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Did you know that the percentage of motorcycle owners in the United States who are female rose from 8% in 1998 to 14% today? The Motorcyle Industry Council (MIC) recently released a Motorcycle Owner Survey that shows female motorcycle ownership is at an all-time high.
Sarah Schilke, who is the national marketing manager of BMW Motorrad USA and the chair of PowerLily, which is a group of female motorcycle industry professionals, added: “Women continue to embrace motorcycling like never before. Of the 9.2 million owners, more of them are women than we’ve ever recorded. In fact, the number of female owners better than doubled from 2003 to 2014. And, among the more than 30 million Americans who swung a leg over a motorcycle and rode at least one time in 2014, a quarter of these riders were women.”
The MIC showed that 34% of women riders choose cruisers, but at 33% scooters are a close second. Sport bikes trail at 10%. According to WRN™, the most popular bike is the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, with the SuperLow edging out the Iron model; Harley-Davidson’s Sportster 1200 is third. In second is the Harley-Davidson Street Glide. Honda’s Shadow 750 is fourth; with its low seat, the Spirit is most owned, followed by the Aero and then the Phantom. Fifth place is shared by Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe and Harley-Davidson Road King. When MIC asked why they ride motorcycles, women riders answered: “fun and recreation,” followed by “sense of freedom” and “enjoy outdoors/nature.”
The median age for female motorcycle enthusiasts is 39; for men, that’s 48. A higher percentage of women owners is found in younger age groups: GenX has 17% women owners, compared with Boomer-generation owners at 9%.
“It’s encouraging that we’re seeing more women among the riders who are entering the sport,” Schilke said. “Motorcycling is for anyone and that’s being recognized by younger generations and non-traditional customer segments.”
But don’t count out the older generation. AARP’s magazine recently profiled Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, retired from the Air Force, who, “saw most of Europe from the seat of my Harley.” She also joined with a group of women to ride dirt bikes 2500 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, to the Arctic Circle. She keeps fit and, though she’s 5 feet 5 inches and weighs just 125 pounds, has no trouble wrangling her 626-pound Harley.
The MIC survey showed that women are more safety conscious than men—60% of them took a motorcycle safety course, versus 42% of men. Nearly half of women owners do their own maintenance or have a friend or relative handle it, rather than go to a shop. And nearly half of women owners have a college degree or higher.
Learn more about women riding motorcycles at WomenRidersNow.com—articles, reviews, tips, forums, and more.
Smart, strong and capable—they’re the women who ride motorcycles!