Sales of bicycles in Australia in 2016-17 are the lowest since 2012, with a total of 1,177,784 sold for the year.

Based on ABS import data, the number of bicycles has only been lower twice in the last decade, in 2009 following the GFC with a total of 1,154,345 bikes sold and in 2012 the number was 1,166,712.
 
The largest concern is the fall in children’s bicycle sales concern are sales which have fallen by more than 22% in the last 10 year, dropping from 492,000 in 2007-8 to 382,000 this year.
 
Commenting on the continuing difficult sales situation, Bicycle Industries Australia General Manager, Peter Bourke, said retail conditions remain challenging for the bicycle industry.
 
It is also a reflection of the lack on investment from all levels of government in appropriate infrastructure and policies.
 
“With few exceptions, our industry is struggling to maintain sales and many of our retailers are choosing to leave the industry,” Mr Bourke said.
 
“The quality of bicycles and value-for-money has never been better and we hope more Australians choose this great way to travel locally and stay active”

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It's not surprising really, given the general anti cycling sentiment. I wonder what the average life of a bicycle is?
Unfortunately not that surprising. The seemingly relentless "roads are dangerous", "cyclists are a menace" messages in the general press have to have an effect eventually. That is probably behind the drop in the sales of kids bikes.

Also, while cycling is seen as primarily a sport or a hobby, rather than a means of transport, then it is a luxury purchase that will be subject to the prevailing economic conditions. So while income levels remain flat and the economy falters along, lots of people will be thinking they will just make do with the bike they have, rather than upgrading.

Population density is making public spaces more crowded. Kids learning to cycle near where I live are often competing with other path users and it is stressful for everyone. I've seen kids dive off bikes when a dog comes up sniffing, or even when an adult rider passes fast. They also get sick of having to constantly stop with people walking 5 abreast (LOL). Sydney Park has a decent setup but you have to pack the car etc... to find these places, and it reinforces the cycling is a weirdo cult thing you only do in very limited special places.

The other issue is the professionalisation of activities (I know that is not a word). It seems people are all in or won't bother when it comes to cycling and other activities. The latest upgrade to the BMX track in Olympic Park has made it very hard for a novice to ride - I had a crack on the weekend and nearly came off. No way my son (7) will ride that (he used to) for a few more years. It used to be much easier - but all the jumps are more pronounced, and they tarred sections so falling off hurts. I think it is now UCI standard but stuff the kiddies.

Lastly and the most annoying issue for me is the freak factor. My son outright refuses to cycle places because no one else does it. He is the freak and weirdo because he cycled 10 k's to Korean school on Saturday. People were shocked he could ride a bicycle, could ride it to places - he prefers to fly under the radar so we get up early do Parkrun and then drive to Korean School instead of a really pleasant ride.

So I will buy him lots of bikes but they will be track or road racing bikes, he won't need a utility bike. We'll take up running. We will drive lots. He will be happy int he car playing with what ever and I'll be raging and wishing I was dead trying to find a car space and running late.

JM

"We'll take up running. We will drive lots. He will be happy int he car playing with what ever and I'll be raging and wishing I was dead trying to find a car space and running late."

This. Oh so much this.

Still, my son loves playing soccer ALL THE TIME, so I cannot complain about him not being physically active. And he was extremely willing to cycle to school, until we moved house and now live too far away for him to be able to. A year later and I still feel really bad about this. Bloody house prices.

Kind of agree, but I think the driver here is that society no longer cares, or caters for children. For almost the entirety of recorded history, "house holds" with children have heavily outweighed all other "house holds" Recently, this figure dropped to less than 1/3rd the total number of "house holds." When was the last time you saw any media article, or politician actually give a genuine rats arse about kids?

I've put "house holds" in quotation marks as I mean stuff like that, not specific to the literal definition.

Scooters.

I blame scooters.

My son (4) won't touch his bike, even though he's proud to have one, because his scooter is easier to ride.

These are definitely a factor. It's also a workaround for helmet laws.

I actually have a kick scooter myself and often do short trips with the kids on our scooters. It can be very convenient - no helmet requirements, and you can fold them up and take them into the shops etc.

Last year in Zurich I was surprised how many adult train commuters were using kick scooters for "last mile" connections from the train station. 

https://www.microscooters.com.au/urban-scooting

 

I have two kids - one is a dedicated scooter rider, and one is a bike rider. They both have both, but that's what they prefer.

But I agree with James above - it's hard to find spaces where kids can just ride around. When I was a kids we used the streets, but that's difficult now - not just because of the faster, more distracted driving, but also the sheer volume of parked cars everywhere. Shared paths are too busy with runners and walkers. 

All very sad. Seemed a few years ago we were making progress...

I also heard that some schools now have bike and scooter licences now too, these mandate helmets and student must fully understand the road rules. The later is a tall ask most adult don't fully understand the road rules.

I doubt i'll need to buy my kids new bikes, lots of options in the council clean ups near me. Maybe I am to blame. 

There are sensible reasons offered here suggesting why overall annual bike sales might be down. But how long will a reasonable bike last? If bike sales have been running concurrent years in excess of one million units, with a relative small population, could it be that we have just not reached some sort of short term saturation? I personally don't witness actual rider participation against numbers reported to be sold.

Then there is the quality issue at the lower end. If you have purchased some cheap bike, for yourself or your child, and it proves problematic, could you not be dissuaded from another bike purchase; could these bikes also, which make up sales figures, be unrewarding to ride, disillusioning you to give bikes away.?

The Australian motor scooter industry is also suffering from annual diminishing sales. Many say the flood of cheap Chinese units, some years back, burnt a lot of buyers, who then left that segment of the market.  

Good point, rather than replace bikes i tend to replace components when they wear out or break. The LBS still gets my business, just not a bike purchase. 

As a person who has a lot to do with children I see no problems with them choosing a scooter over a bike. As long as they are taking active travel, I don't care. In schools they teach 'wheel' travel so it includes skateboards, scooters and bikes. Most children I know shift between a bike or a scooter, just like I decide to walk to work some days or ride on others.

There is some really excellent things happening in schools, both primary and secondary. I know one high school that has regular bike rides into the city.

The battle is not lost.

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