For many, California is motorcycling Mecca. 

Between the mild climate, mountain roads, highly car-congested city streets, and ability to lane-split, you've got a perfect spot to own, operate, and even commute to work on a motorcycle. It was definitely a perk for when I lived there. 

And because of those reasons, there are more motorcycle riders in California than any other state—over 800,000 registered riders, to be exact. But because of that, plus the general state of driver education and driver ability, you'd think that it'd also have the highest amount of injuries and fatalities relative to its population of riders?

You'd be wrong. In fact, despite its higher population of riders, California is safer than a lot of other states, comparatively speaking. The dubious honor of the most dangerous state to live in as a motorcyclist is, in fact, Florida.

Of course it is.

The research was compiled by Burger Law, which was looking at trying to figure out which was the best state for motorcycle lovers, and eyeing a host of data points using NHTSA, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and other sources. The group looked at things like road conditions, snowfall, average amount of clear days, insurance cost, number of motorcycle stores, and more.

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But in looking at the data, more appeared thanks to data concerning the number of motorcycle fatalities between 2018 and 2022 and the number of registered motorcycles. And you when you look at those two, you find that despite California being the state with the most registered motorcycles, it's only number two in terms of fatalities. But because other states have fewer registered motorcycles, you find that others have far higher rates of fatalities compared to their population of riders. 

According to the study, California has approximately 812,924 registered motorcycles. And between 2018 and 2022, 2,902 riders were fatally killed. Florida, on the other had, had 637,448 registered riders, and 3,188 fatalities over the same period. Texas was actually worse compared to everyone, with its 343,292 riders and 2,480 fatalities. North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Ohio are equally not great, having fewer and fewer registered riders, but similarly high fatal motorcycle accidents.  

It's also worth noting that Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania helmet laws only require anyone under the age of 21 to wear one. While Ohio only mandates those under the age of 18 wear one. Everyone else is free to do as they please.

North Carolina, Tennessee, however, require all operators to wear one. 

It's an interesting study, though not for the reasons stated by the law firm. But from what I see in the data, helmet laws positively impact rider safety. Just as Missouri recently found out. And, at least in my opinion and life experience, so does a more pro-motorcycle driving culture. Though, even in California you get nut jobs trying to kill you.

Ask me how I know.

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