Cycling participation in New South Wales

Also see cycling participation in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Road surveys are considered a gauge of community cycling participation. Mandatory bicycle helmet laws were enforced in NSW for adults 16yo> from 1 January 1991 and for children <16yo from 1 July 1991.

Below is extracted from Law Compliance Among Cyclists in New South Wales, April 1992 authored by Michael Walker and published 1992 by the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW.

nsw bike riding

The data above estimates adult and child cycling reductions 16 months after adult helmet law enforcement and 10 months after child helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that 25.7% fewer cyclists were observed at the pre-law 1991 surveys than the post-law 1992 surveys.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo, numbers cycling dropped 31.8% at road intersections, 27.3% at recreation areas and 44.7% fewer were cycling to school when surveyed 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo in different local government areas across Sydney, numbers observed cycling at intersections decreased by 41% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo in different play areas across Sydney, numbers observed cycling decreased by 20.4% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that the number of children aged <16yo cycling to Sydney schools fell by 46.8% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo in different towns across rural NSW, numbers observed cycling at intersections decreased by 16.9% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo in different play areas across rural NSW, numbers observed cycling decreased by 37.2% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that the number of children aged <16yo cycling to schools in rural NSW fell by 40.3% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that the number of students cycling to secondary schools in rural NSW fell by 41.6% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement (1,338 > 781).

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for adults aged 16yo> in different local government areas across Sydney, numbers observed cycling at intersections decreased by 16.1% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for adults aged 16yo> in different towns across rural areas of NSW, numbers observed cycling decreased by 19.1% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for adults aged 16yo> across NSW, serious cyclist numbers declined by 16.1%, commuter cyclist numbers increased by 2% and recreational cyclist numbers declined by 13.5%. Cumulatively, these numbers declined by 10.4% (5,150 > 4,614).

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for all ages, the number cycling on footpaths in Sydney and rural NSW declined 23.1% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement (7,516 > 5,917)

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for adults aged 16yo>, the number of serious, commuter and recreational cyclist on roads and footpaths in NSW declined 14.8% in the 10 months after helmet law enforcement (5,414 > 4,614).

Below is extracted from An Observational Survey of Law Compliance and Helmet Wearing by Bicyclists in New South Wales - 1993 authored by Nariida Smith and Frank Milthorpe and published 1993 by the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for all ages, the number of cyclists across NSW declined 21.3% in the two years after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo, the number of cyclists counted at road intersections, recreation areas and school gates across NSW declined 44.2% in the two years after helmet law enforcement.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that the number of students riding to and from schools across NSW declined 47% in the two years after helmet law enforcement. In Sydney secondary schools, female student cycling declined 90.7% and in rural secondary schools, female student cycling declined 64.3%.

nsw bike riding

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo, the number cycling at recreation areas across NSW declined 30.8% in the two years after helmet law enforcement.

australian weekly cycling participation 2015

The data above suggest that for children aged <16yo, the number counted cycling at intersections across NSW declined 47% in the two years after helmet law enforcement.

australian weekly cycling participation 2015

The data above suggest that for adults aged 16yo>, the number counted cycling at road survey sites across NSW declined 25.9% in the two years after helmet law enforcement.

Below is extracted from Day to Day Travel in Australia 1985-86 published 1988 by the Federal Office of Road Safety.

nsw bike riding

Across NSW, the data above suggest that when surveyed over the full 12 months of 1985/86 including winter, there were 420,700 bike trips per day by NSW cyclists aged 9+.

Below is extracted from 2011 Australian Cycling Participation published by Austroads and the Australian Bicycle Council.

nsw bike riding

Across NSW, the data above suggest that when surveyed in the warm months of March and April, 673,647 people in NSW aged 10+ cycled per week in 2011, which equates (multiplied by an average 4.8 trips per week in NSW divided by seven days) to an average 461,929 trips per day.

Compared to the 420,700 in 1985/86, this represents an increase of 9.8% from 1985/86 to 2011, with the population of NSW increasing 34% from 1986 to 2011 (5,401,881 to 7,238,819).

It should be noted that 1985/86 was five years before helmet law enforcement in NSW.

The tables below show state percentages of cycling weekly, monthly and yearly based on 2011 Australian Cycling Participation, 2013 Australian Cycling Participation and 2015 Australian Cycling Participation published by Austroads and the Australian Bicycle Council.

australian weekly cycling participation 2015

australian weekly cycling participation 2015

australian weekly cycling participation 2015

The data above show there was an increase in NSW daily cycling participation from 2011 to 2015 - up from 14.8% to 16.7%, but monthly cycling declined from 23.9% to 23.4% and yearly cycling declined from 37.5% to 35.8%.

Aged 9+, the data above suggest daily bike trips increased 0.09% (static) from 1985/86 to 2015 (420,700 > 421,069), despite NSW population growth of 38.7% from 1986 to 2014.

All road and telephone survey data above suggest a decline in NSW cycling participation which is ongoing till 2015 on a per capita basis.

Also see cycling participation in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

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