Cycling participation in South Australia

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

Road surveys are considered a gauge of community cycling participation. Mandatory bicycle helmet laws were enforced in South Australia for all ages from 1 July 1991.

In their submission to the 2015/16 Australian Senate Committee of Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts (#287), academics from the University of NSW included the figures below as evidence that cycling participation in South Australia wasn't affected by the mandatory bicycle helmet law.

cycling participation in south australia

Their calculations are based on the 1990 and 1993 Health Omnibus Survey all-age results in Evaluation of the Compulsory Helmet Wearing Legislation for Bicyclists in South Australia authored by J. Marshall and M. White and published in 1994 by the South Australian Department of Transport.

South Australia's population in 1990 was 1,432,056, of which 21.8% is 312,188 people cycling at least once a week.

The National Cycling Participation survey (p11) estimated that 16.6% of the population, or 279,900 South Australians, cycled weekly in 2015.

Roy Morgan research published in May 2015 estimated that 19% of the population aged 14+, or 269,640 South Australians, cycled regularly in 2014/15.

South Australia's total population increased 18.6% from 1,432,056 in 1990 to 1,698,594 in 2015.

Below is extracted from the Evaluation of the Compulsory Helmet Wearing Legislation for Bicyclists in South Australia referenced above.

south australia bike riding

The data above suggest that based on 1990 and 1993 surveys of 3,000 households across South Australia, the percentage of respondents aged 15yo+ who cycled at least one a week fell 1.6%, and the percentage aged <15yo increased 0.4% - with female participation declining 0.7% and 3.9% respectively.

south australia bike riding

The data above suggest that based on September/October counts of cyclists entering the City of Adelaide at 18 observation stations from 7am to 10am, numbers dropped 13.7% from pre-law September 1990 to post-law October 1993.

south australia bike riding

The data above suggest that non-preventable cyclist injuries (not influenced by helmet wearing) treated in South Australian hospitals declined 26.6% from pre-law 1990/91 to post-law 1991/92, the authors reporting this was probably due to reduced cycling participation.

adelaide bike riding

The data above suggest that the average number of daily cyclists in Adelaide fell by 55% between pre-law 1986 and post-law 1999.

Below is extracted from Moving Australians Sustainably: Transport Policy in the National Interest August 2007.

adelaide bike riding

The data above suggest that the proportion of children cycling to Adelaide schools fell from 14% in 1981 to 4.5% in 1997.

Below is extracted from RAA Member Panel: Cycling published 2014 by the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia.

south australia bike riding

The survey above of its member panel by the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia found 20% would cycle more if not required to wear a helmet, with 8% not knowing, and 36% believed either that helmets should not be mandatory or only mandatory in certain locations.

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

south australia bike riding

Across South Australia, the data above suggest that when surveyed over the full 12 months of 1985/86 including winter, there were 171,100 bike trips per day by South Australian cyclists aged 9+.

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

south australia bike riding

Across South Australia, the data above suggest that when surveyed in the warm months of March and April, 188,321 people in South Australia aged 10+ cycled per week in 2011, which equates (multiplied by an average 4.7 trips per week in South Australia divided by seven days) to an average 126,444 trips per day.

Compared to the 171,100 in 1985/86, this represents a decrease of 26.1% from 1985/86 to 2011, with the population of South Australia increasing 22.2% from 1986 to 2011 (1,345,945 to 1,644,642).

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

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 a decrease in South Australian daily cycling participation from 2011 to 2015 - down from 17.9% to 16.6%, while monthly cycling declined from 27.0% to 23.1% and yearly cycling declined from 39.3% to 33.0%.

Aged 9+, the data above suggest daily bike trips decreased 60.7% from 1985/86 to 2015 (171,000 > 67,261), despite South Australian population growth of 24.6% from 1986 to 2014.

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

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

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