I found the following claim on the website of an offroad motorcycle course company:
Over 95% of the world's roads are unpaved, so if you don't like to (or can't) ride in the dirt, you'll find yourself confined to a mere 5% of the planet. Source: BMW Off-Road Academy
It sounds like just another made-up-on-the-spot statistic that is there to entice motorcyclists into taking their off-road courses.
- Is there any basis to this number?
- How would you even arrive at such a number?
- What qualifies as a road?
- From the moment is it ridable by motorcycle?
- Or is every hacked path through the jungle also considered a road?
- What about the fifty-meter passageway between the major roads near my house (I'm sure if you add all of these kinds of roads all over the planet up, that you'd have quite a few hundred of thousands of kilometres of road).
The only data that I have been able to find related to this is on the website of the World Bank, and this data seems to, in no way, point at >95% of unpaved roads all over the world: - If 36,4% of all roads in Afghanistan (not exactly the most industrialised country in the world) are paved, how can 95% of the world's road be unpaved? - The lowest number in the table, 7%, for Kenya, is the only one that comes even close to 95% of the roads being unpaved, in that specific country (not at all the whole world).
Besides, I also have serious reservations about these data: the same methodological concerns that I outlined above apply (what is considered a road?), but also the fact that some countries seem to have 100% paved roads make it seem unreliable. Not a single unpaved road in Denmark, Austria, and France? Having hiked thousands of kilometres in France, I can personally testify that this is false.