$16.9 billion dollars for the economy: New study shows positive impact of cycling in Australia

Australia's largest cycling and eScooter report shows economic, health and environmental benefits from cycling and eScooters

Clock05:00, Saturday 25th November 2023
Cyclist in Perth, Australia

Image by Kaz Pierce from Pixabay

Cyclist in Perth, Australia

A new study conducted by EY for WeRide Australia, the national independent voice for cycling in Australia, has revealed the profound impact cycling had on Australia's economy, environment and population health in 2022.

The study shows that cycling contributed an estimated $16.9 billion to the economy, $954 million of which is from health and social benefits from cycling – the report finds that cycling saved the Australian health services $313 million in 2022.

Additionally, the new figures show that cycling in Australia has replaced 3.9 billion kilometres of motor vehicle travel, thereby preventing 514,096 tonnes of CO2 equivalent from entering the atmosphere, and 2.2 million kilograms of pollutants.

What were the findings?

Here are some of the key findings that show the benefit cycling has had in Australia in 2022:

  • 6.5 million adults cycled, or 33%
  • $540 million in productivity benefits
  • $313 million in 'net avoided financial health system costs
  • $1.88 billion contributed from cycle tourism
  • 58,272 jobs created because of the cycling industry

Additionally, the study sought to understand why people ride a bike, and perhaps more importantly, why they do not.

The number one reason participants gave for riding a bike was because of the health and fitness benefits, followed by the benefits cycling offers to mental well-being. The third most popular reason was because cycling is fun and enjoyable.

The number one reason participants chose not to cycle was because of the weather, followed closely by road safety concerns. 64% of respondents said they were deterred from cycling as they don't feel safe on the roads with motor traffic, and that there is not enough safe and connected road and bicycle infrastructure.

It suggests that more cycle infrastructure and protected bike lanes would increase participation in cycling even more.

How did the study work?

The study is said to be the largest of its kind in Australia, combining survey results, industry statistics and economic modelling.

EY used an online survey with a representative sample to determine usage and behaviour, of which 13,130 answered the initial qualifying criteria, but only 2,630 completed the final survey.

For the economic calculations, they were informed by the government, the public sector and private organisations, although EY concede that where data was not made available, 'assumptions were made' based on the data collected in the 2021 edition of the same study.

For the full results, plus more information about the study, see the full report here.

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