Women Riders

Diane Big Apple SchoolMake Way For Women Riders!

By Diane Ortiz – President and founder of the Big Apple Motorcycle School

Motorcycle ownership by women has doubled in the past decade! Today there are more female riders than ever according to the latest Motorcycle Industry Council owner survey. Women account for 14 percent of all U.S. motorcycle owners, well up from the 8 percent reported in 1998.

“Women continue to embrace motorcycling like never before,” said Sarah Schilke, national marketing manager of BMW Motorrad USA and chair of PowerLily, a group consisting of female motorcycle industry professionals. “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.”

Among younger generations of owners, the percentage of women is even higher. Slightly more than 17 percent of Gen X owners (ages 36-50), and 17.6 percent of Gen Y owners (ages 18-35), are women. Among “Baby Boomer” owners (ages 51-69), women make up 9 percent.“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.”

At the recent Progressive International Motorcycle Show at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC in early December, Schilke (also known to her friends as “Super Sarah”) was there to help promote BMW Motorrad USA. She is also a past board member of the Motorcycle Industry Council.
The Owner Survey also revealed what type of bikes women prefer. Cruisers are the choice of 34 percent of female riders. Scooters rank a close second at 33 percent, followed by sport bikes at 10 percent. In the survey, of some 48,000 American households, women were also asked to share their top three reasons for riding motorcycles. They answered “fun and recreation,” followed by “sense of freedom” and “enjoy outdoors/nature.” When it comes to purchasing a motorcycle, women rate “Fuel Economy” and “Test Rides” as the most important decision-making factors.
The study revealed that female riders are safety-conscious. While 60 percent of women took a motorcycle safety course, only 42 percent of men had any formal training. In some states, women make up 30 percent of the student population in motorcycle safety training programs like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.
Other interesting survey results:
• The median age for female motorcyclists is 39 versus 48 for males
• More than 49 percent of women motorcyclists perform their own maintenance or have a friend or relative do it, instead of taking their bikes to a shop
• New bikes are preferred over used by 57 percent of female riders
• 49 percent of female motorcyclists are married
• 47 percent of female motorcyclists have a college or post-graduate degree
This study proves what we’ve seen in our training classes, at events like Americade and even in TV ads! More and more women are discovering motorcycling and taking to the road. In my view, it’s about time!

Ride Safe!