Did everyone's teenage self have fantasies about riding badass motorcycles around the city (perhaps in some kind of costume-coordinated gang)? No? Just me?
Well, either way, at least some ladies are living out (part of?) my adolescent fantasy: it looks like female ownership of motorcycles is at an all-time high. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, women currently make up 14 percent of the total U.S. motorcycle ownership, a number that’s been steadily on the incline since it was a meager 8 percent in 1998. When broken down by age, the numbers are even more striking: women make up 17.6 percent of motorcycle owners 18-35, 17 percent of owners 36-50, and only 9 percent of owners 51-69.
Cruisers made up 34 percent of the women riders, while 33 percent of them opted for scooters. Only 10 percent owned sport bikes. The last 20 percent or so was a mix of standard, adventure, and off-road motorcycles.
What compels a woman to buy a motorbike? Those questioned listed “fun and recreation,” “sense of freedom,” and “enjoy outdoors/nature,” as reasons for riding, and cited test rides and fuel economy as two of the biggest factors when buying a bike. 57 percent of women riders prefer new motorcycles over used ones.
Contradicting ludicrous stereotypes about female drives, it turns out that women tend to be safer on their bikes with 60 percent reporting they’d taken a motorcycle safety course (only 43% of male riders said the same).
A few more factoids: the median age for female motorcyclists is 39, 49 percent of women riders are married, 47 percent of women riders have a college or post-graduate degree, and over 49 percent do their own maintenance or have a friend do it rather than take their bikes to a shop (can't imagine that skeevy biker dudes are a factor in that last one, no, definitely not).
Ladies, keep living out my dreams. Someone has to.
Note: The images used in this post come from The Women's Motorcycle Exhibit, a traveling art show featuring real female bikers (not hired models) by Portland-based photographer Lanakila MacNaughton.