April 14 2010.

A survey, commissioned by the MCIA has revealed that the UK motorcycle industry has a significant impact on the UK economy creating net annual sales of £5.2 billion.

The GHK survey highlights the potential for the industry, despite the barriers caused by the current economic climate and inaccurate perceptions of motorcycling.

Ownership rates are around 22 motorcycles per 1000 people in the UK , which is the lowest figure in Europe. However, the industry has experienced significant growth in recent years. There are approximately 1.4 million motorcycles and 1.5 million motorcyclists in the UK and the number of licensed motorcycles has increased by 50% since 1999 and 100% since the mid 1990s.

There are opportunities for growth by increasing demand for motorcycle goods and services. The reports suggests that this can be achieved through further R&D and innovations particularly around convenience and technological low-carbon advances.

Despite the current economic climate, Triumph, the UK's largest automotive manufacturer, is reported to be one of the only motorcycle manufacturers in Europe to have grown in 2009. UK registration statistics show that Triumph sold 25% more new motorcycles in the UK in the first 11 months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, an increase of nearly 1500 motorcycles, as well as significantly adding to the UK's export business.

In the sphere of motorcycle tours there has also been a lot of growth . As an example, Globebusters, which runs organised motorcycle tours around the world and which was founded in 2002 now has a turnover of £500,000 per annum. Initial expectations were that these trips were likely to be 'once in a lifetime' experiences, but already repeat demand is strong with a quarter of customers having already toured with the company, touring again, suggesting room for growth and expansion in this area of motorcycling

The registration figures for March 2010 show that the smaller capacity bikes in the 50 - 125cc sector have shown growth indicating that the industry's efforts to promote bikes as a practical form of transport is making an impact in this entry level sector.

MCIA CEO Steve Kenward commented, " The research has proven that the motorcycle industry has a very important role to play in the economy of the UK. There is significant potential for growth in the market and as the Get On campaign makes positive steps forward we are reaching out to new markets.

" Over 8,000 people have already applied to participate in the free motorcycle experience that introduces people to riding. We know there is great potential to bring new riders on board and expand our existing customer database to a younger and more diverse group of people. The MCIA remains extremely positive and upbeat about the future of the motorcycle industry."