Motorists are making the move
Working in the automotive industry, I rely heavily on data to inform decision-making. The 2020 motorcycle sales figures published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, for example, clearly show that motorists have embraced two wheels.
I’m not surprised. With many Victorians still choosing to hit the road in private vehicles, motorcycle sales spiked in COVID-affected 2020. New-bike sales were up 22.1 percent compared to 2019. And, while it’s reassuring to see a sector performing well – particularly during such a difficult time – we must keep our eyes on the 2021 road ahead.
Clearly, motorcycles have become an attractive option – for commuting and recreational use. But it’s not black and white. While off-highway vehicles and road bikes were up 38.8 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, scooter sales slumped by 11 percent. As a result, industry has and will continue to adapt to demand, ensuring stock and customer service offerings align with consumer values.
There’s a place for policy here too. Motorcycles contribute to easing road and parking congestion, but there are barriers to getting a leg over. The Federal Government should include motorcycles in its 2021-2030 Road Safety Strategy. Junior licensing fees should go to encourage higher usage and, if the State Government is serious about Melbourne’s grid-locked traffic, it should promote powered two-wheelers as part of the solution.
COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of life, and it’s not over. Freedom and autonomy have never been more highly valued, and automotive will continue to cater accordingly. But governments need to come to the party too.
Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 12 February 2021.
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