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Opinion/Editorial

Where Are the Motorcyclists in the USA?

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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
1 South Dakota 69,284 816,598 11.8
2 New Hampshire 79,266 1,316,807 16.6
3 Iowa 173,929 3,050,202 17.5
4 Wisconsin 317,276 5,691,659 17.9
5 Wyoming 30,351 564,554 18.6
6 North Dakota 32,654 674,629 20.7
7 Vermont 30,070 625,909 20.8
8 Montana 46,996 990,958 21.1
9 Minnesota 240,288 5,310,658 22.1
10 Alaska 30,983 714,146 23.0
11 Idaho 62,576 1,571,102 25.1
12 Maine 50,318 1,327,379 26.4
13 New Jersey 330,470 8,799,593 26.6
14 Colorado 173,120 5,047,692 29.2
15 Delaware 30,494 899,792 29.5
16 Ohio 390,494 11,537,968 29.5
17 Oklahoma 127,140 3,760,184 29.6
18 Washington 220,856 6,742,950 30.5
19 Pennsylvania 404,164 12,717,722 31.5
20 Indiana 204,402 6,490,622 31.8
21 New Mexico 64,863 2,065,913 31.9
22 Rhode Island 32,989 1,052,528 31.9
23 Michigan 308,338 9,877,143 32.0
24 Florida 574,176 18,838,613 32.8
25 West Virginia 56,210 1,854,368 33.0
26 Kansas 81,354 2,859,143 35.1
27 Oregon 108,313 3,838,332 35.4
28 Nebraska 51,371 1,830,141 35.6
29 Arizona 178,890 6,413,158 35.8
30 Connecticut 97,960 3,575,498 36.5
31 Illinois 350,193 12,841,980 36.7
32 Alabama 127,255 4,785,401 37.6
33 Tennessee 168,408 6,357,436 37.8
34 Arkansas 76,293 2,921,588 38.3
35 Nevada 68,951 2,704,283 39.2
36 Virginia 195,722 8,023,953 41.0
37 Massachusetts 159,000 6,555,466 41.2
38 Missouri 140,936 5,995,715 42.5
39 North Carolina 223,209 9,560,234 42.8
40 South Carolina 107,864 4,637,106 43.0
41 Kentucky 98,475 4,347,223 44.1
42 Hawaii 30,098 1,363,359 45.3
43 California 801,803 37,338,198 46.6
44 Utah 59,355 2,775,479 46.8
45 Maryland 120,069 5,785,681 48.2
46 Georgia 199,586 9,712,157 48.7
47 New York 345,816 19,395,206 56.1
48 Texas 438,551 25,253,466 57.6
49 Louisiana 67,486 4,545,343 67.4
50 Mississippi 28,067 2,970,072 105.8
51 Dist. of Col. 3,523 604,912 171.7
Total 8,410,255 309,330,219 36.8

Source: The Motley Fool via Motorcycle.com







Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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