Between 1989/90 and 1997/98, on-road cycling has decreased by 19 percent, with the largest decrease among school-age children and teenagers. Other countries have also seen large reductions in cycling (for example, cycling in Great Britain has fallen by 20 percent over the same period*). Once an almost universal mode of transport for school children, concern about safety has seen cycling to school become less popular. However, there has been an increase in cycling, particularly longer trips, among the 20-24 age group. Trips to and from work make up 40 percent of this age group's cycling trips.

Despite the reduction in cycling among school children, this age group still makes up the greater part of New Zealand's cycling population. Just under half of all cycling distance (and 60 percent of cycling time) is done by children and teenagers. Among adults, cycling is most popular with males. They account for over 80 percent of adult cycle trips and distance travelled.

The number of social and recreational trips (which include both recreational cycling, and cycling as transport to social or recreational destinations) is second only to work-related trips among adults, and trips to school among children.

Annual distance cycled by age group

The graph showing cycling by time of day reflects the influence of school trips on the hourly pattern. Peak times for cycling are 8-9am and 3-4pm, followed by a lower peak at 4-6pm which includes adult commuter cycling as well as cycling by children and teenagers.

Distance cycled by time of day

* Source: "Road Accidents Great Britain 1998 The Casualty Report" (September 1999), Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, United Kingdom.

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