Almost a third more Australians got to work by bike on the day of the 2006 census than five years previously, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In 2006, 29 percent more people in Australia’s capital cities got to work entirely by bike than in 2001, and 22 percent more used a bike for all or part of their journey.
This encouraging increase is coming off a small base, however. Only 1.19 percent of journeys to work in Australia were made by bike in 2001 and this went up to 1.34 percent in 2006.
One of the biggest increases was in Melbourne, which recorded a staggering 48 percent jump in bike-only journeys to work between 2001 and 2006. There was also a healthy increase in the proportion of journeys by bike, from 1.21 percent to 1.60 percent
Census data provides a ‘snapshot’ of bike use on the day of the census itself and may therefore be affected by factors like weather.
Elliot Fishman of the Australian bike industry’s Cycling Promotion Fund told BikeRadar that the day of the 2006 census was sunny in Melbourne, but “the data is supported by Bike Victoria’s surveys and by detector loop data from Melbourne bike paths.”
Where people live, and therefore their distance to work, is a big determinant of whether they ride to work. Seven percent of journeys to work in inner Melbourne’s City of Yarra were carried out by bike, compared to just 0.5 percent from the outlying Greater Dandenong area. Australian cities tend to sprawl – Melbourne’s 3.8 million people occupy 2,153km², compared to Greater London’s 7.5 million in 1,579km².