Characteristics of Utility Cyclists in Queensland, Australia: An Examination of the Associations Between Individual, Social, and Environmental Factors and Utility Cycling

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Shannon L. Sahlqvist
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Kristiann C. Heesch
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Initiatives to promote utility cycling in countries like Australia and the US, which have low rates of utility cycling, may be more effective if they first target recreational cyclists. This study aimed to describe patterns of utility cycling and examine its correlates, among cyclists in Queensland, Australia.


An online survey was administered to adult members of a state-based cycling community and advocacy group (n = 1813). The survey asked about demographic characteristics and cycling behavior, motivators and constraints. Utility cycling patterns were described, and logistic regression modeling was used to examine associations between utility cycling and other variables.


Forty-seven percent of respondents reported utility cycling: most did so to commute (86%). Most journeys (83%) were > 5 km. Being male, younger, employed full-time, or university-educated increased the likelihood of utility cycling (P < .05). Perceiving cycling to be a cheap or a convenient form of transport was associated with utility cycling (P < .05).


The moderate rate of utility cycling among recreational cyclists highlights a potential to promote utility cycling among this group. To increase utility cycling, strategies should target female and older recreational cyclists and focus on making cycling a cheap and convenient mode of transport.

Sahlqvist was with the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research and the MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Public Health, Cambridge, United Kingdom and is now with The Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (CPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. Heesch is with the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and the School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

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