Victorians are the nation's most active cyclists, clocking up 1.08 million bike rides each week as 367,000 Melburnians take the two-wheeled option for transport rather than fun, according to a survey released today.
The National Cycling Participation Survey found that four million people across the country typically ride a bike each week - a result that could raise pressure on state and local governments to increase safety measures to protect cyclists.
The survey, believed to be the largest of Australian cycling habits carried out to date, was commissioned as part of a five-year federal and state cycling strategy.
State by state, the research found Victoria was Australia's most active riding state, with 1.08 million riders each week, followed by New South Wales (1.05 million), Queensland (814,000), Western Australia (512,000), South Australia (299,000), Tasmania (97,000), the ACT (79,000) and the Northern Territory (60,000).
The phone survey of 10,000 Australians found that in a typical week, 3.6 million people ride a bike for recreation, leisure or sport, and 1.2 million make at least one transport journey by bike.
Overall, the survey – taken between February and April this year – found that 18 per cent of people rode a bike at least once each week.
And it found that 35 per cent of those polled had used their bicycle for transport rather than recreation alone.
The study found that 367,000 Melburnians cycle for transport at least once a week.
Last year, state and federal transport ministers pledged to double cycling rates by 2016.
The most reliable measure of cycling for transport, the Census, found in its most recent survey of the nation in 2006, that just 1.6 per cent of the Victorian population cycled to work.
The new participation survey, designed by engineers Sinclair Knight Merz to gain a better understanding of current cycling rates, was carried out between February and April.
Bicycle Victoria was provided with a copy of the report before its release, and this morning chief executive Harry Barber said the study results would form a critical baseline so that efforts to increase cycling participation in the next five years could be properly judged.
“These results shine the light on the numbers and types of people across Australia who are riding bikes each week, each month, each year - and the reasons they are riding,” Mr Barber said.