There was an interesting article on the online Sydney Morning Herald regarding the number of cyclists in Australia. Sighting a study published in the Journal World Transport Policy and Practice, written by Sydney University's Professor Chris Rissel, and independent researcher Chris Gillham, it has been established that per capita the number of cyclists in Australia has dropped 37.5% between 1986 and 2011. The overall number of cyclists has risen, but the growth in the population has been much faster.
Of course the study has noted that mandatory wearing of helmets since 1992 may have been a big influence in this result, as well as the prioritisation of the motor vehicle, and the lack of investment in cycling infrastructure.
I also suspect that the aging of the population may be a factor, and the reduction in kids riding to school. It is quite disturbing though that there has been this decline per capita, especially when it seems that participation in recreational sport has risen in the last ten years, according to this report.
Lets hope that the planned improvements in infrastructure have a positive affect on the per capita rate of cycling. But I think that whilst cycling infrastructure seems to be focused on the major cities there will not be much change to the figures. There needs to be more action in the outer lying suburbs, where the majority of people live.