Motorcycle Industry Council Survey Reveals Number of Female Motorcycle Owners on the Rise

Riding among females has increased twofold since the late ‘90s.

women riders, motorcycles, women bikers
Motorcycle ownership by women has doubled during the past decade.©Motorcyclist

Surprise, guys! Women like motorcycling too, and the interest in this pastime among females has increased twofold since the late '90s. According to the latest owner survey conducted by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), female motorcycle ownership is at its highest ever. Women owned 14 percent of all motorcycles in the US in 2014, up from only 8 percent in 1998. That means for every seven motorcycle owners out there, one of them is female.

The percentages are higher among younger generations, with ladies accounting for 17 percent of Gen X (born between 1960 and 1981) and 17.6 percent of Millennial owners (born between 1982 and 2004). Female Baby Boomers (born before 1960) only make up 9 percent of their generation’s riders. With that in mind, the median age for female motorcyclists is nine years younger than their male counterparts, at age 39 vs. age 48.

MIC, motorcycle industry council

What are they buying? Cruisers are the top choice for women, attracting 34 percent of female riders. Scooters came in a close second at 33 percent, and sportbikes a mere 10 percent. When asked about their purchasing choice, women rated "fuel economy" and "test rides" as the largest influence on their bike of choice.

"It's encouraging that we're seeing more women among the riders who are entering the sport," said Sarah Schilke, national marketing manager of BMW Motorrad USA and chair of PowerLily, a organization of female motorcycle industry professionals. "Motorcycling is for anyone and that's being recognized by younger generations and non-traditional customer segments."

The 48,000 women who answered the survey listed their top three reasons for owning a motorcycle as “fun and recreation,” “sense of freedom,” and “enjoy outdoors/nature.” Guys who ride should be no stranger to the first reason. Interestingly enough, according to the survey, female riders are about 50 percent more likely to take a riding course than males, in some cases making up 30 percent of motorcycle safety course attendance.

So, what does this all mean? More women are riding than ever before, but are still a minority among consumers. But with more bike manufacturers taking the needs of women riders into account—a stated goal by Triumph’s engineering team while developing the new Street Twin– it’s safe to bet the number of ladies on two wheels will continue to rise. And that’s a good thing!