Cycling in the ACT

Photo by Aa Dil on

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS) is unusual for Australia. It is a standardised survey that has been repeated every two years since 2011. Repeating the survey regularly is the only way to find trends. The survey provides data on cycling participation across Australia and estimates of participation in the ACT too.

Key findings for the ACT

Here is the key findings for the ACT. The full report on the website.

The right of passage

The proportion of the population cycling drops by roughly by two thirds between the teenage and early adult years. Once the youth learn to drive, they never come back.

Portion of the population cycling by age (ACT 2019): The participation rate declines precipitously as older children become adults.

Cycling in the ACT is stagnating

There no major shifts across any gender or age group between 2011 and 2019. Children aged under 10 were most likely to have cycled in the past week.

What was the study about?

Barriers for cycling

The study was NOT about the barriers to cycling by non-cyclists are therefore well understood. About 93,700 residents ride in a typical week. The cycling participation rate in the ACT is significantly higher than the national average. Men are significantly more likely to have ridden in the past week than women: 28% males and 17% females rode in the last week.

Trends measured

The survey includes a series of attitudinal indicators which provide information on:

  • feelings of comfort while riding
  • change in cycling conditions over the past 12 months
  • barriers to riding for different purposes (commuting, education, shopping, recreation, and to access public transport)
  • priorities to improve cycling conditions.

Limitations due to sample sizes

The population sample is so small and the confidence interval of 95% so large that small variations of just a few percent in cycling participation between 2011-2019 could not be detected with certainty. Bigger samples are needed for such small gains. But we are certain there has been no dramatic change. The ABS Census 2011 and 2016 would support this.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on


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