Most Motorcycle-Friendly States

Motorcycle graph

With long winter nights in the rearview and spring just around the bend, many states are gearing up for motorcycle season. But since some parts of the U.S. are still buried in snow, we wondered which states are the most conducive to 2 wheels.

To figure it out, we scaled mountains of motorcycle stats, looking at everything from weather and safety to theft and helmet laws. In the end, we determined that all states have their motorcycling merits (and drawbacks), but here are a few specifics.

*Safest *Least safe **Most stolen bikes
1. Rhode Island (7) 1. Texas (358) 1. California (5,927)
2. Alaska (8) 2. California (318) 2. Texas (3,950)
3. Vermont/Wyoming (11) 3. Florida (287) 3. Florida (3,927)
4. Delaware (15) 4. Pennsylvania (184) 4. North Carolina (2,446)
5. North Dakota (16) 5. New York/Ohio (150) 5. Indiana (2,114)

Of course, weather also plays a big part in determining the motorcycle-friendliness of a state. It comes as no surprise that states with higher motorcycle theft rates also have warmer year-round temperatures, hence more riding opportunities.

Warmest temps (annual avg. °F) Most rainy days: (annual avg. inches)
1. Florida (70.7) 1. Hawaii (63.7)
2. Hawaii (70.0) 2. Louisiana (60.1)
3. Louisiana (66.4) 3. Mississippi (59.0)
4. Texas (64.8) 4. Alabama (58.3)
5. Georgia (63.5) 5. Florida (54.5)

The breakdown

Though Florida may offer some of the best riding weather and California the prettiest routes, they also have higher fatality and theft rates. Similarly, Hawaii and Louisiana are warm year round, but you might have to brave wet roads and occasional downpours.

The bottom line

Rain or shine, Texas or North Dakota, Harley Davidson or Yamaha, always remember your helmet. According to recent studies, helmets are estimated to reduce fatalities among motorcycle riders by 37 percent and among passengers by 41 percent. So whether or not helmets are required by law in your state, be smart and wear one anyway. And check out our motorcycle safety tips for even more ways to stay safe on your bike.

Wherever you go, enjoy the ride! And remember, if you’re looking for motorcycle insurance, Esurance can help. We now offer motorcycle coverage in Wisconsin and Illinois (as well as other states through our partners).

Get a motorcycle quote.

*Based on reported fatalities Jan-Sep 2012 (PDF)
**According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau

Related links

The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Annual average temperature per state
Annual average rainfall per state
America’s best motorcycle roads and rides
Our tips for avoiding motorcycle theft

6 Responses to “Most Motorcycle-Friendly States”

  1. TrafficSurfer
    July 27, 2013 #

    Please use rates not numbers. Your article discusses rates but you used numbers of fatalities. Apples and oranges.

  2. Sam
    August 1, 2013 #

    The use of numbers rather than rates makes this article completely useless. For example, if California had 321 fatalities and Florida had 306, then California is MUCH SAFER than Florida — only 6% more fatalities in a much bigger state with about 97% more people, i.e. California's fatality rate is just barely over half of Florida's. Yes, HALF. (Florida has no helmet law for adults, partially explaining why their rate is so much higher.)

    That's for population, not miles, but it's a whole lot closer than what we've got here which is just basically a list of the least and most populous states mislabeled as safest and least safe.

    In fact, let's look at first-place "Safest" Alaska. The state has only 663,000 people and 7 fatalities. If we extrapolate to California's size (38M people) we would expect 7 * (38M/663k) = close to 400 fatalities. MORE than California. And this in a cold state with very few riders and a short riding season, which means likely fewer miles! Probably more collisions with bears than with cars, but hitting a bear or an elk is every bit as deadly as hitting a Mazda. Mile for mile, you're more likely to die in Alaska than in Cali. Put that in the bank.

    Their "Safest" state is in truth statistically more dangerous to ride in than their "Least Safe" state.
    Why bother with this? Rates are all that matter. Numbers without any control for sample size, basically just tell you which state is biggest.

    • Steve Dell
      October 20, 2013 #

      You would think an insurance organization would get it right. These are probably the same actuarial tables they use to set premium rates. Not too bright.

      • Marina
        December 10, 2013 #

        Yep! This is the same way one can prove that helmet laws lead to more deaths. Because more motorcyclists die in California, which has a helmet law, than in Iowa, which doesn't.
        That California has more than 10 times the population, and in addition a population that actually ride motorcycles, is completely irrelevant, apparently!

  3. Jbizzle
    August 22, 2013 #

    I must not be very good at geography because I couldn't find a state named "New England". Seriously…….New England is a state. Man our schools are doing a great job.

    • Ellen Hall
      August 22, 2013 #

      Good catch! That should be "Nebraska," not "New England." Thanks for spotting it.

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