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Running on Fumes

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.
Post Tags: Progressive Insurance, Best State to Ride
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Comments
AlanGrofield September 25, 2011 04:39 PM
FL? Safest? Best state to ride? They must be out of their (bleeping) minds. I live here for six years now, and on almost every corner in my area there is a cross, marker, or flowers/candles where someone has died. There are literally hundreds in the area. I have never seen so many rude and downright dangerous cagers (as well as motorcyclists) in my life! I miss riding like you wouldn't believe, but one has to have a serious death wish to ride a motorcycle (or bicycle) in this god-forsaken state. It sure as HELL isn't the "best place to ride" by any stretch of the imagination. How sad. How off the mark. But then again, it IS information put out by an insurance company. Enough said. Thanks for reading. Can you tell how badly I want to move back to the west coast?
NERider June 30, 2011 11:39 AM
I grew up in Florida and rode motorcycles there for the better part of 10 years. Yes, plenty of sunshine, but the best place to ride?!? I don't think so. Anyone who hasn't ridden in the upper New England states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and even Mass) is missing out on THE BEST riding! Sure, some of the back roads can be a little rough, but it keeps it interesting. The scenery is fantastic, the traffic is light (away from the typical tourist areas) and the weather is usually pretty good. Any true rider owes it to him/herself to ride across the upper NE states and decide for yourself where the best states to ride are!
TonyDee June 30, 2011 07:38 AM
Astrology isn't how it was done this time. The used a pin the tail on the donkey game to get these fine results.
509MXFan June 29, 2011 06:37 PM
I couldn't agree more! Apparently other readers are as perplexed, if you see the comments on the story itself. Then again, considering the source, it doesn't suprise me an insurance company would select the best states the way they did.