When growing up my brother and I where taught that, when it's night, you should offer girls/women to ride along when you are on bike or on foot to prevent unsafe situations. This wasn't saying that women aren't able to stand up for themselves but that there are some creeps out there. If you're not alone you are not as an easy target for sexual assualt, robbery etc. My parents told us this because we grew up in a somewhat rural area where a >7km bike ride is normal to get home. My brother and I often got home late from parties because a female friend lived far away and had to cycle there in the dark. We are raised on the idea that if something happens and you didn't offer to ride along you are partially to blame.
The example above is from when we were teenagers. Now, somewhat older (25), I have trouble applying the message from my parents that is hardwired into my brain. I recently started a job at a company where most of my colleagues are the same age. The location of the firm is at the outskirts of the city and we sometimes work evening shifts until late in the evening. I notice that some female colleagues have to ride home in the dark alone and I would like to offer to ride along for safety purposes. However, I'm afraid this comes of as either a romantic advance (I'm in a relationship so not my intent) or something condescending ("Do you think I can't take care of myself?"). I don't have to ride to their home since we mostly live in the same city and the populated areas are fine. I'm talking about the dark and desolate area between the company and the centre of the city. So my question comes down to this I think: "How do I offer to ride along with a women for the sole purpose of everyone being safe without implying alternative motives?" Workplace relations can be a slippery slope so I don't want to send the wrong message.
Some extra information:
- Not to many people my age own a car. In my country we have more bikes than people so it's the preferred method of transportation
- Most of my co-workers and I started the job in the same training group so we all know each other a bit and are on friendly terms
- I'm only offering. No is no.
- We recently had a national uproar when a woman my age went on a bike ride and never returned. She was later found raped and murdered. This only solidified my beliefs.
- It should be a disclaimer that I want to offer this for the safety of others but also for my own conscience.