Biker Babes

By: Elizabeth Prann
By: Elizabeth Prann

From cutting coupons to cutting back on the number of wheels, some local women are taking the term ‘Biker Babe’ to a whole new level.

“You better watch out for us...please!!!,” says Bikers Susan Ates and Melissa Hyatt.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, women account for about 13 percent of motorcycle riders. That's a 29 percent increase since 2003, and Bay County is no exception.

“The past several weeks we've seen 50 percent of the class is women," said
Emerald Cycles Instructor, Kimberly Tuttle.

Ok…riding is trendy but these women say they're on to something. Something that is making their wallets happy too.

Rider, Melissa Bryan said, “You don't have to fill up your tank everyday and you definitely feel like going to the gas station is not as much a pain" "Can you believe it, I'll probably ride all week on $10 !!"

Kimberly and her husband Bill opened up Emerald Coast Motorcycle Training in Panama City Beach more than a year ago, it's a three-part course with about nine students per class. Some students who take the class have never even sat on a bike.

"We saw a lot of woman last year but not nearly as many as we've been getting lately... Sometimes it's an economical factor, it's less expensive to buy a motorcycle than a car and gas mileage is always better on a motorcycle."

And if there is one thing the instructors say does *not* cross gender lines…it's safety.

"Act like the cars don't see you, like your invisible. And first and foremost be defensive.”


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