Americans bought almost as many new motorcycles last year as Australia has registered bikes on the road! Yet Australia has a higher proportion of bike ownership. There were 744,732 registered bikes in Australia last year for a population of just over 23m which means 31.39 people per bike. In the US it’s about 8m bikes for 317m people which works out to 39.69 people per bike.
Australia has experienced an explosion of motorcycle ownership in the past five years, up 31.2% which is the biggest increase in any automotive sector. Western Australia and Queensland experienced the biggest growth, mainly through cashed-up miners buying “toys”. In the past five years Queensland has outstripped Victoria in registrations. WA has the highest proportion of bike ownership at 21.5 people per bike, followed by the ACT at 25.3, Tasmania at 25.62 – and who’d blame them with those great riding roads – with Queensland closely behind on 25.78. South Australia has 33.24, Victoria 33.4 and New South Wales has the lowest state proportion of registered bike ownership at 38.6, but the Northern territory as the least with 476.38.
In the US, is it any wonder that South Dakota has the highest proportion of bike ownership when the state plays host to the world’s largest motorcycle rally at Sturgis. Each year it attracts more than 400,000 riders for the rally and is expected to reach 1m next year for the 75th anniversary. The northern state has 69,284 bikes registered for a population of 816,598 which is 12 people per bike. Good riding roads in the New England state of New Hampshire probably account for coming in second with 79,266 motorcycles, a population of 1.3m which is one bike for every 17 people. Also not surprising is that Iowa (where Indian is made) and Wisconsin (where Harleys are built) have the third and fourth highest bike ownership.
The state with the lowest motorcycle ownership is where they make the rules … the District of Columbia where it is 172 people per bike. Surprisingly, bike ownership is higher in the northern states where the weather is coldest than in southern and western states where you can ride all year round. Even snowed-in Alaska comes in at number 10 while California is a lowly 43rd.