Study Reveals Worst Motorcycle Drivers by State. Louisiana Is Worst.

First, let me mention that reading this study my first reaction was that a ranking of the worst motorcycle drivers by State (number of motorcyclist fatalities) is equivalent to rank States by the worst car drivers since most motorcycle accidents are the consequence of car driver mistakes. So, the headline is quite misleading…

This being said, this ranking is important because depending of your home state it directly affects your motorcycle insurance premiums. In this study published by Insurance Providers statistics data is drawn from the US Census Bureau’s motorcycle registration data and from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s crash statistics by state and vehicle type.

Each state is ranked based on the number of motorcycle fatalities in that state in 2009 compared to the total number of registered bikes in the state. Tthe states which have the most motorcycle fatalities are mostly the southern states

The list, starting with the worst-ranked state, is as follows:

36 Responses to “Study Reveals Worst Motorcycle Drivers by State. Louisiana Is Worst.”

  1. 1 IndySpringer Jul 5th, 2012 at 8:14 am


    What were the 10 best states? I’d love to see where Indiana ranked.

  2. 2 GuitarSlinger Jul 5th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Hold on a second here !!! Looking at the list it appears that Louisiana is Number One .. followed by Missouri ( no surprise to me as I live here at present and would rank our M/C riders the worst IMHO , having lived and ridden all across the US and CDN ) and Texas . Ol’ Miss seems to be way down in 23rd

    So was’up with that ?

    @ IndySpringer – Indiana seems to be just above dead center on worst (31st ) so I’d guess from that a little better than average on best

  3. 3 Kroeter Jul 5th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Looks like the chart is different than what was explained.

  4. 4 Seven Jul 5th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for posting this. I am curious if we could make a comparison
    in fatalities or ranking with states based on helmet laws. Just curious.

  5. 5 burnout Jul 5th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Liability premium on my daily bike is higher than my TWO pickup trucks together! How can I do more damage to property with the bike vs a truck? peace

  6. 6 Will Jul 5th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Insurance companies are out to make money. They will justify charges using statistics skewed to their advantage.

  7. 7 Toby Jul 6th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    The scoring is a bit contrived. Adding in the fatalities per million miles gives the impression that the rider’s are always at fault. As we all know, they usually are not. Drop the fatalities variable, and rescore based on tickets and arrests per million rider hours. These are the objective statistics that are directly attributable to rider behavior.

    Fatalities only shows how dangerous a state may be. It does not address who or what the cause of those fatalities might be (another study).

  8. 8 Mike Greenwald Jul 6th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Insurance industry in bed with politicians publishing statistics. Who is lying here, the pimp or the whore?

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  9. 9 Ben Jul 7th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Of course southern states have the higher fatality rate, they have more riding weather and are riding more miles. I’ll bet if you factor the actual miles ridden during the study period things would even out considerably.

  10. 10 Zyon Jul 8th, 2012 at 9:20 am

    unless you routinely ride in a double line of 200 bikers or more, who cares which state has the worst riders… I care more about the state that has the worst cage drivers… Simply give me these rankings for automobiles and throw in how many drivers were cited for hitting motorcycles. I have to keep my head on a swivel here in PA.

  11. 11 Blackmax Jul 8th, 2012 at 10:36 am

    It’s pretty bad here in the Midwest, but I’m glad we’re not the worst
    Rider/Driver education is the key, not helmets

  12. 12 reyn mansson Jul 9th, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I live in New Orleans, we have a saying here, “Half the folks on the road are drunk and the other half are on their way to the bar” We have drive up windows where you can buy daiquiris made with Everclear grain alcohol and drive off. Worse yet I have seen big 32 oz daiquiri cups in those cup caddy things on the handlebars of baggers rolling down the road. South Louisiana is the most alcohol fueled culture you will ever encounter. Add that to the high percentage of tourists on the roads who are lost and it is a very dangerous highway environment. In 40+ years of motorcycles I only ever knew 1 guy who lost a leg from a bike accident. I know 3 guys here in New Orleans who have lost a leg since I moved here two years ago. One just two weeks ago. The horrible pavement around NOLA and limited street lighting make night riding especially challenging. There are potholes here big enough to throw you to the ground if you hit them wrong.

    No wonder we made #1. Frankly it’s a well deserved rating.

  13. 13 drew Jul 9th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I live in La. And I can tell you these MFers Can’t drive for shit.I have lived here since 1979
    and believe me per square mile we have more retards than any other state.Just drive thru
    this shithole and see for yourself.Less than 20 miles in the state and you can see for

  14. 14 Hotrod Jul 9th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Amazing- Illinois is 43rd in the list. No helmet laws with 9 fatalities per million miles. Go figure that one NHTSA!

  15. 15 jetjock Jul 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    A large number of Tennessee fatalities are flatlander tourists who try to outdo roads like the Dragon. These curves need to be respected as there are also cages “showing out’ on them. ride safe!

  16. 16 Tourguide Jul 9th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    From what I can see, it all corresponds to the number of days of good riding weather.
    Can’t see helmet laws being a factor as Illinois and Indiana are way down on the list.
    and Missouri is like #2.

  17. 17 Triker3 Jul 9th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    All you have to do is ride from Texas into La and the trash on/in the road will tell you that you arn’t in Texas anymore. Look at some states like Montana, lacks enforcement and a short riding season means to probally took two or more years to get the per million mile same with Roade Island You can ride across thet state in lesds then an hour.

  18. 18 Rowdydave Jul 9th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Sorry to disappoint you, Toby, but most motorcycle crashes are the biker’s fault, not the cage drivers. It’s a fact. That doesn’t mean there aren’t meaningless deaths caused by thoughtless cage drivers. There are. But I agree with Hotrod. Though I advocate the wearing of helmets, I am not and advocate of mandatory helmet use by those over the age of majority. There is weather down here in the midwest and south that is not conducive to helmet wear, but the riding weather is often perfect. Life is full of risk. We choose an activity where the risk is higher. Therefore, we need to manage that risk effectively. We can do this if we act more responsibly and ride more defensively than those around us. Like it or not, that’s how it is. I don’t want any ignorant, non-riding legislator to tell me what I have to do or wear while I’m riding my motorcycle. but I do want knowledgable riders to act responsibly and prove that we don’t need the idiot legislators to protect us from ourselves.

  19. 19 Rowdydave Jul 9th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Oh, and yes, rider education and training is the answer. Not helmet use, though helmet use should be promoted. Rider training is something every motorcyclist should pursue throughout our riding careers. No matter how much experience we have, we can all learn (and more than one might think) from a good training program. It’s much better to practice techniques at highway speeds on a controlled track than out there on the road, where things are much less predictable and not nearly as forgiving.

  20. 20 Dave Goldstein Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:15 am

    This article is definitely mislabeled but it begs the question Does this make any sense??? I’m not a big helmet law advocate because I feel it’s up to you. You have a 10 dollar head don’t bother protecting it!! I just thought I would see those states without helmet laws right at the top. Especially with all the HELMET LAW propaganda we are exposed to so often! The 3 at the bottom are where I live…. One with a very heavily enforced helmet law, Massachusetts. One with a moderate helmet law, Only passengers and people under a certain age who can legally drive (I think), Rhode Island…. And one with NO helmet laws that I know of, Connecticut.

  21. 21 steve chambers Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I’m Canadian born & bred, living in Ontario and I can’t tell U how many times I had to head for the ditch because some idjit in a car LOOKED RIGHT @ ME then turned in front of me. I try to avoid major cities & our 400 series highways (like Ur interstates). Hell 1 day alone riding through a city of around 45,000 I was cut off 3 times and someone pulled out in front of me twice. I’ve been riding since 1982 and we have helmet laws. A couple friends have died over the years, helmets dont help when U round a bend & there’s a combine slowly crossing the road!!!!

  22. 22 Kimberly Money Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Seems like the states with the best drivers (least fatalities) are those that have winter most of the year.

  23. 23 Bear1963 Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Illinois has many faults but rider safety training is not one. IDOT offers a beginner, intermediate and advanced rider saftey training through SIUC. The classes are $20.00 and at the end of your class they will give it back if you want. I have seen very few people wnat the $20.00 back. Sometimes I wear a helmet sometimes I don’t, depends on the temp. outside.

  24. 24 dsherfy Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Notice the southern states seem to be the worst? The study is skewed due to the fact that the southern states have a longer riding season, more clear days for riding, worst driving records for cars and different helmet laws. Long story short, if you are going to do a study like this, you must consider all factors which will affect the outcome.

  25. 25 Durwood Jul 10th, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I live in vermont ,so where the hell is new hampshier?

  26. 26 Pastcha Jul 10th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    RI the “safest” and New Hampshire the 3rd “safest” – both are no helmet states! Kinda says something, doesn’t it!

  27. 27 Danny Jul 10th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    In Houston we ride year round with the worst cage drivers in the country. No wonder we did so bad. Been riding over 40 years, only collision was with a whitetail that tried to jump across the road. The helmet split open when I landed but saved me. Bambi went to deer heaven.To those that don’t wear protective gear, slow down!! No matter that the wife says your head is empty.

  28. 28 FLBandit98 Jul 10th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    The facts are that most motorcycle fatalaties are caused by cars that turn in front of motorcycles and cause them to crash!! There was a national study done proving this fact! I ride in central florida and believe me I have had people make eye contact with me and still pull out in front of me. The fact is cage drivers have no respect for motorcyclists! They know your life is at risk so they just pull out knowing you will have to slam on your brakes to avoid a crash. The worst is people on cell phones talking or texting. I spot them immediately if I am behind them and give them plenty of room. The one thing that really scares me is people, mainly young kids that text and drive. If your stopped at a a traffic light or anywhere else they can plow right into you and kill you! Funny you don’t see the statistics on that mentioned anywhere in this study? How many of these fatalaties were the riders fault? That information should have been easily obtained as most states will report the at fault party in the accident report!!

  29. 29 Pete Jul 12th, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Your first sentence (“… most motorcycle accidents are the consequence of car driver mistakes…”) couldn’t be further from the truth. Every year I receive state generated information that analizes statistics surrounded motorcycle related deaths, including who was found to be at fault. We are definitely our own worst enemies.

  30. 30 Antonio Jul 13th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Why do most people out there have a problem with wearing a helmet? I live in Phoenix, AZ where it hot as hell right now and I wear my helmet year round!
    A friend of mine wiped out on the freeway a few months ago, if he wasn’t wearing his helmet he’d be dead. He hit the concrete wall on the side of the freeway going 80 MPH, broke his leg, arm and nose but he’s still alive! So stop crying about helmet laws already!

  31. 31 Vince Jul 13th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Well….this list is about totally useless…. anybody factor in all the cars OR bikes that weren’t caught and ticketed?? Shit, some of us states have pretty crafty people that get away with being a-holes every day!!

  32. 32 Barry Jul 15th, 2012 at 2:12 am

    You notice that most of the states that have Motor Cycle Ralleys are listed in the top 25. After observing 6 fatalities in Daytona due to cagers riding through motorcyclist stoped to make a turn Accidents happened that way 3 days in a row towards the end of the week. Some due to poor planning which pushed the NASCAR races back into the begining of Bike week and scheduling Spring Break at the last part of bike week. Cagers get a little impatient after driving behind fender to fender motorcyclist for a week.

  33. 33 Mike Greenwald Jul 15th, 2012 at 6:54 am


    Thanks so much for your anecdotes. You may be shocked that the issue is about the government telling you what to wear and when.


  34. 34 jeffrey Jul 15th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Those state rankings are NOT statistically meaningful. A simple summation of those variables into a state level “good driver” index obscures the fact that they aren’t closely correlated, or in some cases are negatively correlated. When I forced them together using a factor analysis, I find that

    -Drunk (negatively) and
    -Failure to Obey

    go together on one factor. The other factor is

    -Drunk (positive, weaker) and

    It would be helpful to find the original measures. But these don’t really work.

  35. 35 Scuppernog Aug 10th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    This survey is hilariously meaningless. Funny how Mississippi is #23 on this list, but #1 at the site

    That site bases “worst” by fatalities per registered motorcycles, based on census data. The Census Bureau says there were 27,000 motorcycles registered in Mississippi in 2009. Funny, the Mississippi Tax Ccommission sold 47,000 motorcycle tags that year.

    Statistics don’t lie, just statisticians.

  36. 36 kevin Aug 16th, 2012 at 5:12 am

    A little clarification of the numbers. Each column is a RANKING of fewest to most, then the totals are ordered, with the hightest total of rankings making for the number one “worst driver ranking” and the lowest total being last.
    Montana has the most fatalities per million miles, Louisiana the next most. Massachusets has the fewest, followed by Minnesota, again, per million miles. Has nothing to do with weather, it’s per million miles, regardless of how long it takes to get to that point. You’d think that states with year-round riding would actually do BETTER in this respect, since its far less likely any of their miles are in freezing weather, and they don’t have riders coming out of hibernation in the spring with more confidence than their rusty skills can support.
    It appears Rhode Island and New Hampshire riders are the most obedient, North Dakota and Iowa the least, while Arkansas and Florida riders are the most careless, with Wyoming and Rhode Island being the most careful. Funny thing, though. Wyoming is also the drunkest.
    My state, New York, looks OK. Among the lowest fatality rates, but we get a lot of tickets. Not very obedient, but fairly careful, and not often drunk. Sounds about right.

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Cyril Huze