Sexism on the Road?

Venus and Mars

So do you think your gender may influence your safety on the road? After a month now of commuting to work by bike I have noticed that I get a different reaction from drivers depending on their gender. Females tend to be more impatient than the males.

I am curious to know if it would be different if I were a male commuter? I find myself having to make more efforts with eye contact with the woman than I do with male drivers. Not to say there hasn’t been an occasional male driver that has nearly run me down. But for the most part I find they tend to be more aware. But is that the case as a male biker? I think it is just a rarity to see a commuter out here at all, especially a female.

female rider

Sure I need to be safe and aware at all times but I find myself with my defenses down a bit more with the males opposed to the females.

Do you find that depending on your gender you receive different reactions from the opposite or same sex? Do male riders get more respect on the road?

Sign up for our Adventure-Packed Newsletter

Get our latest touring, commuting and family cycling posts and sales delivered to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

0 thoughts on “Sexism on the Road?”

  1. RL Policar says:

    Well, to me a car is a car. I notice women are more alert than men just because they’re checking me out while I’m riding….

  2. Moe says:

    Interesting… I find that most females drivers don’t know what to do when they encounter a cyclist riding in traffic. They give me the right of way or they just ignore me altogether and cut me off. I had one female driver stay behind me for a couple of blocks even though the left lane was open. It made me kind of nervous.

    Being a bike commuter, I respect ANY cyclist male or female when I drive my truck.

  3. Jay says:

    RL – You’re so humble! The ladies are probably doing a double take to make sure they are really seeing a man with shaved legs….sorry I couldn’t resist…I’m over it now and will finally let the “men shaving their legs topic” die.

    I have not noticed any difference between men and women as far has drivers being courteous. Out here in farmland USA the only time it gets scary on the roads is during our 10 minute rush hour…generally 7:50am to 8:00am when everyone is driving like mad to get to work on time. The rest of the time about 8 cars out of 10 get all the way over into the other lane when passing. The other two just straddle the yellow line and give me minimal room. When my wife and I are biking with our kids..i.e. me pulling our daughter in the trailer and our son in the bike seat on my wife’s bike…people give all kinds of room. Gives me hope for society that they are quite careful when kids are involved. They’ll follow us politely at 15 mph up a hill without honking and then get over completely into the other lane when passing. Maybe we Hoosiers are just a bunch of down home country folk….

  4. Jay says:

    RL- LOL! That’s Awesome!

  5. Chris says:

    Of the drivers I’ve had scare me, most of them have been women. I ride in pretty nice neighborhoods, and it seems there is an attitude women get when they drive expensive SUVs. Men are usually the ones who yell and curse me, but the women almost knock me over.

  6. rubbish! says:

    I find women drivers to be the scarier ones as well. I’ve never really had any close encounters with male drivers, but can think of a few right off the bat with women drivers.

  7. Lani says:

    I’ll have to agree with you. This morning especially, I found the Mom’s who just dropped off their kids to school were either in a hurry or just didn’t care that they were accelerating and burning more fuel just to get to the next stop sign. On my way home, I saw a young female driver do a double take and gave me a “Whatda?!” look.
    I don’t have sexy legs like RL, but I’ll have to say that vanity does run in the family. The male drivers do slow down to check out my “bubumpbump!” Ha! Ha!

  8. RL says:


    Yeah, I get that too…”The male drivers do slow down to check out my “bubumpbump!”

  9. Bill says:

    After 35 years of commuting the only sure conclusions I have been able to make are these:

    Men and women drivers seem equally capable of good or bad actions except for young men. I mean any male driver below about 25 years old. Young men will do things to a cyclist on purpose. Young men have yelled at me for no apparent reason. They have thrown stuff at me. They have pulled along side and reached out to try to grab me. They have swerved at me with the driver and passenger then looking at each other and laughing after they pass.

    As for a specific vehicle to watch out for, it’s a school bus. If you were driving a large vehicle containing 40 out-of-control kids how distracted would you be?

    Any area near a school when kids are being dropped off or picked up is not a place to be on a bicycle. Parents don’t seem to see anything but kids, and school buses. If suddenly you come into to view, if seen at all, parents get angry and blow their horns. I guess their stress level is over the limit with kids and school.

  10. LosFelizRider says:

    I commute 1-2/wk by bicycle in the car capital of the country: Los Angeles. My commute takes me through Hollywood and West Hollywood, two of the most congested areas of the city (and the streets are narrow to boot). I’ve lived here for 5 years. Before that, I commuted occasionally in Seattle where I lived. Seattle is very bicycle-friendly but the climate is terrible.

    The climate in L.A. is great but the traffic is legendary.

    My observations about L.A. car commuters are these.

    Males and females are equal offenders. It’s more about their social position and at-the-moment situation than their gender.

    Any driver shuttling their kids to school in the morning is a hazard to cyclists. Those drivers are distracted in a hurry usually driving larger vehicles.

    Mercedes drivers, especially Mercedes SUV drivers, are, generally speaking, the worst drivers. Aggressive but unskilled. Arrogant and unyielding. Any driver, male or female, behind the wheel of a new Mercedes is potential road rash or worse.

    Drivers talking on their phones are, by and large, dangerous. But it’s when they’re yelling or very animated on the phone, that’s when you know you need to get away from them fast. They’re not concentrating on driving.

    This next observation is odd to me, but: On the freeway, I find that the best drivers are truckers. Polite, skilled, and decisive. But on the surface streets of L.A. the drivers of delivery trucks (mail, water, wholesale goods, whatever) are awful. Intimidating and not against using their girth to run you into the sidewalk. Not sure why this is.

    I enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


20% off ALL Ortlieb Bag Closeouts! Shop Closeouts

Scroll to Top