How Canberrans use their bike

The National Cycling Participation Survey tells us how Canberrans use their bike and what they think about cycling.

How many ride bikes

In the ACT, “the proportion riding for transport is much higher than the national average.” (p.7)

“Among those who had ridden at least once in the past year, and had travelled at least once for one of the transport purposes (commuting, education, public transport, shopping and visiting friends or relatives) most had ridden for commuting, education or shopping. Very few had ridden to access public transport. “

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 7

This is multimodal travel which is important for active travel and getting people on bikes. Many more ride for commuting and to education than elsewhere in Australia. (p.7).

“Around 57% of households have access to a working bicycle. “

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 8

Any statement about the proportion e-bikes is widely uncertain.

Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on Pexels.com
Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on Pexels.com

What we think of cycling in the ACT

“Just over half of respondents indicated they were not interested in riding for transport, with most of the remainder being interested but not actively doing so. Around 7.6% identified themselves as cautious riders; that is, they already ride for transport but prefer circuitous routes to avoid traffic. “

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 10

“The majority of riders felt that conditions for riding in their local area not changed (80%) over the past 12 months.”

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 11

“Most of those who had ridden in the past year had done so at least once for recreation or exercise (89%) or shopping (63%).”

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 11

“The most common reason for not riding a bike to work is too far and too many items to carry.”

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 12

From a graph: the reason 64% of people don’t travel to school or university is that is it too far. There is much to be said for going to school locally. Local and good quality schools are important.

“When asked why they don’t use the cycling for shopping they answer that there are too many items to carry (55%). “

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019)

This is a cultural phenomenon. A bike is a poor choice for a once-weekly shop. In Europe people often shop locally and daily at their local shop or market. The routine is work, shop, pick up the children and go home. The work may not be local but everything else is local. Kids own bikes from a very young age and ride home like a family of ducks. Cargo bikes (electric) carry shopping and multiple kids in one basket.

Electric cargo bike. Photo Mark Stosberg from Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Electric cargo bike. Photo Mark Stosberg from Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What would make us ride more

“Respondents were asked to prioritise actions that could be taken to encourage bicycle riding. The most supported actions (from figure 3.8) were: 

> more off-road paths and cycleways (62% of respondents rated this a very high or high priority)

> better connections between bike paths and schools (51%)

> better connections between bike paths and shops (51%)

> more signs highlighting bicycle routes (41%)

> more on-road bicycle lanes (40%)

> better connections between bike paths and parks and swimming pools (40%). “

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 13

Lower speed limits save lives. We know that and research has been telling us so for years. But people still don’t know that. Skills training get people on bikes. They change their habits and learn to feel comfortable and safe on a bike. Safety and transport psychology are important for the success of active travel and people’s wellbeing. 😊

The least likely reasons are: lower local road speed limits, and more bike skills training.

The National Cycling Participation Survey (NCPS), Austroads (2019), page 14

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

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