In August 2011 the Australian Bicycle Council released the results of the National Cycling Participation Survey. The survey found that in a typical week around 18% of Australians ride a bicycle for transport and recreation with around 3.6 million people riding for recreation, leisure or sport and 1.2 million people making at least one transport journey.
The Northern Territory, ACT and Western Australia have cycling participation rates significantly higher than the national average. NSW has lowest rate of participation.
The highest level of participation is amongst children with nearly two thirds of 5-9 year olds riding a bike in a typical week. This drops dramatically in adulthood with just 9% of people aged 40 and over riding in a typical week.
Men and boys are more likely to ride a bicycle than women and girls: 22% of males and 13% of females ride in a typical week. The gender difference is smallest for children under 10 and is reduced in areas where there are generally higher levels of participation across all age groups
The National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016 aims to double the number of Australian bicycle riders. To measure performance towards this target the Australian Bicycle Council commissioned research to obtain baseline data on cycling participation in Australia. The survey was funded by all State and Territory Road Authorities – the first of its kind in Australia.
The survey was conducted by telephone interviews with a random selection of households across Australia. A total of 9,661 households consisting of 24,858 individuals were interviewed. Respondents were asked when they and other members of their household had last ridden a bicycle, and if in the past week, how often and for what purposes they had ridden.