Motorcycle Survey Reveals Riders’ Top 5 Pet Peeves

Click the image above to view the full infographic.

For many motorcycle riders, nothing beats the thrill of maneuvering a powerful steel and chrome machine—hand on the throttle, wind in the face and curves of the pavement ahead. But motorcycling has some downsides, according to a national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance and conducted by Harris Poll.

The online survey, conducted in June 2015, asked nearly 200 U.S. motorcycle riders to share their top five pet peeves about both other riders and drivers of four-wheel vehicles, as well as the most common rookie rider mistakes. It also asked riders to fess up to the craziest, weirdest or most reckless thing they’d ever done while riding, or seen others do. Needless to say, that question yielded some quirky results. Top line survey results are summarized below and shown in this infographic.

“Motorcycle riding can be incredibly fun and invigorating but our survey results show that riders really need keep their guard up at all times because there are a lot of hazards out there,” said Cody Cook, vice president and product manager at Erie Insurance. “It also shows how important it is to have the right motorcycle insurance to protect both themselves and their bikes. More than one in 10 riders (11%) admitted to not having any motorcycle insurance.

Riders’ Top 5 Pet Peeves about Other Riders

Pet Peeve Percent of riders who list this as a top 5 pet peeve
1. Riders who drive aggressively or recklessly (i.e., speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, doing wheelies, etc.) 56%
2. Riders who pass on the shoulder 41%
3. Riders who engage in “lane splitting” (riding in between lanes of stopped traffic) 36%
4. Riders who don’t wear protective gear (i.e., riders who wear things like shorts, sandals, tank tops, etc.) 35%
5. Riders who don’t wear helmets 28%

Riders’ Top 5 Pet Peeves about Vehicle Drivers (cars, trucks, SUVs, etc.)

Pet Peeve Percent of riders who list this is a top 5 pet peeve
1. Drivers who don’t check their blind spots before changing lanes 55%
2. Drivers who text while driving 53%
3. Aggressive or reckless drivers (i.e., speeding, weaving in and out of traffic) 50%
4. Drivers who tailgate 43%
5. Drivers who don’t use signals when turning or changing lanes 42%

Riders’ view of Top 5 Rookie Rider Mistakes

Mistake Percent of riders who think new riders make this mistake
1. Assuming other drivers can see them 38%
2. Wanting to show off or impress others 35%
3. Buying a bike that’s more powerful than they can handle 31%
4. Not taking a riding or safety course (TIE) 30%
4. Riding on high traffic roads too soon before they’re comfortable maneuvering their bike (TIE) 30%
5. Failure to check blind spots 28%

As for the weird, crazy or reckless things riders said they’ve done or seen others do:

  • Several riders said they had stood on the seat with their hands in the air while speeding down the highway, or had seen others doing it
  • A couple of riders reported seeing others texting while riding. One said the texter was leaning onto his backseat and steering with his feet.
  • One rider saw an amorous couple riding their bike in a compromising position.
  • One rider said he cruised up behind a woman who had her bare feet sticking out the passenger seat window of a car and tickled her feet. He said “She freaked…then burst out laughing.”

About the survey
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance from June 19-23, & June 25-29, 2015 among 192 motorcycle riders. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Leah Knapp at

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