Motorcycle Sales Rise in First Quarter

motorcycle-industry-council-logoIn the first quarter of 2011, most major brands reported a rise in motorcycle sales. The Motorcycle Industry Council reports that major brands saw a rise of 7.2% in motorcycle sales during the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same time period last year.

The Motorcycle Industry Council’s Retail Sales Report, tracks the sales of the 18 leading brands in the US.

Scooters saw the biggest boost in sales, growing by nearly 50%. Dual-sport bikes, which are typically considered to be highly fuel efficient, grew 25%.

“Nothing compares to a motorcycle for combining fun with saving money,” said Tim Buche, MIC president and chief executive officer. “There’s no more enjoyable way to get to work and get around, and rising fuel prices have given our customers yet another great reason to ride.”

The MIC also points out that motorcycle tire sales were up, indicating that a lot of people are out riding their bikes.

“Tire sales add to new-bike sales figures as a measure of motorcycle interest since there are still a lot of great used bikes putting on the miles, and older bikes that owners are reviving and enjoying once again,” Buche said. “We see Americans leaving their cars at home more, enjoying the convenience and exhilaration of motorcycling, and getting into a different way of being green.”

The MIC also says that the amount of miles ridden by motorcyclists has also increased in recent years. The MIC estimates that the amount of miles traveled in 2009 was 27.6 billion miles, a 5% increase over 2008.

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Polaris Acquires Global Electric Motorcars From Chrysler

GEMJust a few days after Polaris acquired Indian Motorcycle, Polaris announced another company that will reside in its garage. Polaris will acquire Global Electric Motorcars, a subsidiary of Chrysler.

GEM, based in Fargo, North Dakota, manufacturers electric powered vehicles. Polaris now has the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in US history with Indian Motorcycle, as well as a company that is focusing solely on the future of alternative power with GEM.

“GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris’ strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth,” said Scott Wine, Polaris chief executive officer. “We are excited about the outlook for growth within this market space, and are looking forward to developing even stronger growth prospects for the GEM business.”

GEM was established in 1998. Since then, they have put about 45,000 electric vehicles on the road. In 2010, GEM did about $30 million worth of business.

“Our vision is to accelerate profitable sales growth for GEM, by combining Polaris’ strength in new product innovation with the most-recognized brand in the low speed vehicle market space,” said Mike Jonikas, vice president of the On-Road Vehicle Division. “These new product efforts for GEM will be supported by an expanded distribution presence within select domestic and international markets.”

Polaris hasn’t closed on GEM yet, but is expected to within the next 60 days. Polaris is currently securing state sales certificates to sell GEM products. Once that is finalized, GEM will be another company working under Polaris.

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Army Vet Survives Horrible Motorcycle Crash [Video]

motorcycle_accidentBy no fault of his own, Iraq war veteran Zacharie Perez was hit by two cars on a Texas interstate. A third car narrowly missed Perez as he laid on the concrete.

Perez was riding his motorcycle near Dallas when he slowed down due to traffic. The car behind him didn’t slow down, and rear ended Perez. Perez was thrown into the car in front of him and his bike was run over.

“I don’t remember being thrown in the air but I remember landing on the ground, trying to push myself back to the left lane, so that I wouldn’t get hit,” Perez said. “But then some of the witnesses came by and told me to stay down. I was about five to ten minutes from being home. I passed this car, the car that actually rear ended me, they were gesturing me to go around them. As I passed them, the people in front of me started slowing down.”

Perez ruptured his spleen, had four broken vertebrae, a broken rib, road rash, and a lumbar hernia. The driver that hit him, got three traffic violations.

Here’s the video of Perez’ accident.

Perez wasn’t driving recklessly. He wasn’t speeding. He wasn’t following too closely. He just had the terrible misfortune of riding in front of a reckless driver.

Perez was in no way at fault, but here are a few things you might want to consider in order to prevent a similar accident.

  • Wear bright reflective clothing.
  • Try to avoid engine braking in traffic. Using your engine to brake will not engage your brake lights, and some drivers may not realize that you are slowing.

Of course, it looks like Perez was wearing a bright white jacket and used his hand brake. So even if you do everything correctly, remember that you’re still at risk while you’re on a motorcycle.

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