Cycling in Australia

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Cycling in Australia is a common form of transport, recreation and sport.

Many Australians enjoy cycling because it improves their health and reduces road congestion and air pollution. The government has encouraged more people to start, with several state advertising campaigns aimed at increasing safety for those who choose to ride. There is a common perception that riding is a dangerous activity. While it is safer to walk, cycling is a safer method of transport than driving.[1] Cycling is less popular in Australia than in Europe, however cyclists make up one in forty road deaths and one in seven serious injuries.[2]

In 2012, for the thirteenth year running, bicycle sales in Australia have outpaced car sales.[3]

Leonard Carter

19th century[edit]

A goldminer pictured after a 1000-mile (1,600-kilometre) round trip to the Mt Rugged Gold Rush in 1895

Long distance cycle travelling was a fact of life in the 1890s for many sheep shearers and other agricultural labourers with migratory work. The bicycle and swag conquered much of Australia on dusty dirt tracks, long before the automobile made its appearance. In the main, however, long distance cycling was a sport of endurance or was done out of necessity.


Cycling participation in Australia in 2015[4]

Cyclists in every state are required to follow normal road rules, including using traffic lights correctly and observing give way and stop signs while riding on the road.

Cyclists in every state must wear helmets while in motion. All cyclists must only use the left hand lane, except in Queensland. All states require only one passenger per bicycle unless the bicycle is designed otherwise.

Bike users in Western Australia and Tasmania must use both hand signals, while in Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory cyclists must signal when turning right but it’s not compulsory when turning left.

Cyclist must have at least one hand on handle bars in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Cyclist may ride on standard footpaths in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory. In Victoria and New South Wales cyclists can only ride on a footpath if they're under the age of 12 or supervising a child under 12, or have a disability which restrains them from being able to ride on the road. In Queensland cyclists can ride on any path as long as there isn’t a sign stating otherwise.

Cyclists may ride in pairs in South Australia and the two rows must be no more than 1.5 meters apart in Western Australia and Queensland. Cyclists must ride single file in Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory unless overtaking.

Cyclists across Australia must follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers in regards to using mobile phones and consuming alcohol.

Cyclist also need to use a bike light when riding at night in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Types of cycling[edit]

Recreational cycling[edit]

Many Australians ride a bike for recreation or commuting.

The National Cycling Strategy was tasked with increasing the number of people cycling from 2011 to 2016 by fifty percent, however this target is unlikely to be reached with the participation rate staying mostly the same, if not slightly decreasing. Doubling the number of bike users has the potential to increase the safety for all riders by helping to make drivers more aware of bicycles on the road, and adding pressure to those who already cycle to obey the road rules. More bike users also has an economic benefit which is estimated in Australia to be $1.43 per kilometre for every person cycled.

The NCS has found that cycling was the most common in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory during 2015. Victoria and Queensland have decreased in participation between 2011 and 2015. NSW has had an increased rate of cycling participation from 2011 to 2015. Males cycle more often than women as well as those under seventeen from both genders. The average hours an Australian to cycle is 2.75 hours.[clarification needed]

There are a number of trails and shared paths in the major cities.[4]

Cycling as a sport[edit]

Australia hosts the Tour Down Under which is the only UCI World Tour event in the southern hemisphere. Australians place strongly in cycling at the Olympic Games, UCI World Championships and other international events.

Australia has hosted the UCI Road World Championships, UCI Track Cycling World Championships and UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships. Most state capitals have an indoor velodrome.

See also: the categories Australian cyclists, and Cycle racing in Australia.

Cycling organisations[edit]

National bodies[edit]

  • Audax Australia, long distance road cycling
  • Bicycle Network is Australia's largest cycling membership organisations (45,000 members, 2015)[12] with offices in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.[13]
  • Cycling Australia[14] - the national administrative body responsible for the sport of cycling in Australia[15]
  • Cycling Promotion Fund [16]

State bodies[edit]


  • Amy Gillett Foundation[18] - a charity to promote safe cycling in Australia[19]

Political Parties[edit]


  • Treadlie Magazine[20] - a magazine for bike lovers[21]
  • Bicycling Australia Magazine[22] - a cycling magazine[23]


  • CycleLifeHQ - a website for finding the best bike rides in Australia


The Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards, an initiative of the Cycling Promotion Fund, have been held annually since 2002.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arnold, Tony (December 2014). "Cycling safety in Australia". Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Garrard, J (August 2010). "Cycling injuries in Australia: Road safety's blind spot?". Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (15 November 2013), Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure Communiqué (PDF), p. 4, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2013 
  4. ^ a b Munro, Cameron (July 2015). "National Cycling Participation Survey 2015". Australian Bicycle Council. 
  5. ^ "Cycling in WA". Cycling in WA. Government of Western Australia. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Centre for Road Safety". Staying Safe. Transport for NSW. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "Road Safety Advisory Council". Bike riders. The Department of State Growth. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Cyclist road rules and safety". Cyclist road rules and safety. The Government of South Australia. 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Territory and Municipal Services". Road Rules. ACT Government. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "BicycleNT". NT road rules. BicycleNT. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Victoria Law Foundation". Bike Law. Monkii. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Bicycle Network". Bicycle Network Contact Us. Boojum Pty Ltd. 2016. 
  13. ^ Bicycle Network (2016). "Bicycle Network". Bicycle Network Membership. Boojum Pty Ltd. 
  14. ^ Cycling Australia, Cycling Australia, Cycling Australia, retrieved 27 November 2013 
  15. ^ Cycling Australia, About Cycling Australia, Cycling Australia, archived from the original on 27 November 2013 
  16. ^ Cycling Promotion Fund, CPF News, Cycling Promotion Fund, retrieved 27 November 2013 
  17. ^ "West Cycle - our history". NCLS Research. West Cycle. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  18. ^ Amy Gillett Foundation, Amy Gillett Foundation: Safe together, Amy Gillett Foundation, retrieved 27 November 2013 
  19. ^ Amy Gillett Foundation, About AGF, Amy Gillett Foundation, archived from the original on 2 May 2013 
  20. ^ Treadlie Magazine, Treadlie magazine, Green Press P/L, retrieved 27 November 2013 
  21. ^ Treadlie Magazine, About Us, Green Press P/L, archived from the original on 27 November 2013 
  22. ^ Bicycling Australia Magazine, Bicycling Australia, Lake Wangary Publishing Co, retrieved 27 November 2013 
  23. ^ Bicycling Australia Magazine, Welcome to Bicycling Australia, Lake Wangary Publishing Co, archived from the original on 23 August 2013 
  24. ^ Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards, Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards booklets, Cycling Promotion Fund, archived from the original on 27 July 2013 

References and further reading[edit]