Talking to a European colleague the other day, I had to remind him that the United States is just as big and diverse as the European Union, with our country’s states being as unique as the sovereigns involved in the EU. The same goes for motorcycling in the US, with our sport and passion taking different shapes depending on your geography of this Great Union.
It tickled my fancy then, when today I saw a breakdown of motorcyclists by state in the United States, especially when the results were displayed on a per capita basis. Of the 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States (D.O.T. figure, as of 2011), which states have the most motorcyclists by volume? The answer shouldn’t surprise you as California, Texas, and Florida take the top honors, likely due to their mild winters and coastal routes.
But which states have the highest concentrations of motorcyclists? Now that is where things get more interesting: South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Iowa. You’re a no good dirty liar if you say you predicted those three states to be at top of the list — with each stating sporting 12, 17, 18 and people per bike, respectively.
You can scratch your heads about the per capita figures with us. Our colleagues at Motorcycle.com suggest that the states’ hosting of popular bike rallies could play a role in the per capita listings, meanwhile we have our own theories about the popularity of motorcycles amongst Libertarian/Tea Party minded folks.
Neither theory works outr perfectly well, as Florida should have scored much higher with its hosting of the upcoming Daytona Beach Bike Week, which rivals Sturgis as the biggest motorcycle rally in the USA, depending on who does the counting, and what year we are talking about when making the comparison.
Similarly, if politics were purely at play, Oklahoma and Tennessee would have scored much better in their per capita tallies, but instead they are firmly in the middle of the pack.
It would seem fitting generalizations to motorcyclists is just as difficult as fitting generalizations to the whole of the United States of America — no surprise there.
However, one stereotype plays well, and is perhaps the most alarming fact and figure that we see here: our lawmakers in the District of Columbia ranked dead last when it came to motorcyclists per capita — over 4.5x less than the national average. Now that says something, now doesn’t it?
If you have any keen observations of your won, please leave them in the comments section. Bonus points if you use an ANOVA in your analysis.
Ranking of Motorcycles per Capita in the United States of America:
|Rank||State||No. of Motorcycles||Population||People per Motorcycle|
|51||Dist. of Col.||3,523||604,912||171.7|