'Suffragettes' cycle through Manchester for women's safety

Suffragettes bike ride Image copyright Sustrans/Livia Lazar
Image caption The cyclists ended up in Alexandra Park, where the suffragettes held many of their rallies

Sustainable transport campaigners have cycled through Manchester dressed as Suffragettes to highlight how many women do not feel safe enough to cycle.

The Sustrans riders cycled via the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst.

They celebrated "the bicycle's role in women's history" and illustrated cycling's "gender imbalance".

Its "Bike Life" survey of 4,000 people in Greater Manchester found that men were more than twice as likely to cycle than women.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Suffragettes often attended demonstrations on bikes, as seen here where they are advertising a meeting at which Emmeline Pankhurst spoke in July 1914

Rosslyn Colderley, a director of the group, said: "The Suffragettes got on their bikes to fight for the right to vote... many women told us cycling is not a real choice for them at the moment as they say the roads don't feel safe."

Glynis Francis of Manchester Bike Tours, which helped organise the event, said Manchester streets and parks "are full of the history of the suffragettes on their bicycles".

"Their efforts gave us the right to vote and also helped challenge perceptions about women, such as the clothes we wear... women still love the freedom of the bicycle but our roads can feel dangerous to some. We want to change that."

The event was part of Transport for Greater Manchester's Women on Wheels activities in March and comes ahead of International Women's Day on Tuesday.

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