If you’ve been noticing motorcycle riders the last few years, you have probably seen more women riding. What a wonderful thing! I consider myself to be one of the truly blessed women whose father gave her a motorcycle at a very early age. Dad probably got a lot of grief for that since it certainly was not the norm to give your little girl a motorcycle for her 4thbirthday. I still give him hugs and thank him for that super special birthday gift. The experiences and adventures on my motorcycles over the past forty-six years have been some of the best of my life. I wouldn’t even want to think of a day without my motorcycles, couldn’t even imagine it.
The change that I, and other coaches have seen is reflected in some new statistics from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). If you haven’t heard of the MIC, it is a not-for-profit national trade association supporting motorcyclists in the United States. The MCI has been around since 1914 and is based in California.
Looking back to 1998, about 8% of motorcycle riders were women. By 2015, this percentage had increased to 14%. In November 2018, the percentage of women riders grew to 19%. So, approximately 1 in every 6 motorcyclists is female. The median age of a female motorcyclist is 39 years old. (For men, it is 49 years old.)
How many motorcyclists are there in the United States anyway? The Department of Transportation gives us an approximation of 8,410,255 registered motorcycles in the United States. To make this number more meaningful that would be about 1 out of every 36 registered drivers is riding a motorcycle. Doing some math, that would lead us to believe that about 1.5 million motorcycles are registered to women. Let’s take into consideration that this number is deceiving. I have 2 registered motorcycles and there are women who have their motorcycle registered in their husband’s names. So, accuracy of reported numbers may be open to discussion.
One may agree or disagree with statistics and numbers provided by different not-for-profit and government agencies. But, I can certainly say from my experience that the trend of female riders is continuing to increase. When I travel to the Motor Maids conventions, we will have 400+ female riders in attendance from all over the United States and Canada, this is a fraction of our growing membership that is at 1300 members strong. Visit the Motor Maids website for more information at https://www.motormaidsinc.org. At the 1stAnnual Women Rock Rally hosted by Bumpus Harley-Davidson in Murfreesboro in October, we were 145 female riders. These are just two examples of organizations and events for female riders.
I love having women of all ages come to motorcycle safety classes with that spark of adventure in their eyes and seeing women riding their motorcycles with the love of the ride shining on their faces. As I welcome 2019, I look forward to seeing even more women in motorcycle safety classes and on the road experiencing the joys that can only be found on two wheels. I wish you a very Happy New Year, invite you to join the growing number of women riding motorcycles and offer the reminder that Safe Riding starts with you.
Thunder Roads of Tennessee, January 2019