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  • Writer's pictureJeff Moffett

Off-Highway Vehicles for Social Distancing

More People Turning to Off-Highway Vehicles for Social Distancing

From Two Wheels to Four Wheels – Pre-COVID Motorsports Trends

For the past decade, utility terrain vehicles (UTV) or side-by-sides have led the way in motorsports sales, growing at almost six percent annually. By July of 2019, UTV sales were reaching new heights, according to an article published by the Specialty Equipment Market Association. Ease of use and versatility have UTVs accounting for all of the motorsports industry’s grow over the 12 years through 2019.

All-terrain vehicles, or “quads” were initially developed for commercial use such as for construction and ranching. The evolution to side-by-sides and their passenger seats have opened the market to a much broader audience. “They’re easy to operate, useful in multiple terrains for work or play and—like boating—you can bring multiple people along to enjoy the ride,” according to Greg Broeder, senior partner of Power Products Marketing.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, motorized outdoor recreation was taking off. Visits to California’s State Vehicle Recreation Areas (SVRA) increased 54 percent from 2016 through 2019. The strong growth of OHV sales points to a new record for 2020 visitation stats.

Pandemic Rejuvenates Motorcycle Enthusiasm

While UTV sales have been leading the way in motorsports, motorcycle sales have experienced the slow decline of a mature market. The coronavirus has reversed that trend for now. As social distancing has become the norm in 2020, off-highway and dual-purpose motorcycles sales sky rocketed over 50 percent during the first have of 2020 compared to the same period one year ago. According to Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council. “Now, with the pandemic, it has amplified what’s positive about getting out on motorcycles. You can get out of the house, have fun with your loved ones, and still maintain social distancing.”

More Sales Leads to More Training and Education

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, participation in motorcycle training program is very strong across the country this year. From New York and Georgia to Colorado and New Mexico, riders are signing up for education classes with registrations up as high as 26 percent. New riders with proper training are more likely to become lifetime participants.

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