Fewer cyclists are dying on Australian roads compared to thirty years ago, a new study has found.
But one age group is bucking the trend.
Scientists from UNSW Sydney analysed 1294 cyclist fatalities across the country over the past three decades and found that since 1991 deaths have been falling at an average rate of 1.1 per cent every year.
However, the proportion of cyclist over the age of 60 killed on the roads has grown from 8.6 per cent of all cycling deaths in 1991 to 45.7 per cent in 2022.
The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, shows "a stark contrast in trends of cycling fatalities" between the different age groups said lead author and UNSW's Transport and Road Safety Research Centre director Soufiane Boufous.
Associate Professor Boufous said the fall in cyclist deaths had been consistent with the downward trend of overall crashes, which he attributed to road safety improvements, such as drink driving and speeding laws.
He said Australia lacked reliable statistics on cyclist participation rates but believes the increase in cyclist deaths among those aged 60 and above was a result of Australia's ageing population.
"There are more of them, that's the starting premise," Associate Professor Boufous said.
"Part of it is older people are frailer, so if they do have an accident, they're more likely to sustain and die from serious injury."
The study also found that fatalities involving cyclists by themselves were proportionately increasing.
The chances of being killed in a single vehicle cycling were also higher for those over 60, increasing by 4.4 per cent annually.
Collisions involving cars still cause the biggest number of cyclist deaths but those rates were far lower than what they were in the 90s.
Associate Professor Boufous said investment in cycling infrastructure such as separate bike lanes means, proportionally, more accidents were happenings without the involvement of a car.
But he said said while new cycling infrastructure was a good thing, it also needed to be maintained better.
"We don't know much about the circumstances of these crashes but a few of the studies that looked at this found that people tend to lose balance when they hit debris, where there is a hole in the in the ground, where there are drains," he said.
"For older people that's even more because they tend to lose balance a bit quicker, easier than younger people, so it is important to maintain those cycling lanes."
A report from cycling industry organisation We Ride Australia estimates that nationwide, state, territory and local governments have invested around $428 million into bicycle related infrastructure and programs in 2020.
Simon Copland, the executive director of cycling lobby group Pedal Power, said Canberra had a lot of cycling paths that were not being maintained.
"They end up being quite dangerous," he said.
"There are footpaths that I rode on as a kid, 20 years ago, that have not been touched since and what ends up happening is you have these ... often it's tree roots that protrude through, that become quite bumpy.
"If people go at a speed, they end up falling off and that can have a real impact, that can lead to severe injuries and potentially fatalities."
He said they have been calling on the ACT government to increase funding for maintenance.
"The standards we accept on paths, we would never accept on roads," Mr Copland said.
The government responded saying the ACT had some of the "best cycling infrastructure in the country", pointing to a $26 million investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, including the Garden City Cycle Route and the Kingston Cycleway.
"The ACT government has been actively consulting with the community on Canberra's first active travel plan, which sets the vision of encouraging more people to walk and ride to improve our city's quality of life, and will guide future investment," a spokesman said.