January 15 2004. New Motorcycle registration figures released by the MCI show a continued strong interest in motorcycling during 2003 despite an uncertain year for the economy, Gulf War II and the introduction of European motorcycle design regulations. The total number of miles travelled on bikes in 2003 is also expected to be higher, due to the good weather and continued interest in biking.

The total Powered Two Wheeler market only fell by 3% despite predictions that registrations would be lower. Some sectors of the market did extremely well, with trail and enduro registrations up by 29% and custom-styled machines up by 16%. Scooters over 50cc also recorded an increase in registrations with the market rising by 2% confirming continuing interest by the vehicle buying public in powered two wheelers as a commuting alternative to the car.

Total motorcycle sales activity is estimated to have increases by 18% in the last four years.
The market in second-hand motorcycles continued to improve, with an estimated 430,000 sales in 2003. With these sales added to new registration figures, the number of people a year buying motorcycles new or second-hand now exceeds half a million per year - clearly showing that motorcycling in the UK continues to thrive, with ever increasing numbers of journeys being ridden by motorcycles scooters and mopeds.

MCI Director of Public Affairs, Craig Carey-Clinch, said: 'the predictions for 2003 weren't good, with a major foreign war, uncertainty in the economy and housing market making people think twice about buying new vehicles. However factors such as continuing traffic chaos and the increase in motorcycling in London which has come from congestion charging, means that interest in new Powered Two Wheelers is sustained, with strong second hand sales showing that biking in the UK remains vibrant and attractive to both commuter and leisure vehicle users.

Safety is a continuing concern, but MCI in partnership with riders and Government are taking steps to address this important issue. In addition, the London congestion charge has shown that more motorcycling can actually lead to fewer casualties if the transport policy environment helps to support motorcycle use.'