I recently had a go at putting together a submission on the Australian federal government’s, Walking, riding and access to public transport draft report. The report itself however has some interesting chapters with sections on topics such as who regularly rides a bicycle in Australia. I thought these sections where worth a closer look. This is the second in a series of posts taking a closer look at the report. The first post looked at how Australians commute to work and study and this post looks at who regularly rides a bicycle in Australia. The third post explores the economic benefits of cycling.
Section 2.1.3 of the *Walking, riding and access to public transport* draft report takes a look at who regularly rides a bicycle in Australia.
Cycling Participation Across Australia
The data referenced in this report is taken from the 2011 National Cycling Participation Survey which surveyed 24,858 people in Australia. The survey found that 17.8% of the population had ridden a bicycle in the previous week and 26.5% of the population had ridden at least once in the previous month.
Of the population that rode a bicycle, more where males than females which supports the observation evidence and children out participate adults. Which again confirms what we know: we are not converting children who ride into adults who ride.
On a positive note the survey found evidence that Western Australia had significantly higher participation rates than the national average, so a tick to Western Australians.
So why do ride? Well the question was asked if the survey participants rode at least once in the past week for transportation purposes and 35% of the population (34.4% of West Australians) said yes. This suggests that active transportation is an important issue for Australians and West Australians.
Cycling Participation in Perth
Whilst Darwin is the most active city when it comes to cycling, Perth comes in third place, with 45% of the population riding a bicycle in the past year and 30% riding in the past month.
Riding to Work or Study
Whilst cycling as the usual form of transport to work or study is low at 1.5% based on 2009 data, 11.3% of the population ride a bicycle as their alternative mode of travel to work or study according the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) Environmental Issues: Waste Management and Transport Use.
Whilst there is some evidence of growth in riding bicycles to work or study, there is both clearly room for growth and for more reliable data.
So what can we conclude? We are using bicycles, we are using bicycles for transport but we are not using bicycles to get to work. There is clearly a long way to go to make cycling a normal mode of active transport in the context of riding to work.