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States where people own the most motorcycles

Cheap Insurance compiled a ranking of the states with the most motorcycle owners using data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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A person riding a motorcycle on a scenic mountain highway.

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The need for speed, the open road, the wind in your face—there are plenty of reasons to own a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists are sometimes adrenaline-seekers, and maybe it's because they receive positive feedback in the saddle. A University of California, Los Angeles study published in 2019 and sponsored by Harley-Davidson Inc. showed that riding reduced stress in participants while increasing their heart rates, adrenaline levels, and brain activity.

Motorcycles are also cheaper than cars, and in places where personal transportation is needed to get around—which includes most of the United States—that can make a huge difference. Despite falling 2.4% year over year, the average price of a new car reached $48,759 in December 2023. The average new bike costs less than a quarter of that amount.

Advances in electric batteries and e-motorcycles are making it more sustainable to ride too. Motorcycles produce significantly more pollution per kilometer than cars, so widespread adoption of these more sustainable machines could put a serious dent in planet-warming emissions.

Cheap Insurance compiled a ranking of the states with the most motorcycle owners using data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Motorcycle registration figures were from Jan. 1, 2023, and were normalized per 10,000 residents using estimated state populations from the Census Bureau as of July.

From Alaska to Florida, the United States is home to nearly 8.8 million registered motorcycles. California leads the nation in total ownership, while Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas round out the top five states. While the Lone Star State ranks high for having the most owners, it falls to  50th on this list with only 129 motorcycles per 10,000 residents, ahead of only Washington D.C., with 68 motorcycles per 10,000 residents.

When looking at the number of motorcycles per 10,000 residents, three of the top eight states have a population of 1 million or fewer, and only two of the top 10 have more than 2 million citizens.

The US has nearly 9M registered motorcycles

A line chart showing the rise of motorcycle ownership in the United States since 2002.

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While American motorcycle ownership has not risen much since 2009—just 639,650 additional registrations were recorded in the 14 subsequent years—that annum marked the last of at least seven consecutive years in which registrations increased by at least 449,424 year over year.

When it comes to trends over the past two decades, the IIHS noted that there has been a growing adoption of anti-lock brakes from 2002 to 2023. Anti-lock brakes were available in only 0.2% of registered on-road motorcycles in 2002, but that figure shot up to 19.9% in 2023. That nearly mirrored the rise of anti-lock braking systems as an optional feature in registered motorcycles over the same span (from 1.3% to 17.3%). Another change in that time period was the average age of registered bikes, which was 9.0 years in 2002 but 14.3 years in 2023.

Cruisers (38.2% in 2023) and touring bikes (23.5%) own by far the largest shares of registered motorcycles, per IIHS, while chopper (0.4%) and scooter (7.9%) registrations have leveled off in the last decade-plus but are likely being undercounted due to the chopper being a newer class designation and the scooter having smaller engines that may not always require registration.

#51. District of Columbia

An aerial view of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument.

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- Registered motorcycles: 4,610
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 68

#50. Texas

An aerial view of a bridge with the Austin skyline in the distance.

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- Registered motorcycles: 394,351
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 129

#49. New Jersey

A Newark, New Jersey, cityscape.

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- Registered motorcycles: 161,348
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 174

#48. Louisiana

Two guys with motorcycles talking before a football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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- Registered motorcycles: 80,208
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 175

#47. Mississippi

An aerial view of the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi.

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- Registered motorcycles: 53,311
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 181

#46. New York

A man smiling while holding up a motorcycle in New York.

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Zenith Watches/The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 370,101
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 189

#45. Maryland

An aerial view of Annapolis on the water.

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- Registered motorcycles: 119,139
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 193

#44. Missouri

The Kansas City, MO skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 126,441
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 204

#43. Georgia

Two people with motorcycles talk at a Juneteenth parade in Atlanta, GA.

Megan Varner // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 236,276
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 214

#42. Massachusetts

Motorcyclists in a gay pride parade in Boston, MA.

Scott Eisen // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 155,408
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 222

#40. Virginia (tie)

The Richmond, VA skyline at dusk.

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- Registered motorcycles: 194,400
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 223

#40. Illinois (tie)

Two men look at electric motorcycles outside a bike shop.

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- Registered motorcycles: 280,058
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 223

#39. North Carolina

The Charlotte, NC skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 253,643
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 234

#37. Connecticut (tie)

Historic buildings on a street in Greenwich, CT.

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- Registered motorcycles: 86,787
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 240

#37. California (tie)

A man rides his motorcycle with dogs in the sidecar.

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- Registered motorcycles: 936,809
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 240

#36. Hawaii

A man on a motorcycle on the highway with the ocean in the background.

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- Registered motorcycles: 34,805
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 243

#35. Arkansas

A bridge with the Little Rock, AR skyline in the background.

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- Registered motorcycles: 75,902
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 247

#34. Michigan

An aerial view of Petoskey, MI on the water.

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- Registered motorcycles: 249,872
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 249

#33. Rhode Island

The Providence, RI skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 28,376
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 259

#32. Tennessee

A couple on a motorcycle in Nashville, TN.

Robert Alexander // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 184,982
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 260

#31. Delaware

Buildings by the river in Wilmington, DE.

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- Registered motorcycles: 27,118
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 263

#30. Nevada

An elderly man in a tie-dye shirt riding a motorcycle in Las Vegas, NV.

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- Registered motorcycles: 86,060
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 269

#29. Kentucky

An aerial view of downtown Lexington, KY.

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- Registered motorcycles: 124,923
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 276

#28. South Carolina

The Greenville, SC skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 153,359
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 285

#27. Florida

Motorcyclists cross the Main Street Bridge in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 668,046
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 295

#26. Oklahoma

An aerial view of Oklahoma City, OK.

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- Registered motorcycles: 120,364
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 297

#25. Nebraska

A sign entering into Nebraska reading, "Nebraska...the good life".

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- Registered motorcycles: 58,922
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 298

#24. Washington

A man riding a motorcycle through a course in the forest in Tacoma, WA.

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- Registered motorcycles: 236,862
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 303

#23. Alaska

A highway leading to snow-capped mountains.

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- Registered motorcycles: 22,394
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 305

#22. West Virginia

An aerial view of Morgantown, WV nestled in the trees at sunset.

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- Registered motorcycles: 54,165
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 306

#21. Utah

Off road motorcycles climbing steep sandstone near Moab, Utah.

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- Registered motorcycles: 105,029
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 307

#20. Arizona

The Phoenix, AZ skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 228,749
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 308

#19. Pennsylvania

An aerial view of Harrisburg,  the Capitol of PA.

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- Registered motorcycles: 403,039
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 311

#18. New Mexico

Two motorcycles speed past a rock formation.

Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 66,525
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 315

#17. Oregon

The Oregon Ducks mascot rides the back of a motorcycle prior to a game.

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- Registered motorcycles: 136,648
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 323

#16. Alabama

The downtown Mobile skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 173,795
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 340

#15. Kansas

An aerial view of Lawrence, KS.

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- Registered motorcycles: 101,530
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 345

#13. Colorado (tie)

Two people riding motorcycles on a highway with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

Dave Etheridge-Barnes // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 203,396
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 346

#13. Ohio (tie)

A bridge with the Cincinnati skyline in the background.

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- Registered motorcycles: 407,952
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 346

#12. Indiana

An aerial view of small town Nappanee, IN.

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- Registered motorcycles: 238,729
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 348

#11. Minnesota

The Minneapolis skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 208,616
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 364

#10. Vermont

A motorcyclist riding along a highway surrounded by bright red and orange Fall foliage.

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- Registered motorcycles: 23,775
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 367

#9. Idaho

An aerial view of Boise in Autumn.

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- Registered motorcycles: 75,017
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 382

#8. Wyoming

A motorcycle and trailer passing through a national park with rock formations in the background.

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- Registered motorcycles: 25,772
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 441

#7. North Dakota

A motorcyclist competing in a competition in rugged terrain.

Scott Olson // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 35,589
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 454

#6. Maine

A motorcyclist riding over a hill with Mount Washington in the background.

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- Registered motorcycles: 63,835
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 457

#5. Iowa

The Des Moines skyline.

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- Registered motorcycles: 171,380
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 534

#4. Wisconsin

A motorcycle statue in front of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 320,021
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 541

#3. South Dakota

A motorcyclist rides along the road to Mt. Rushmore.

Scott Olson // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 54,596
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 594

#2. New Hampshire

A woman on a pink motorcycle pulling onto a road in NH during a bike week.

JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP // Getty Images

- Registered motorcycles: 90,235
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 644

#1. Montana

An aerial view of Missoula, MT.

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- Registered motorcycles: 77,212
- Motorcycles per 10K residents: 682

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.

This story originally appeared on Cheap Insurance and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.