October 6, 2022

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Transport minister: Women can’t cycle to work in skirts or dresses

A transport minister has been ridiculed on social media today after telling a House of Commons Select Committee that women cannot commute to bike

Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport made the remark when she appeared before the Transport Committee today to discuss e-scooters.

The gist of her comments was tweeted from the account of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking, its post quickly gaining a flurry of replies.

Some came from women who have themselves commuted by bike while wearing skirts, dresses, or whatever takes their fancy – one of the replies coming from Roxanne de Beaux, executive director of Camcycle, the Cambridge cycling campaign group.

Others – such as Coventry’s cycling mayor, Adam Tranter – pointed out that cycling in everyday clothing is something that people in countries such as the Netherlands, which have prioritised cycling including providing safe infrastructure, have done for decades.

He wasn’t the only one to mention Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands and Denmark were referenced in a number of replies.

Following on from that point, other Twitter users responding to the post highlighted that there needs to be a shift in attitudes in the UK to get away from the cliché of cycling being the domain of people in Lycra riding at speed.