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Motorcycles vital to our economy

Heavy Duty Motorcycles hop ride day
Lunch at Killarney Hotel

The next time someone says motorcycle riders are outcasts and not contributing to the economy, tell them to read this story.

In fact, motorcycle riders are vital contributors to the economy, according to a new UK report and Australian industry figures.

A UK Motorcycle Industry Association report has revealed some startling statistics to show the economic worth of their industry, an initiative supported by Australian motorcycle industry leaders.

The UK report says motorcycles sales deliver £5.3 billion a year to the economy while the industry generates “added value” of more than £2 billion, directly employs 58,500 people in 5700 businesses, pays over £1 billion in tax, and exports around £450 million a year, up 12% since 2008.

By “added value” they mean things like motorcycle tourism and the hospitality industry. Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shan Lennard says the weekend ride to the country for a coffee and burger contributes much to small regional communities that many other motorists and tourists don’t visit.

Heavy Duty Motorcycles hop ride day
Rambling through the regions

The UK report also says the industry employs more people and is worth more to their economy than the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries combined.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says that while they don’t have a similar report, he believes our motorcycle industry would also be a vital contributor to the national economy, even without a manufacturing component like in the UK.

“When I was at Honda (four years ago) Australia, per capita, was the largest off-road market in the world,” he says. “Overall, per capita Australia bats well above USA, Canada UK and Europe. One reason is we can ride all year round.”

Rhys says it is important for the industry to collate a similar report as the UK motorcycle industry “to sell the industry to all and sundry”.

“The figures are quite astounding. It’s hard to believe that it is worth more than the agriculture industry,” he says.

Here is a brief statistical analysis of the Australian motorcycle industry:

  • Contributes $3.6 billion annually to the national economy;
  • More than one million motorcycles;
  • 200,000 new and used sales each year;
  • More than 40 brands imported;
  • 700 authorised dealers;
  • 2000+ related businesses;
  • 15,000 people employed;
  • 800,000 licence holders;
  • 678,000 registered motorcycles;
  • 47,500 sport or single event licences; and
  • 3500 motor sports events each year.

With those figures, it is a wonder we are so often maltreated or overlooked by governments and authorities.