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Note: the information in this section was developed following extensive research by the Department of Transport and Main roads.

Health benefit

Health professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day. This is enough to maintain good health, even if the exercise is broken up into short 10 minute bursts.

Riding to work, school, university or college, or taking your bike on short neighbourhood trips is a convenient and practical way to incorporate regular exercise into your busy day.

Regular exercise, such as cycling and walking is important. 

Environmental benefit

Bike riding uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport. Bikes reduce the need to build, service and dispose of cars.

Cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Also, as traffic delays and interruptions to traffic flow in Australia's six major cities account for around 13 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, cycling during peak hours would contribute to further emission reductions by reducing congestion and improving traffic flow.

Economic benefit

Transport (15.5 per cent) is second only to food (18.2 per cent) as the largest item of household expenditure in Australia. The family car costs up to 55 cents per kilometre to run. In comparison, the cost of buying and maintaining a bike is around one per cent of the cost of buying and maintaining a car.

Cycling 10 km each way to work each day will save about $1700 per year in transport costs (including all running costs and depreciation). Also, bicycle parking is usually free, easily accessible and more convenient than car parking.

Social benefit

Bicycles are more affordable to run. While only 10 per cent of the world's population can afford a car, an estimated 80 per cent of people can afford a bike.

Cycling provides economic and independent travel for those who might otherwise have their travel options restricted. It offers increased mobility to many groups of the population with low rates of car ownership, such as low income earners, unemployed people, seniors and those under 18 years of age.

Shared cycling and pedestrian facilities also create benefits for pedestrians and people with disabilities by providing an increased network of paths and improved road crossings.

Cycling enables people to interact socially and feel more at home in their local community. More people cycling and walking provides additional opportunity for social interaction on the streets and this enhances a sense of community.

More bikes in a neighbourhood provides a safer road environment and children can also take advantage of slower and less dangerous traffic to cycle as well.

Transport benefit

Maintaining and improving the transport network costs the Australian government an average of $27 million every working day.

The estimated costs of congestion are $5 billion per year. More bikes and less cars on the road can reduce this congestion and its associated costs.

Bikes and cycling facilities can extend the catchments of existing public transport services. On average, 10 times more households are within cycling distance of public transport than are within walking distance.

The majority of car trips to school are within walking distance. Cycling or walking these trips significantly reduces congestion around schools and improves safety for children.
To achieve a 75 per cent increase in cycling trips, each person in Australia would have to substitute only two car trips per month with cycling.

Bicycles offer door-to-door service because they can be parked closer to destinations than cars. They are often quicker than cars over short distances of up to 5 km.