Two Wheelers Rule

While the US auto industry barrels through the current economic doldrums — two-wheel transportation shows a mixed bag of good and bad news.

Bicycle riding in the US is in decline, despite the apparent surge of bike culture in cities like Philadelphia. Nationally the number of people over the age of 7 who go bike riding regularly has remained in the 39 to 40 million range for the last decade, while the population has increased by 27 million during that period.

US Motorcycle sales have seen a three-year trend of nearly flat sales and a slight decline in 2012, attributable according to the industry to unemployment and stagnating incomes.

However trendy fuel efficient motor scooters are seeing annual sales increases of around 12 percent, with Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer of the iconic Vespa, reporting a 42.8 percent increase in sales for the first half of 2012 and claiming a 36 percent share of US 50 cc scooter sales.

As a spectator sport, motorcycles are still mesmerizing — with marquee events like the AMA Pro Road Racing Championships at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville NJ September 7 thru 9 attracting good crowds and a national TV audience.