Monograph 17 – Cycle safety: A national perspective

Cycling is an important form of transport and recreation for many Australians. It is accessible to a wide range of people and has significant health and environmental benefits for the community.1

This monograph provides a statistical overview of the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the public road system Australia-wide and a discussion of the available national activity data. It does not include data on cyclists killed and seriously injured in areas outside the public road system.

Key facts

  • On average, 35 cyclists are killed and around 2500 are seriously injured on the public road system each year.
  • The number of cyclists killed has declined from 142 in 1950 to 26 in 2003.
  • Cyclists account for around 2 per cent of road deaths and about 11 per cent of seriously injured each year.
  • Cyclists aged 16 years and under account for the greatest proportion (almost half) of those seriously injured.
  • Over 1 million cycles were sold in Australia in the 200203 financial year.
  • In 2003, cycling was the fourth most popular physical activity among people aged 15 years and above.
  • Around 62 per cent of children aged between five and 14 cycled at least once in the year to April 2003.
  • There are no data available which reliably measure cycle use at a national level ,making it difficult to compare the safety of cyclists over time or relative to other road users.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the 1996 and 2001 censuses indicate there was a small increase in cycling activity over this time period among people riding to work.
  • The overall community benefits gained from regular cycling are likely to outweigh the loss of life through cycling accidents.

Type: Research and Analysis Report

Sub Type: ATSB Monograph

Topics: Bicycle

Publication Date: 15/10/04