Biker’s Choice of Motorcycle Reveals Taste in Body Art, Food and Employment Habits, Insurer Finds

March 10, 2005

What can one tell about a person by the kind of motorcycle they ride?

Plenty, according to a recent countrywide online survey conducted by The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, the number one seller of motorcycle insurance in the U.S. The survey finds interesting differences – and similarities – between Harley-Davidson riders and those who ride sport bikes.

For example, everyone knows that Harley riders wear their passion for biking on their sleeve… literally. The survey finds Harley riders are three times more likely than those who ride sport bikes to own clothing or artwork that displays the brand of motorcycle they ride (93 percent versus 30 percent, respectively). Harley riders are also more likely to have body art such as tattoos and piercings (52 percent versus 40 percent).

The survey also finds that Harley riders are more likely than those who ride sport bikes to plan rides around where they’ll eat (32 percent versus 23 percent). Sport bike riders are three times more likely to eat at fast-food restaurants (18 percent versus six percent), while riders of Harleys are nearly four times more likely to pick restaurants with the nicest looking waiters/waitresses (11 percent versus three percent).

“At Progressive, many of us involved in our motorcycle business are riders, too, and this survey was a fun, tongue-in-cheek way of getting to know more about our fellow bikers,” says Rick Stern, a rider for more than 15 years and one of Progressive’s motorcycle product managers. “Motorcycle insurance is a very specialized product, and you never know what bit of information may lead to the next insurance innovation.”

The survey confirms that both rider groups have much in common, too. For example, both say “freedom” is the number one reason they ride. And though sport bikes are commonly known as “crotch-rockets” or “road-rippers,” only six percent of those who ride them say they do so for “speed” while fewer than one percent of Harley riders say the same. Both groups listed the same top excuses for justifying a quick ride: running errands, testing the engine and visiting friends.

Progressive’s survey also finds that ninety-five (95) percent of all riders acknowledge their fellow bikers while riding. Waving is the preferred method of acknowledgement (37 percent), although Harley riders are nearly twice as likely to acknowledge other riders by pointing two fingers down (29 percent versus 16 percent). Harley riders are six times more likely to only acknowledge those riding the same style bike (18 percent versus three percent).

Additional survey results include:

— An overwhelming majority of riders (88 percent) donate time or money to charities. Two-thirds of Harley riders (67 percent) and one-third of those who ride sport bikes (33 percent) participate in at least one charity ride each year.

— Sixty-nine (69) percent of all riders daydream at work each day about riding their bike.

— Eighteen (18) percent of all riders call in sick to work at least once a year to go riding.

— Women prefer to ride with their significant other (58 percent), while men choose to ride with their friends (63 percent).

— Adding custom parts that enhance the look of their bikes was the number one choice for Harley riders (73 percent), while adding performance equipment was the top choice for those who ride sport bikes (44 percent).

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance.

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