Nearly a Fifth of All Motorcycle Riders Are Now Women

Illustration for article titled Nearly a Fifth of All Motorcycle Riders Are Now Women
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

While riding a motorcycle might have once seemed like a very masculine activity, that’s definitely not the case today. More and more women are getting into motorcycles and female ridership has climbed within the last decade by significant numbers.

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Women now represent 19 percent of all riders, the Motorcycle Industry Council found in a recent survey. This is compared to a mere one in 10 riders being female a little less than a decade ago. The MIC believes that if trend continues, women could soon represent a quarter of all owners.

Nationally, the MIC polled 2,472 adults and found that there is actually a higher number of female riders in the younger generations. Twenty-two percent of Gen X riders were women and 26 percent of Gen Y were women.

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Andria Yu, a MIC spokesperson, said, “As the number of Boomer and mature motorcyclists shrink and are replaced by newer riders, we could soon be looking at a solid 25 percent of motorcycle owners being female. We’ve seen with our own eyes many more women riders — on the roads, on the trails, on the track, with families, at motorcycling events, forming clubs and just being part of everyday group rides. Many people in the industry have worked some 30 years to achieve this, and now the data confirms it: More and more women are getting out there and enjoying motorcycles.”

According to the release, serious efforts to get more women into motorcycles date back to the late ‘80s, where manufacturers and distributors started an outreach program to try and introduce more people to riding. These efforts included more female-friendly marketing and portraying women having fun on motorcycles.

Additionally, the survey discovered that, on average, female motorcycle owners spend $574 a year on tires, routine repairs, maintenance, replacement parts, and accessories and modifying equipment, compared to $497 by men. This could suggest that women are also interested in the aftermarket sector.

“Over the past decade, more women are designing riding gear and other products specifically for female riders, working in major companies or creating their own brands,” says MIC vice president and general manager Cinnamon Kernes. “Having gear designed for women by women was a huge step and has certainly helped encourage female ridership.”

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As has been previously reported before, women dominate car-buying decisions and half of the drivers in the U.S. are female. But where as driving a car is a necessity in many places, riding a motorcycle usually isn’t.  Having more women-facing marketing and female-designed gear is extremely helpful to encourage more women to seek out motorcycles.

And while attracting more women is an extremely good move on the motorcycle industry’s part, it’s also a necessary business decision. Once all the Boomers die out, the industry is going to need a new generation of riders to buy those bikes.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

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Mercedes Streeter

I got my license back in June of this year. I’ve since accumulated eight bikes.

I started with a Buell Blast (sold)

Then I bought a Honda Rebel to accompany the Blast. (Sold)

I also picked up a “brand new” 150cc scooter (it was a 2008 with only 3 miles) with the intentions on turning it into some offroad Mad Max inspired thing. (Sold)

After a small screw up on that first scooter project, I sold it and got a Chinese Ruckus with a 150cc. I’ve learned much about motorcycle wrenching since then and wish I hadn’t sold that minty first scooter. But the little Ruckus clone has been a handful of a replacement. A 150 in a 50 frame is absolutely scary!

Getting bored with the Rebel and Blast, I sold the Rebel for a Suzuki GS 850

And the Blast for a restored Honda Goldwing GL1100

I then picked up a Yamaha DT175 to scratch that two stroke itch

And most recently a CF Moto Fashion 250 (Honda Helix clone). I got the CF Moto so I can ride throughout the winter without worrying about what the salt would do to my precious vintage bikes.

So I’ve purchased 8 bikes and still have 5 of them. Dare I say it, I may even like two wheels more than four. Motorcycle culture is still sometimes toxic to women and minorities (not unlike car culture sometimes) and they carry a negative stigma due to biker/squid stereotypes, but I hope more people will come to enjoy two wheelers. :)