With a djellaba on you can't ride a bikeAafke Verbeek , Universiteit Wageningen
An explorative research about the factors that influence bicycle use among Moroccan immigrants in
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From municipal statistics it appeared that only 40% of the Moroccans in Amsterdam uses a bicycle compared to 80% of the Dutch inhabitants. There are several arguments to stimulate bicycle use among Moroccans, though Amsterdam has no special policy measures which focus on this objective.
The main research question which was dealt with was the following:
“Do the factors that influence bicycle use among Moroccan immigrants differ to such an extent from the factors that influence bicycle use among other inhabitants in Amsterdam, that there is reason for specific measures within the bicycle policy plan to stimulate cycling among this population?”
To answer this question 26 interviews took place with policy experts, key persons in the Moroccan community and with individual Moroccans. Two kinds of interviews were held: face-to-face interviews and group interviews. Group interviews were held with Moroccan women that follow bicycle lessons and with scholars who follow professional education.
With the help of the Social Practices model –adapted to the field of cycling behaviour- the different factors that influence bicycle use are categorized. With this model it is shown that, to stimulate bicycle use among Moroccans, the focus point of bicycle policy should move from the side of the social structure to the individual/ background characteristics and social-cultural factors at the other side of the model.
Several motives came forward why Moroccans don’t use a bike in Amsterdam. First of all Moroccans don’t have a ‘bicycle culture’, nor a cycling tradition and many of them do not know how to cycle. Among Moroccans the bicycle has a negative image and it is socially not completely accepted in the Moroccan community, especially not for Moroccan women. Furthermore for some Moroccans the purchase of a bike
is a financial constraint. Many of them do not possess a bike.
These factors might apply to other (non-western) immigrants as well, for example the Turkish immigrants, but they do not apply to the Dutch inhabitants in Amsterdam.
If the municipality wants to stimulate bicycle use among its inhabitants, it has to focus on immigrants as well, since almost 40 % of the inhabitants in Amsterdam is of non-Dutch origin. To stimulate bicycle use among immigrants, such as Moroccans, the municipality has to take special measures that take into account the special characteristics of this population, such as the fact that many of them cannot cycle and belong to a culture which does not have a cycling tradition.
Special measures could be bicycle lessons, bicycle activities and promotional campaigns. Which measures are most effective for this objective should be investigated with further research.