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6 million people own motorcycles in the USA.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Jaqhama, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Easy riding
    For those seeking adventure, motorcycling offers a road to thrills and friendships
    By John Lindner
    Balltimore Sun Reporter
    Originally published June 10, 2006
    Motorcycling is dangerous. Check.

    Riders endure sweltering heat and brutal cold. Check.

    At 50 mph, raindrops sting like BBs, bugs strike like bullets. Check.

    Headgear, comically bulbous, ruins hairdos. Check.

    What's not to love? Let's ride.

    According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, more than 23 million people operated a motorcycle in the United States in 2003. Around 6.6 million actually owned a motorcycle. Their average age: 41 - up from 32 in 1990. Today, about 10 percent of operators are women, up from 6.4 percent in 1990.

    What's the draw?

    "When we look at our motorcycle-owners survey data about why people purchase, the top three reasons that people purchase motorcycles are No. 1, fun and recreation; No. 2, enjoy the outdoors; and No. 3, for relaxation," said MIC spokesman Mike Mount.

    R.D. Bingo Fournier, a motorcycle salesman in Gaithersburg, was 35 years old before he learned to drive a car. Before that, he did all his driving on a motorcycle.

    For Fournier, 38, motorcycling was a lifestyle choice more than a transportation option.

    "I just liked it all. I liked the long hair, the tattoos ... I liked the freedom that it had," Fournier said. "Especially because growing up, I was a pretty heavyset kid. So I never felt the most agile guy in the world. But it seemed like the guys on the motorcycles, no matter what size they were, they were just agile. So it just made me want to ride."

    Laura Mooty, a 48-year-old part-time administrative assistant at a church in Fulton, a real estate agent and a licensed funeral director, decided to add motorcycling to her life resume after talking to a group of bikers during a vacation with her husband in North Carolina last year.

    "They were just so friendly and so willing to share stories about where they've been and what kind of a drive they've been on," said Mooty, whose husband, Paul, also decided to become a biker. "It was just really exciting to hear the enthusiasm from these folks. And we just kind of started talking about it more and more."

    Motorcycles are synonymous with danger and freedom, but a less-known aspect of motorcycling is its appeal to the social animal. From organized rallies to casual encounters at restaurants, gas stations and scenic overlooks, bikers tend to flock. Like the Mootys, new bikers find their rides are vehicles to conversations with people they might otherwise never have met.

    "You can't be an introvert and own a motorcycle," Fournier said. "Because no matter where you are, you stop and talk to people."

    Along with fun, freedom, fellowship, the thrill of a lingering outlaw image and gas mileage on many models approching 50 mpg, another draw for would-be bikers is that it's now a lot easier to learn to ride and get a license without first investing in a bike.

    On Oct. 1, 1997, a change in state law offered a license waiver to any rider who passed the state motorcycle-safety training class. Rather than having to take a written and later a riding test at an MVA facility, students who pass the 17-hour class receive paperwork that entitles them to a new driver's license with a class "M" endorsement that lets them operate a motorcycle.

    With that change, the lines for motorcycle-course registration "got nutty," said Philip Sause, coordinator for the state Motor Vehicle Administration's motorcycle-safety program.

    Last year alone, the state issued 6,000 training-completion certificates that allowed bearers to drive motorcycles.

    It's not unusual to have summer classes filled by January or February. At Elkridge Harley-Davidson, where Mooty and her husband, took the class, the next-earliest opening is in October.

    For Mooty, the course marked the first time she'd ever operated a motorcycle.

    "I'd been very excited about it, and yet I know just from statistics and stuff like that it's probably a little dangerous. But I got on the bike and discovered it's not as bad as I thought," she said. "It did literally take my breath away. It was spellbinding, absolutely spellbinding."

    The Mootys' class ended Sunday with a riding test that Paul Mooty passed and Laura Mooty just missed passing. During the test, her bike stalled, and rather than regrouping and restarting, she recovered and kept going but her bike crossed a white boundary line, and she was disqualified.

    "My spirits were crushed, absolutely crushed," she said. "Because I pulled off all the other tests flawlessly."

    She's scheduled to retake the test tomorrow, and she said she expects to pass this time. "I know where I made the mistake and I will definitely not repeat it. I want my license yesterday and I want my bike yesterday."

    Eager to join the biker ranks, Mooty nevertheless said she will not indulge in a longtime biker tradition: getting tattoos. One must draw the adventure line somewhere.

    "I might get more body piercings, though," she said.

  2. Actually, in a nation of over 250 million people, I thought that 6 million OWNERS seems very low ???
  3. Does anybody know how many people own motorcycle in Australia?
  4. Lets count!

    Me = 1

    anyone else here?

    I agree, 6 out of 250 is quite small.
  5. From beaureu of statistics site


    Motorcycles accounted for 3.0% of all vehicles registered in Australia in 2005, up slightly from 2.8% in 2001.

    Motorcycles regitered in 2001-350,930 in 2005 421,923,annual growth percentage 4.7

    Australian motorcycle registrations increased across all states and territories between 2001 and 2005 except for the Northern Territory where the number of registrations decreased 5.5%. Queensland (31.0%) and New South Wales (24.5%) recorded the largest increases while South Australia (9.8%) recorded the smallest increase over this time.
  6. Doing the maths then:

    3/125 Americans ride a bike (assuming 6 million bikes and 250 million citicens exactly)

    As for Australia, roughly 400'000 bikes are registered (low estimate, but probally fair considering some owners will have multiple bikes. 20 million citicens approximately

    0.4/20 = 1/50 Aussies ride a bike

    Converting the averages to same denominator for comparison....

    6/250 Americans ride a bike
    5/250 Aussies ride a bike

    Virtually identical really then, considering the figues I used were rounded out averages.
  7. It *is* very low, and the reason is right here:

    Americans do not (as yet!) buy bikes as means of transport, that's why there aren't many of them around. Actually, that has been true in Australia as well, though things are changing as the petrol prices go up... it might be even happening in the USA to some extent, but still on a relatively small scale.

    The only continent that *gets* what motorcycling is about is Europe (well, Europe, and various 3rd-world countries, but we'll ignore them, as usual). That's where people buy motorcycles not 'for fun and recreation', but simply to get around on. Which is as it should be!
  8. It said 23 million rode a bike that year. Then mentioned the six million.

    I am guessing thats the 23 million legal American citizens mate. :LOL:
  9. Or, looking at it another way, 18 million Americans were too stingey to go out and buy a motorcyle, so the six million OWNERS had three tightwad mates ride THEIR bikes at some stage or other. :LOL: :p
  10. Indeed. And as someone pointed out in neither county is the bike much used for transport. Soooooooo Someone do the maths for England?

    I have to go move house :(
  11. Official pop. of the USA is a little over 280M. Actual pop of the USA is closer to 320M, if we allow for estimates of illegal immigrants.