Best State to Ride is… Florida?!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
On Wednesdays here at the Motorcycle USA HQ, our taskmasters reward the hired help with the much-appreciated breakfast snack. It usually consists of a bagel or donut, but today it was a croissant from Costco. Mine featured a tasty dollop of blackberry jam, which I smeared upon the confection’s flaky innards via white plastic butter knife. I recall the croissant’s details so vividly, because I nearly choked on the damn thing after reading a proclamation that the best state in the country to ride a motorcycle was… Florida?!
Progressive Insurance came up with the rankings, publishing the top-20 states to ride
based off its own research data. Florida topping the list nearly made me choke, but the inclusion of corn-covered, flat-as-a-board Kansas as fifth and Nebraska 14th! But, but, but… How?!
In fairness, I’ve never ridden those three states. And I’ll allow Florida does have some scenic destinations, like Miami and The Keys. But has anyone ever heard a rider going on and on about those epic roads down in Florida? Now, I have
heard folks whine about how Florida’s roads are most often straight, flat and littered with road kill, with the best corners found on freeway off-ramps. As for Kansas and Nebraska, again, no offense to the Jayhawks and Cornhuskers out there, but Midwestern modesty surely blushes at the outlandish rankings.
The PR is reminiscent of when Allstate compared accident rates with its customers' zodiac signs
. Meant as a tongue in cheek, the press release raised a tizzy in all sorts of decent folks, from places like Nebraska and Kansas, who don’t believe in that astrological nonsense. Allstate later had to issue an embarrassing retraction. Is this another attempt by the actuarial crowd at PR humor?
After all I do see that Progressive ranked North Carolina ninth. I’ve ridden in North Carolina a handful of times, and those roads are unquestionably epic. I’d reckon them in my top five for sure, without hesitation. But then I see North Carolina just edged out Iowa for its top-10 position… Again, I find myself perplexed.
Where’s California? Not in Progressive’s Top 20. This in spite of the Golden State representing the heart of motorcycling in the U.S. A huge chunk of the motorcycle industry, including all the Japanese manufacturers, call Southern California home. Some of the best roads in the nation are less than a tank of gas away from the huge riding populations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. The large Bay Area ridership boasts just as epic terrain for their Sunday morning rides.
Which brings me closer to home, MCUSA’s own Oregon. Sure, it rains a bit up here in the Pacific Northwest, but are we to believe that our Oregonian confines are worse to ride than: Kansas (5th), Mississippi (6th), Oklahoma (7th), Iowa (10th) and Nebraska (14th)?
Progressive explains its rankings reflect additional info, like the number of good riding days, accident rates, road conditions, population density and gas prices. So, in other words, the rankings make perfect sense to an insurance salesman.
What's the famous quote: there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” We have to admit the Progressive rankings do make for a good for a laugh though, or at least a croissant strangling.
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