USA leads rising tide of female riders

Almost one in five motorcyclists in the USA is female, rising almost 10% in the past decade, according to the American Motorcycle Industry Council.

Apart from Asian nations where many women ride scooters as their daily transport, that gives the USA the highest proportion of female riders in the western world.

The next biggest female contingent of motorcyclists seems to be New Zealand with 16%, closely followed by Germany with 15%. 

While no official figures are compiled in Australia, most industry sources quote 10-12% and rising.

That’s similar to the UK where female riders are about 525,000 of the estimated 5 million motorcycle licence holders.

Rising tide of female riders(Image: Intermot) women ladies female rising

In general, most surveys of rider populations find that female riders are more likely to ride less often, seek post-licence training, ride in urban areas rather than rural and ride smaller capacity motorcycles and scooters.

So what is America doing right that other countries are not?

One of the biggest hurdles often cited by women is the height of motorcycle seats, not necessarily the weight or engine-capacity of a bike.

It has been suggested that American women are taller and therefore more are able to ride.

However, the average height of American women is 162.1cm which is actually lower than Australia (163.8cm) and the UK (164.5cm).

What is more likely is that the American large-capacity motorcycle market is dominated by cruiser-style motorcycles which have much lower seats.

Click here to check seat heights on all motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson, which has about half the large-capacity market in the USA, has also been actively marketing to women and building bikes with lower seat heights.

But not every woman wants to ride a cruiser.Fabienne Phillips of Girl win female rider training for mother's day women

The American Motorcycle Industry Council polled 2472 adults via their 2018 Motorcycle/ATV Owner Survey and found 19% were female riders. That’s up 5% since 2014 and 9% since 2009.

They also found some other interesting facts about female riders:

  • Women spend $US574 a year on maintenance, modifications, and accessories which is $77 more than the average male rider; and
  • 66% of female riders say they have the support of family and friends for their pastime.

Why do you think America leads in female riders and how can we improve our numbers? Leave your comments below.


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