Barriers and enablers of bike riding for transport and recreational purposes in Australia

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Background: Despite the health and environmental benefits of increasing cycling participation, participation rates in Australia remain low compared to other international settings. Up to 78% in Greater Melbourne are interested in riding a bike, but have particular barriers preventing them. Previous research in Australia exploring barriers and enablers has been conducted only in groups who regularly ride bikes. Methods: This project aimed to identify the prevalence and strength of particular barriers and enablers of riding a bike for both transport and recreational purposes in Melbourne, Australia. Data were collected through an online survey between November 2021 and February 2022. We recruited adults who lived within one of nine selected local government areas. Results: Of the 912 people who commenced the survey, 717 completed the survey (79%) and were included in analyses. The majority of the sample owned a bike, and had ridden a bike in the past 12 months. The most highly reported barriers to riding a bike for transport included not wanting to ride on the road with motor vehicle traffic (56%), concern about collision with a motor vehicle (54%), bad weather (53%) and motorist aggression (53%). There were significant differences in the barriers and enablers reported for bike riding by trip purpose, and across the four Geller groups. The most highly reported enablers to bike riding for transport included having a bike-lane physically separated from motor vehicle traffic or an off-road bike path (66%) and to improve physical health (65%). Conclusions: While numerous barriers and enablers were reported, factors relating to riding a bike on the road alongside motor vehicle traffic and the associated safety concerns were consistent across groups. To overcome the most commonly reported barriers and to encourage further cycling participation in people of all ages and abilities, protected and connected infrastructure is fundamental.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101538
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Active transport
  • Barriers
  • Cycling
  • Enablers
  • Micromobility
  • Transport

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