National Cycling Survey stats have come out – and it’s both good and bad news. We’re buying more bikes in Australia – but cycle participation is flatlining. 

New stats compiled by the Australian Bicycle Council show that South Australians are riding more often. An estimated 270,000 South Australians are riding a bike each week – up from 220,000 in 2013. A quarter of those cycling do so for transport – and a whopping 88% cycle for recreation.

But before we congratulate ourselves – we need to remember that South Australia’s level of cycling participation is slightly below the National (State) average. (WA, NT and the ACT lead with higher participation than the other 5 states and territories.)


Take a look nationally – and the picture isn’t quite as rosy. Overall, cycling participation rates have changed little since 2011. 

So the message is clear, at the current rate of cycling investment from South Australian state and local governments’, the target to double participation by 2020 will not be achieved.

As the state’s peak body representing recreational and commuter cyclists, Bike SA will continue to work hard to lobby all levels of government to invest appropriately in cycling infrastructure and education programs. It is a basic right in any civil society that the ability to choose safe and variable transport options is respected.

The Bright Side

On the bright side, Australians are buying a lot of bikes. Between 2014 and 2015 – we managed to sell almost 1.5 million treadlies – a national record. And to those who still think car is king, bike sales have been beating car sales for the last 15 years in a row.

What’s the lesson to be learnt? We’re buying bikes – but we’re just not riding enough.

“Both the sales record and the responses from Australians we have surveyed over the last 5 years show massive interest in cycling,” says Stephen Hodge, from the Cycling Promotion Fund.

Ultimately, Australians would choose to cycle for transport if it was safer and there was better infrastructure. Until then – we’re going to see too many sad bicycles hanging out all by themselves in sheds.


Download the report here or a summary on South Australia.

Key Stats. 

  • The Australian Bicycle Council bi-annual surveys published by Austroads record progress against the National Cycling Strategy targets which aim to double the participation between 2011 and 2016. Instead there has been little change since 2011. 
  • Four million Australians have cycled in the last year, 17.4% of the Australian population had ridden in the previous week, 24.3% had ridden in the previous month and 36.3% had ridden at least once in the previous year.
  • The results show a marginal decline in weekly cycling participation from 18.2% in 2011 to 17.4% in 2015. In the ACT, WA and NT rates have slightly increased.

Further Reading of interest