Effie HotchkissTrailblazer Effie Hotchkiss and her mom, Avis, were the first women to cross the USA on a motorcycle in 1915. Nearly a century later, on March 17, 2012, 18-year-old Elena Myers was the first female motorcycle roadracer to win a professional motorsports race of any kind on the Daytona International Speedway. Women riders have come a long way, but not far enough. That’s ALL about to change with the formation of the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists (WCM), which has united representatives from the American Motorcyclist Association, MAD Maps, Motor Maids, Pro Convention, the Women’s International Motorcycle Association USA, Women in the Wind, Women On Wheels® and the Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation in a shared objective: to double the number of female riders by 2020, and to increase and support women riders and their advocates.
Promoting dynamic role models and wider riding opportunities will serve as catalysts to draw more women into all aspects of motorcycling. The WCM will establish motorcycle industry partnerships to build a scholarship fund. The fund will support aspiring female rider coaches and instructors, as well as promising female competitors in all disciplines: on-road, off-road, and on the track.
“It cannot be emphasized enough that non-riding females must see themselves as riders to embrace motorcycling. Visible role models as trainers and competitors will inspire the uninitiated to become motorcyclists,” states Diane “Dangerously Persistent” Price of PRO Convention – NY, Harlem [Motorcycle] Alliance and the National Sportbike Association.
“To grow the ranks of motorcyclists overall, motorcycling must come to be viewed as a sport and avocation for everyone. It must become a family sport and a passion to pass on to this generation of kids and from them on to the next. Women are a key to making this happen,” states Jenny Lefferts, owner and founder of MAD Maps and WCM’s first sponsor and partner.
The WCM may appear to be women-oriented, but it has far broader implications than its name suggests. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), 10.5% of all motorcycle owners are female. Yet, MIC surveys indicate that there are 7-million female riders, meaning many more women riders do not own their own motorcycles. How ever the statistics are viewed, consumer research shows women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including vehicles with four, three or two wheels. The task of cultivating more female riders is of crucial importance,” advises American Motorcyclist Association’s board Chair Maggie McNally. “Knowing the influence women have on household budgets and the use of recreational time makes our involvement in motorcycling critical to the overall health of motorcycling and the motorcycle industry.”
WCM will develop a “tool box” of strategies and techniques for dealers to welcome and cultivate long-term relationships with female customers. Whether a female is the purchaser and pilot of a motorcycle is not the only point of this program. Knowing the purchasing power women have, we need all women to serve as motorcycling advocates; as riders, passengers and/or as parents and partners of those who do ride and compete.
There are multiple, flexible ways for individuals, organizations and the motorcycle industry to become involved. Ride to www.WCM2020.org for additional information.