As reported in a recent nationwide participation survey, the number of Canberra children riding bikes has fallen well below the national average.
In the 0-9 age group, the percentage of children who ride their bike at least once a week in Canberra sits at 34%, compared to the national average of 49%.
This is in stark contrast to the adult participation rate here in the ACT which sits at 23% above the national average.
Personally, I remember my youth and the freedom afforded me by my motley collection of bikes over the years. Riding to school from a few suburbs away was an adventure, a thrill and sometimes a chore but most importantly, a path to independence. Riding to friends houses after school, digging and clearing ambitious but ultimately small-scale BMX tracks, trips to the local shops and further afield, saving up for that coloured tyre or alloy stem….all fond memories.
So, what is it causing the decline? Safety fears? The electronic age swamping the outdoor life? Increased traffic? Whatever the reason, the decline is a great shame and hopefully a trend that will reverse itself in the near future.