Riding safe - Best cities to ride a motorcycle in

There are certain websites that while they aren’t necessarily focused on motorcycles, still draw regular visits from the Clutch and Chrome staff, simply because they’re such great reading.

Great reading can come from interesting subjects relating to motorcycles, well-written articles or those that just make you think. Our friends at WalletHub are a pleasant blend of all three. Case in point, the latest study of the best and worst cities to be a driver.

WalletHub ranked the 100 most populated U.S. cities according to the costs of car ownership and commuting, in terms of time, money and safety as well as the environment for leisure drivers. The study reviewed 21 key metrics, among which are average gas prices, average annual traffic delays, rates of car theft and car clubs per capita.

While focused on automobile drivers, many of the same factors heavily influence riders and certainly warrant the attention of bikers looking to relocate, travel to any of the cities included in the study or those who use their motorcycles for daily travel.

For those who do use their favorite ride for the daily commute, that means being on the road about 200 hours each year with an additional 40 hours or more stuck in traffic. To put that in a manner we can all understand, 240 hours is the equivalent of a six-week vacation.

Add up the costs of wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestion on U.S. roads, and a monetary road trip leads to a collective total of about $124 billion annually, or about $1,700 per household. However, that figure doesn’t include the extra $515 tab for auto owners for maintenance and repairs, costs induced by the poor quality of America’s roads, which currently rank at No. 16 in the world and receive a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In order to identify the best and worst cities for drivers, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities across four key areas: 1) Costs, 2) Traffic & Road Conditions, 3) Safety and 4) Driver and Car Wellness. A list of 21 relevant metrics were compiled which included; average gas prices, parking rates, annual hours of traffic delays, number of days with precipitation, average commute time, quality of roads, bridges, accidents, accidental deaths, car thefts, DUI, driving laws and insurance premiums.

For those riders who use their motorcycle for daily commutes, Bakersfield California has the lowest average hours of traffic delays with the Nation’s capital the worse. Boston, Massachusetts is the city drivers are most likely to have an accident with Boise, Idaho being the most accident-free place to ride.

While the study focused on car thefts, these can easily translate to a rider having his motorcycle stolen. If we follow that thought, Irvine, California is the best place to hang onto your ride with every care taken in Detroit, Michigan.

Bearing in mind nothing can ruin a ride quicker than some ill-timed rain, bikers looking for the most enjoyable commute or road trip should steer clear of Buffalo, New York and Cleveland Ohio. Not surprisingly, Nevada grabs the top three slots for least precipitation with Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

All these metrics and other are blended together with various weights given to different categories to come up with the overall ranking. The top five cities are Lubbock and Corpus Christie in Texas, Lincoln Nebraska, Greensboro North Carolina and Tucson Arizona.

Rounding out the bottom five; Detroit, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC and the big apple, New York.

The full chart can be found here

Like any study, a rider should take from it what is more important to them. If your motorcycle isn’t used for commuting, that category may not be as important as say the number of accidents or amount of precipitation.

As with anything, knowledge is power and the study certainly makes for an interesting read.

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