – just 35 per cent of them female. But we're not the worst city, laughs Pucher. "In Dallas, Texas, 95 per cent of bicyclists are men. Which is disgusting!" (emphasis added by yours truly)
Where do numbers such as this come from? 95%? Maybe so, and I can't say I've been counting, but 1/3 of the regular bike commuters in my building (there are three of us so I'm pretty sure this is accurate data) are women - which is greater than the overall fraction of female workers in the building. Maybe Dallas really IS a lot different than Tarrant County, but apart from the temptation to engage in a little Dallas-bashing, I can't believe that things are all that much different than Tarrant County.
I did a little more checking, and this claims it came from Scientific American, though I could find no mention of it there. It also cites "Bike Pittsburgh" as a source, here. It doesn't really seem to have very high fidelity data, though it does claim that St Louis has a 1.4% bike share amongst men but a zero share amongst women. Tulsa, on the other hand, achieved parity with 0.4% share amongst both sexes. Amazing!
I don't know, this one sort of seemed a little too far beyond the pale to ignore, even if it WAS a Canadian paper. Does Pucher just make these things up out of thin air or maybe they just twisted something completely around and have no editors awake at the paper?