People ditching their cars for bikes or e-scooters has spared the environment the equivalent of more than 500 return trips to the moon.
Touted as the largest of its kind in Australian history, a report by EY shows cycling and e-scooter use created more than 60,000 jobs and contributed $18.6 billion to the economy last year.
WeRide executive officer Peter Bourke said the triple bottom line benefits of the sector were significant and generated thousands of jobs, as well as providing health and environmental benefits.
“The report also highlights the importance of cycling to the regions, for the first time providing a detailed picture of the positive impact of cycle tourism, valued at $1.9 billion nationally,” he said.
Not only are millions of Australians taking advantage of green transport options but many more are willing to join the movement if infrastructure and safety for riders improves.
The main motivation for people taking up cycling is to increase fitness, while the main reason for people using e-scooters is fun and excitement – environmental gains are just a bonus.
Last year, the use of cycles and e-scooters avoided the release of more than half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide and stopped 2.2 million kilograms of air pollutants being released into the atmosphere, the report said.
Another consequence of people increasingly leaving their car at home was the equivalent of 3.9 billion km of motor vehicle travel was avoided – a distance comparable to more than 500 return trips to the moon.
Around 6.5 million people cycled last year and 3.6 million used the increasingly popular and contentious e-scooter.
E-scooters have been the subject of a number of incidents across the country in recent years, prompting state and territory governments to treat the transport option with caution.
Beam general manager Tom Cooper said e-scooters had only started being legislated since 2018 and are still not legalised for widespread use in half the nation.
They are allowed with conditions in most states and territories.
Other significant report findings show:
* The majority of cyclists don’t feel safe around motor traffic
* Most cyclists used their bike weekly
* The ACT has the highest use of cycles and e-scooters by capita
* People between 18-34 are the most likely to ride bikes and e-scooters
* E-bikes had the highest sales growth between 2020-22
(Australian Associated Press)