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Cycling for all? A feminist analysis of the Tokyo Bicycle Utilisation Promotion strategy

Abstract : The Japanese cycling culture is unique insofar as women constitute the majority of cyclists, a pattern rarely observed in Western countries. Past research on the barriers to women cycling has identified cycle lanes and paths as a solution to support women cycling. Gender inclusive cyclist profiles have also been related to greater gender equality, as domestic and care tasks would be incompatible with cycling. Tokyo does not follow this pattern: only 1.6% of the road network displays some form of cycling infrastructure, and cyclists often share the space with pedestrians, may it be on the footpaths or on narrow roads. Moreover, Japan still suffers from strong gender inequalities, and the vast majority of domestic tasks are still taken up by women. Cycling has been left aside by policymakers until the adoption of the national Bicycle Utilisation Promotion Plan in 2018, quickly adapted into a local plan by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2019. This working paper uses a feminist policy analysis framework to analyse Tokyo's current bicycle strategy, the goal being to investigate whether policymakers addressed the gendered nature of this mobility practice, and the inequalities associated with it. This analysis is enriched with secondary data and interviews conducted with key stakeholders in cycling promotion and gender equality activism in Japan. Three key narratives are identified: one about the average cyclist and cycling trip according to policymakers ; another about the risks posed by the current negotiated cycling practice, and a final one about the need for a strict separation of cyclists from pedestrians. These narratives are critically assessed ; alternative, feminist narratives are then outlined using secondary data and stakeholders' contributions in interviews.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 6:24:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 8:36:48 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03683676, version 1




Marion Lagadic. Cycling for all? A feminist analysis of the Tokyo Bicycle Utilisation Promotion strategy. 2022. ⟨hal-03683676⟩



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