Planning and evaluating cycling programs at a national or state level requires accurate measures of cycling participation. However, recent reports of cycling participation have produced very different estimates. This paper examines the reported rates of cycling in five recent population surveys of cycling. Three surveys (one national and two from Sydney) asking respondents when they last rode a bicycle generated cycling participation (cycled in the past year) estimates of 29.7%, 34.1% and 28.9%. Two other national surveys which asked participants to recall (unprompted) any physical activity done for exercise, recreation or sport in the previous 12 months, estimated cycling in the past year as 11.1% and 6.5%. While unprompted recall of cycling as a type of physical activity generates lower estimates of cycling participation than specific recall questions, both assessment approaches produced similar patterns of cycling by age and sex with both approaches indicating fewer women and older adults cycling. The different question styles most likely explain the substantial discrepancies between the estimates of cycling participation. Some differences are to be expected due to sampling variability, question differences, and regional variation in cycling.
- Physical activity