Sales of ‘commuter’ motorcycles on the rise

12.00 | 11 January 2016 | | 2 comments

A record number of ‘commuter sized’ motorcycles and scooters were sold during 2015 and sales of motorbikes of all sizes increased by 12% year-on-year, according to figures released by the Motorcycle Industry Association.

During 2015 more than 43,700 new motorcycles (including scooters) between 101-125cc were sold while total registrations for all sized motorcycles and mopeds will exceed 114,000 – the highest annual total since 2008.

Motorcyclists have long been considered vulnerable road users, and made up 19% of fatalities during 2014 (339 deaths), while the National Travel survey highlights that (at most) 3% of average distance travelled was by motorcycle*.

Sales of new motorcycles fell dramatically during the recession, but recovery began during 2011 when sales began to rise along with petrol prices. The rise for new sales in 2015 builds on a 10% year-on-year increase in 2014.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA, said: “We’re seeing an increase in sales of new motorcycles of all sizes, but our records show that we’ve never seen as many bikes of this size sold before. We think it is likely that they are being used for commuting, as they are economical to run and easy to park.

“Motorcycle dealers have been reporting an increase in families swapping a second car for a motorcycle, to beat the misery of sitting in traffic during rush hour.  

“Motorcycles and scooters can filter through slow moving traffic and are tremendous fun, with riders tending to rate their commute more enjoyable than other transport users.”

*In the 2014 National Travel Survey, motorcycles fell under the ‘other’ category, which made up 3% of average distance travelled.



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    It’s very encouraging to see these figures, rises in almost every sales category for motorcycles. There is a theory that the more motorcycles are on the road the safer they become due to the expectation of drivers to see them and look for them. I’m not sure about that but I’d like to think it makes sense. I would also suggest that the reason for the slight drop in touring bike sales is because more riders are going for adventure bikes instead.

    The smaller commuter bikes make sense for a lot of people but it’s not always leading them into taking the test and progressing to the bigger bikes.

    The hardest group to engage with are the ones commuting on small bikes for economic reasons having passed a CBT. They have little interest in paying to improve their riding skills or for some, dressing appropriately due to cost. We have picked up increasing casualties for this sector and it’s really difficult to encourage them into any improvements. If the trend continues it’s something that we need to address before the casualty rate gets away from us. Any ideas are most welcome!

    Mike Leicestershire
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    It would be interesting to know how many of these commuter bike purchasers already have a full licence (A1 at least) and how many are new riders, taking CBT, and then riding on L plates for as long as they can.

    Martin: Suffolk
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