Why are motorcycles not popular in America? Detail Overview

Cars in America highway
Cars in America highway

Motorcycles are most popular in other parts of the world like India, China, Thailand, Vietnam than cars. America is a land of cars, here people prefer or buy cars than a motorcycle. So, I dig into this question, did some research, and here is what I found.

So, Why are motorcycles not popular in America? Motorcycles are not considered an option for the daily commute or utilitarian vehicles because of the safety concern, less space, and climate. American roads are covered with ice, snow during winter. That’s why motorcycles are not popular in America as cars.

But it does not mean people in the USA don’t use motorcycles. People do use motorcycles but as recreational vehicles, not as utilitarian.

Apart from this, there are many other factors that make motorcycles less popular in America than in cars.

Here are several reasons motorcycles are not popular in America.

In this section, we will discuss some factors or cause that makes motorcycle less popular in America.

Lees Population

America has less number of population than China or India. Now I have taken the example of India and China because in these countries the population is way greater than America. And these countries have more number of motorcycles than the whole USA population.

If we compare America with India, then America has a 3 times larger area than India and having almost 50% or less population. Thus, having a large area makes a perfect environment for cars.

Otherwise, there will rise an issue for traffic, parking, etc. Thus, a larger land Area and less population is the ideal situation for becoming the cars a utilitarian vehicle in America.

Vast Area

In America, there is a vast area between infrastructures like hospitals, shopping malls, residences, cafes, restaurants, etc. 

USA population is way lower than other populous countries, with having a large land area. So, there is a large area available for parking of cars. Also the average distance an American travels to reach his/her job at least 15 miles.

While According to the U.S Department of transportation approximately 8% of the workforce travels more than 35 miles. Thus, people get used to cars for long-distance travel.

Climate/ Weather

Snowfall in America during winter
Snowfall in America during winter

The climate in the USA is the major factor to have cars then a motorcycle. People cannot ride a motorcycle in heavy snowfall or below 0° Celsius. 

And in summer the temperature goes up to 28-degree celsius and it is very frustrating to ride motorcycles with all the gears for long-distance.

Because in the USA, to reach even the shortest distance is 10- 20 miles in the urban areas. So, it is wise to have a car and drive comfortably in every weather.

Safety Concern

Safety is a concern for Americans. Driving a motorcycle is less safe than cars. You can’t ride a motorcycle in the US without wearing protective gear like full-face helmets, gloves, body armor, etc for both rider and passenger.

Now, imagine the kind of frustration it becomes if you need to go to the shopping center or restaurants. Thus it’s better to have cars than motorcycles.

Apart from this most of the families have cars and children learn to ride a car at the small age of 15. So, they don’t even think of buying a motorcycle.

And those who got interest in motorcycle their parents don’t let them have. Because it’s not safe to drive.

Limited space of Motorcycle

With motorcycle there is one limitation is that we cannot drive with more than two people at once.

And the are average American’s have two children or at least a baby and then a pet. Apart from families, there are luggage and other items which are not possible to carry on a motorcycle.

Apart from this the family frequently goes outside for shopping, restaurants, etc. It’s obvious you can’t put everything on the motorcycle. It’s not suitable for families or even a single guy to have a motorcycle. That’s why motorcycles are less popular in America than cars.


Having a license for a motorcycle in America is not an easy process. Car licenses are relatively cheap and easy to get than a motorcycle license.

Getting a motorcycle license in America is an added effort and expense. That’s why even if someone buys a motorcycle in the USA, it is for fun. It is for weekdays but their primary transport remains a car.

Now, let’s make all the factors in short summary to have a better understanding.

So, Why are motorcycles not popular in America?

  • The major factor is Climate change, it is not a suitable and safe option to drive motorcycles in hot, cold, and winter. Because even the average distance between their home and office is about 20 miles.
  • In America, safety is a major concern for people. People feel safer in their cars than on a motorcycle. Thus, this is the major factor for motorcycles or scooters being unpopular in America.
  • Cars have become a cultural and utilitarian vehicle. While the motorcycle is treated as a recreational vehicle. That’s why cars have becomes a primary source of transportation and other things.
  • Motorcycles come with limited space that makes it unsuitable to drive. Because an Average American family consists of at least 3 members. Thus, most people prefer cars over motorcycles.
  • Having a license for a motorcycle is an extra effort, training, etc. Thus, motorcycles are less popular.
  • Apart from this, if you have a motorcycle you can’t drive it without safety gear. You can’t be ascertained about the things get wrong. The pillion or passenger also has to wear protective gear and this makes the motorcycle a less interesting vehicle in America.
  • The most important factor is that the American population is way less and has a large vast area. This factor adds the environment to have a car.

So, these were the reason motorcycles are not popular in America than in cars.


Why is scooter not popular in America?

Scooters are not popular in America because the scooter comes with less CC engine and is fairly slower to cover large distances which makes it boring to ride. Apart from this scooter is as dangerous as motorcycles. Most people in America like to travel in a steel cage-like car. It is a safer, convenient, and easy option to ride.

Are motorcycles becoming less popular?

The motorcycle is a recreational vehicle for Americans. But in other parts of the world like China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and many more motorcycles are considered a utilitarian vehicle. That’s why people use it for day to day life work. So, we cannot say motorcycle is becoming less popular, it is just a different country with different norms.

What is the most popular motorcycle in America?

According to Statista, Harley Davidson is still the most popular motorcycle in America (USA). Although, there are other competitors which are breathing down its neck. Like Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, etc.

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