From Arizona’s Grand Canyon to New York’s Catskill Mountains, all 50 states offer unique, great places to ride. And more riders are hitting the road to take advantage of those scenic and thrilling rides: motorcycle and scooter sales rose 10.5 percent through the first quarter of 2011, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. So whether you’re a newbie or a lifelong biker, you can plan your next trip with this list of the best states to ride, courtesy of Progressive Insurance, the #1 insurer of motorcycles in the U.S.:
Progressive’s list of best states to ride
4. South Carolina
9. North Carolina
13. New Mexico/West Virginia (tie)
“American riding is as diverse as American riders—from the city rider to the country cruiser,” said Dan Kamionkowski, motorcycle product manager at Progressive. “Some states that you may consider obvious good places to ride were not included in the top 20 when all data were taken into account—but they’re still great options.”
Where the sun is always shining
—While California ranks in the top 10 (#6) for number of good riding days, The Golden State didn’t make the top 20 due to higher accident frequency, population density, and gas prices; and low percentage of smoother riding roadways.
—While the weather in Hawaii offers bikers the highest number of good riding days, it’s edged out of the top 10 in part due to its low percentage of smoother riding roadways and high population density.
Escape the big city
—New York has many great rides but one reason it’s not in the overall top 20 is because of New York City’s high population density. New York makes it into the top 10 (#6, up from #44) if New York City is removed from the population density data.
“Based on our experience, we pulled together what we consider to be important data to help bikers make better riding decisions. It’s not the end-all-be-all list of variables, for sure, since preferences vary from rider to rider, but we hope it will help riders plan their next road trip,” continued Kamionkowski.
Progressive looked at the following data to determine its list of best states to ride:
• number of good riding days (based on temperature and precipitation);
• likelihood of getting into a motorcycle crash;
• percentage of smoother riding roadways;
• population density; and
• average price for a gallon of regular gasoline
Here’s how states rank by each data set:
|Most number of good riding days:
|Lowest likelihood of getting into a motorcycle crash:
5. South Carolina
|Highest percentage of smoother riding roadways:
1. North Dakota
|Lowest average price for a gallon of regular gasoline:
5. South Carolina
|Lowest population density
4. North Dakota
5. South Dakota
“As the number one motorcycle insurer in the country, we want to help bikers get the most out of their time on the road,” said Kamionkowski. “We hope this list offers them insight before they go full throttle on their next excursion.”