The love of motorcycle ownership could be replaced by the love of riding with an increase in ride sharing and rental expected in the next 10 years at the expense of motorcycle sales.
A Fact.MR report has surprisingly found that increased traffic congestion and population is discouraging people from buying motorcycles. Perhaps they are finding it too dangerous to ride.
They also say millennials, who are estimated to hold the largest share in global demographics, prefer to share and buy or even ride motorcycles.
Ride sharing growth
However, these factors are expected to contribute to a growth in motorcycle sales to rental services such as the new Scooti “taxi” ride sharing service which recently started in Melbourne, as well as motorcycle tour companies
The report suggests these sharing services are bolstered by the development of sophisticated technologies such as data analytics, Internet of Things and the growth of automated vehicles.
Motorcycle manufacturers are not oblivious to the changes and are investing heavily in the industry.
Yamaha has invested US$150m ($A210m) in Grab, a bike rental service operational in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
They plan to develop affordable motorcycles available for rental purposes.
BMW has also launched its own bike rental service in Germany, France, and Austria. If successful, the Bavarian company plans to expand its services around the globe.
The popularity of overseas motorcycle tours is also driving the demand for rental sports bikes, cruisers, and adventure bikes, the Fact.MR report says.
“A significant increase in recreational activities coupled with the development of lightweight and high-performance motorcycle suitable for different terrains is also fuelling the sales of adventure and touring motorcycles,” it says.
The report also claims the acceleration and handling capabilities of many new e-bikes (electric bicycles) is so similar to many small bikes and scooters, they are expected to cannibalise motorcycle sales.
The report says many e-bikes have value-added features such as ABS, superior suspension, and fat tyres for better grip and handling.
The availability of affordable e-bike models will also sabotage more expensive electric motorcycles, the report says.
In fact, when we contacted Brett this week he said he was about to “step into another meeting with the Victorian Government”.
Safety and comfort
Brett says “safety and comfort” of Scooti’s customers is their top priority.
“All our drivers are specially trained, insured and certified under government legislation,” he says.
“We operate in and around the CBD where most roads are 40km/h zones, and helmets, hairnets and safety vests are provided to all our customers.”
Putting more scooters on the road would also create a visible presence that would alert other motorists to the presence of two-wheelers and hopefully increase the safety of all riders.
To access the service, pillions need to download the Scooti app for iPhone and Android, then request a ride by entering their pick-up location and destination.
It is similar to the Uber taxi service.
Scooti says riders can refuse to take pillions who they do not believe would be safe passengers.
Unlike a taxi service, we can’t imagine they would be taking too many drunks home.
The service will not only provide pillions with a quick, cheap and easy service around the CBD, but also provide riders with a source of income.
Brett says the biggest criticisms of other ride-sharing platforms has been unfair work practices.
“Scooti is prioritising driver rewards and incentive programs,” he says.
“We want people to feel good about using Scooti and trust that our drivers are being looked after.”
The service will operate daily from 5am to 10pm “within a tight geographical distance from Melbourne’s CBD”.
All Scooti drivers have to complete comprehensive driver checks, including police and medical checks, accreditation by Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria, and hold full, unrestricted motorcycle licenses issued by an Australian state or territory.
Riders are also vetted by Scooti for hygiene, presentation, communication and safety.
Scooti plans to have female riders available for women who want to ride with a female.
Riders can use their own scooter or hire one from Scooti partners Ridely.
While these peer-to-peer services are escalating around the world, there are a few hurdles for riders.
Carrying the right size helmet for all passengers;
the varying standards of safety gear passengers wear; and
the cost of insurance which is already high for motorcyclists. Imagine how much higher it would be if you are using your bike or scooter as a taxi service!