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Ladies, what about street harassment?

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Ladies, what about street harassment?

Old 05-30-14, 11:20 AM
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jade408
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Ladies, what about street harassment?

I was chatting with some friends about this the other day. I am new to utility biking, getting a bike just a few months ago. I am not so new to "street harassment." Sadly it has been well over 20 years for me, and I am in my 30s.

I am well aware that street harassment varies significantly for women based on ethnic background, body shape, perceived attractiveness, and location. There is a big range. I am sure for some of you nothing happens, and for others it happens all the time. Obviously there is a thin line between flirting and catcalls, and some people think we should find this attention "flattering." But most of the time it is annoying, and it can easily veer into scary. Many incidents start off pretty harmless and quicky escalate. I've been cursed out, followed, yelled out. And not once has any passerby chimed in to tell the jerk to pipe down.

So I thought it would be interesting to share experiences here.

One thing I have found interesting since I started biking around town, the catcalls and comments are infinitely more pleasant than what I get when walking around. In fact some are downright clever. Mostly stuff like "Can I go on a bike ride with you." "Do you have space for me on your bike?"

It is interesting how much it has differed for me, what are your experiences?
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Old 05-30-14, 11:28 AM
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Not that I would know (as even I don't have access), but this topic may already exist elsewhere- http://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...n-s-forum.html
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Old 05-30-14, 01:51 PM
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I don't get too much harassment for being female while riding. Usually it is just "Get off the road!" anti-cyclist harassment.


Once I was wearing a yellow jersey while riding and had someone call out "Lance, is that you?"

I replied "Yeah! I got a sex change."
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Old 05-30-14, 05:36 PM
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I get some variation of "Can I riiiiiide wit' chu?" or some other borderline "compliment" just about every time I'm on my bike, and it is pretty annoying. For the most part, however, I get simple, friendly greetings, which is fine. I've only experienced one really bad incident: I was stopped at a light one morning on my way to work, and a man called out a greeting as he was about to cross the street. I responded politely, and then he turned nasty. He actually stood behind me (in the middle of the street, mind you), and proceeded to let me know in explicit, graphic terms just what he thought of my rear end and what he wanted to do to me. I tried to ignore him at first, but he just got louder and more disgusting and stood just a little closer and closer. That was the only time in my entire life that I have ever screamed at anyone to "f*** off, *******!" to their face. There was another man in a truck waiting to make a right turn who heard/saw the whole thing, but of course he didn't say anything. At long last, the light turned green, and I was able to ride away. Looking back, I realize that I wasn't afraid, though - just absolutely, red-hot, spitting mad.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:17 PM
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I think basically all of the harassment I've gotten on the road has been basically just the anti-cyclist kind. Some of it has been plenty belligerent, but it wasn't sexual in nature. Just "get off the road" and "f* you" and so on. I had a raw egg hurled at me once. But I am sort of medium height, have short hair, and tend to wear fairly generic, unisex clothes and I suspect that people mostly just see the bike and the helmet and ignore the rider in between.

I don't tend to walk much except in my immediate neighborhood, because I'm always on my bike. And I don't even own a dress or skirt, so I can't comment much about catcalls and other stuff while walking.

But if I'm riding through an area where I would really rather not be on foot, I have no compunctions about running red lights whenever it's safe, so that I don't have to stay stopped at an intersection. If I get a ticket for doing that, I'll pay it without complaint, and figure that at least I probably won't be mugged while standing next to a cop writing me up. But generally those are the areas where no one cares about a cyclist running a light anyway.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:31 PM
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Where are you at? I found that (while I'm not a woman) it depends on where you're at. I lived in N.C. and my wife and I got constantly harassed by the locals and their 4x4's. Moved to Portland and don't have that issue at all. Nobody says a word.
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Old 05-30-14, 11:19 PM
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I've lived in several places in Canada and Australia, and have cycled in many other parts of the world. And I've done a lot of my cycling solo.

As others have mentioned, I've had the usual "Get off the road", and other yells (most of which I can't hear because they are driving by too fast). I've had bottles thrown at me, and twice people attempted to door me (where they drive up behind and swing open the passenger door to hit you).

But as for female-specific harrassment ... not much. The odd "Nice butt" or words to that effect, a couple times guys have attempted to slap me from their moving cars, and once a guy nearly drove me into the ditch while calling out his window that he wanted to give me a ride. He drove off after I screamed at him to leave me alone and kicked his door.

But that's over a lot of years and a lot of distance. I've had a lot more people being nice to me and helping me along the way.


Although I have the distinguishing feature of waist-length hair, I wear it in a braid so it is out of the way and not quite so obvious. I also wear generic cycling clothes. I've only started to wear pink and somewhat more feminine styles since I've moved to Australia and have started cycling with Rowan.

Clothing might make a difference, or perhaps it is also where I ride.
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Old 05-30-14, 11:38 PM
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As far as gender-specific harassment, I've had very little (less than I'd have walking around). Just the usual cyclist harassment - including some oddly laced with slurs against demographic groups that I am not part of. The most threatening things I've encountered on the road, actually, were feral dogs.

The only really odd incident was when I was cycling in south Orange County one time. I stopped to take pictures over a bridge, and while I was getting back on my bike, a gentleman in a very nice expensive car pulled up and tried to ask me out. In doing so, he gave me his complete resume - job title, employer, salary, and so forth. It was extremely non-threatening, but also extremely strange.
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Old 07-08-18, 01:58 PM
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Catcalling or street harassment is a big issue for me. Once I said to a runner, who ignored me due to ear phones that I was behind him and asked if he could excuse me. He turned around and said, "damn you are hot as hell" and said I was so hot I should keep biking since it made me hot. Ugh.
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