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Best Cities for Motorcyclists (2021)

Things to Remember

  • Rain, temperature, and safety all factor into choosing the best cities for motorcyclists in the U.S.
  • The best rides, whether for an afternoon or a longer trek, run through some of the most scenic areas in the country.
  • Helmet laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to be in compliance when you cross state lines.

Open roads, little traffic, great curves, and inspiring views. They’re all a big part of what makes heading out on two wheels so appealing. Whether it’s a well-traveled favorite or a brand-new route, finding the best places for motorcycle riders is an ongoing adventure.

What are the best cities for motorcyclists? With an eye to weather and safety, we’ve compiled this list of the top cities for motorcycles and found the best rides in and near those cities.

The best cities to ride a motorcycle are those with the most days of sunshine and moderate temperatures.

Our choices are also safe; we selected cities with low rates of fatal motorcycle crashes.

Whether you’re riding the desert or the mountains, make sure you’re protected. That means the right gear and the right motorcycle insurance too. Before you hit the road, make sure you know how auto insurance laws apply to your motorcycle, and the laws of the states you plan to visit, too.

Table of Contents

12 Best Cities to Ride Your Motorcycle

All of these cities have something special to offer, and all of them check off the boxes for a great motorcycle experience. That means lots of days of sunshine and warm weather to make them the best places to ride all year round, roads that offer a thrill, and a record for safety, too.

We’ve gathered this list of the top 10 (actually 11, thanks to a Florida two-for-one on two cities that tied in our rankings) and the best places to ride nearby. We’ve also gathered the helmet laws courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) so you can always be in compliance with the local laws.

Although some state laws don’t require helmets, they may require you to carry additional medical insurance if you choose not to wear a helmet.

Both Texas and Florida require $10,000 in medical coverage for riders not wearing helmets. Bear in mind that most states also require you to carry minimum auto insurance coverage equal to what is required for cars.

Ready to ride? Let’s hit the road.

#12 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Days of Precipitation Annually: 82
Average Temperature: 60°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 20.86
Must-Ride Route: Edmond- Stillwater Circuit
Helmet Law: Helmets not required over 18

Although Oklahoma isn’t often thought of as having great scenery, the area surrounding Oklahoma City is actually full of excellent riding opportunities. Long stretches with few stop signs and little traffic can be found not far from the city, and the weather is dry and pleasant much of the year.

Pick up Route 66 east out of Edmond, just to the north of the city, and enjoy the famous road to Highway 177 north towards Stillwater. Loop back around on 51 west to 77 south. You’ll pass through towns that time forgot along with plenty of shaded runs and open stretches along the way.

#11 – Phoenix, Arizona

Days of Precipitation Annually: 35
Average Temperature: 60.3°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 21.68
Must-Ride Route: Mesa, Globe, Punkin Center
Helmet Law: Not required for riders over 18

Known for being part of the famous Route 66, Pheonix has a great reputation for riders. Although it’s the Grand Canyon to the north that gets attention, some of the best routes in the state are found just outside Phoenix. With weather that’s hard to beat, Phoenix is a great home base for exploring the desert landscape of Arizona.

Start out from Mesa on Highway 87, then cut back south on 188 for a scenic route that winds past Tonto Basin and Roosevelt Lake before looping back to the city on Highway 60 through Top of The World.

#10 – Fort Smith, Arkansas

Days of Precipitation Annually: 96
Average Temperature: 60.4°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 20
Must-Ride Route: Arkansas Pig Trail
Helmet Law: Not required for people 21 and over

Home to the annual Steel Horse Rally, Fort Smith is a top destination for motorcyclists. Whether you’re looking for group rides or want to chart your own path, the winding roads through Ozark National Forest have everything you need. You’ll find nationally acclaimed roads to ride here and likely run into more than a few other riders on the road.

While there are plenty of great routes, the Arkansas Pig Trail (Highway 23) through the Boston Mountains is a can’t-miss and top-rated ride in the state. Access it from the town of White Oak just east of Fort Smith.

#9 – Charleston, South Carolina

Days of Precipitation Annually: 107
Average Temperature: 62°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 27.49
Must-Ride Route: Low Country Beach Loop
Helmet Law: Not required for people 21 and over

Charleston’s location right on the coast means oceanfront rides along with South Carolina’s southern hospitality. While it gets a little more rain than some cities on our list, it’s accompanied by balmy temperatures.

This is a city full of history and tourism opportunities, not to mention the nearby beaches, so you’ll want to spend some downtime here when not on the road.

Outside the city, you will find long, leisurely rides through Spanish moss-leaden trees, but don’t miss the short but sweet ride along the Low Country Beach Loop.

To ride the loop, take Highway 703 down to the waterfront, then loop back up on 517 to Rifle Range Road. The highlight of this ride is a 65′ bridge with sweeping views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

#8 – Montgomery, Alabama

Days of Precipitation Annually: 107
Average Temperature: 62.8°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 15.6
Must-Ride Route: Central Alabama Country Tour
Helmet Law: Helmets required

Alabama welcomes riders with plenty of open road, scenery, and history, and Montgomery, home to the Civil Rights Memorial, is right at the heart of it. With many months of comfortable riding weather and great riding opportunities in every direction, Montgomery is the perfect city from which to head out and explore.

Head north on 65 to hit Highway 22 to the east to head out on the Central Alabama Country Tour route. Winding through peaceful countryside, this low-traffic route is a relaxing ride.

#7 – Meridian, Mississippi

Days of Precipitation Annually: 108
Average Temperature: 63°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 13.08
Must-Ride Route: Route 21 north of Forest
Helmet Law: Helmets required

Quieter than Jackson to the west, Meridian has solid safety ratings as well as pleasant weather most of the year. Many quick rides can be found nearby, and a little more effort will land you on some of the biggest routes in the area.

Head west on I-20 to Forest, where you’ll take Route 21 north through the countryside to the town of Philadelphia. To continue on a longer ride, head up Highway 19 to hit the well-known Natchez Trace Parkway, which you can take in any direction for a scenic drive; head northeast to move away from the bigger cities.

#6 – Augusta, Georgia

Days of Precipitation Annually: 108
Average Temperature: 63.5°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 12.95
Must-Ride Route: Savannah River
Helmet Law: Helmets required

Augusta makes our list for its many months of comfortable riding weather as well as access to some of the most beautiful routes you can find on two wheels.

Georgia is full of gorgeous countryside, from the mountains to the coast, and Augusta is located at its heart. It also boasts the lowest motorcycle fatality rate of any city on our list.

Head out from the city on Highway 28 to follow the Savannah River northwest through Sumpter National Forest and a series of quaint towns. For another day’s ride out of Augusta, head southeast on route 119 out of Springfield.

#5 – El Paso, Texas

Days of Precipitation Annually: 48
Average Temperature: 65°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 16.25
Must-Ride Route: Transmountain Road
Helmet Law: Helmets not required for those 21 and over

With little rain and warm temperatures, El Paso is a great destination for a ride throughout the year. Don’t head out for a ride without your camera, and be prepared to stop to take in the sweeping vistas from the high places along the way.

Panoramic views await along the Transmountain Road that heads up through the Franklin Mountains. Hit Scenic Drive to continue the route over the mountain to Murchison Park. This popular route can get busy, so try to hit it early in the morning or on a weekday.

#4 – Shreveport, Louisiana

Days of Precipitation Annually: 99
Average Temperature: 66°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths:20.29
Must-Ride Route: “Bonnie and Clyde” Route
Helmet Law: Helmets required

Shreveport doesn’t have the same exciting reputation as some other Louisiana cities, but if you’re looking for great rides and not Mardi Gras floats, it’s high on the list. An while it still has some of the same weather, Shreveport is generally less humid than cities to the south, which makes for more pleasant riding.

Lousiana auto insurance rates are some of the highest in the country, ranked second-most expensive for 2021, but if you’re just visiting, your out-of-state motorcycle insurance will cover you.

Shreveport is a great starting point for a scenic drive that takes you past a famous spot in American history – the place where Bonnie and Clyde’s run from the law ended.

Head out of Shreveport on Highway 71 south, hitting Highway 154 to Gibsland (home of the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum) where you’ll head back to Shreveport on Highway 80. The famed spot is just north of the junction of 154 and 516.

#2 (tie) – Tampa, Florida

With their warm temperatures throughout the year and low rate of fatal motorcycle crashes, these two Florida cities landed a tying spot in second place. Up first, Tampa, which doesn’t get the attention of Daytona Beach’s Bike Week but makes a great year-round destination for riders.

Florida auto insurance laws are unusual in that they don’t apply to motorcycles the same way as to cars. Bikers in Florida aren’t required to meet the state’s no-fault insurance requirements but are still financially responsible in a crash.

Tampa’s must-ride is the North Tampa Circuit. Starting just north of Tampa in Land O’ Lakes, this route takes you through classic Florida orange groves and ranches.

If you’re in for a longer trip, start in Tampa and then head down to our second winner in Florida, Key West.

#2 (tie) – Key West, Florida

Days of Precipitation Annually: 107
Average Temperature: 70.7°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 26.21
Must-Ride Route: North Tampa Circuit, Overseas Highway
Helmet Law: Not required for those 21 and over

A big part of the appeal of Key West is getting there. Although the wind can be tricky, it’s well worth it for the incredible experience of riding the Overseas Highway.

Once you’re there, the Keys are hard to beat for a peaceful vacation. When you’re off the bike, take some time to soak in the beaches and walk in the footsteps of literary giant Ernest Hemingway. His home in Key West is now a museum.

#1 – Kahului, Hawaii

Days of Precipitation Annually: 88
Average Temperature: 70°F
Annual Motorcycle Deaths: 17.6
Must-Ride Route: East Maui Loop/Road to Hana
Helmet Law: Helmets not required over 18

Hawaii is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to enjoy from your motorcycle, with incredible scenery in every direction. With an average temperature of 70°F and many sunny days, Kahului on the island of Maui earns the top spot on our list.

It may be a challenge to get your bike to the island, of course, but motorcycles are available to rent on the island.

There are incredible rides all around this beachside town, and it’s hard to find a road that doesn’t offer something great. Still, don’t miss the chance to ride the East Maui Loop, heading around the coastline of the island on Highway 36 and looping back to Kahului on Highway 37.

The Top Cities For Motorcyclists: Full Study Results

Because nothing ruins a day on the road quicker than rain, we started with the city in each state that had the fewest days of precipitation, then factored in the temperature and safety factors to narrow it down to 12.

We used 2018 NOAA precipitation averages and temperature data from a 1901-2000 compilation, as well as 2017 NHTSA motorcycle crash data, the most recent available at the time of our study.

A few states had two cities that tied in our rankings, so those have more than one city listed. Take a look at how the top city in each state was ranked.

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Not surprisingly, all of the top picks are located in the southern part of the country, but if you really want to ride in Alaska, Annette is the town where you’ll find the most precipitation-free days.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Cities for Motorcyclists

We’ve covered our top picks for places to ride above, but here’s an overview of frequent questions about the best places for motorcycles.

#1 – What city has the most motorcycles?

While we weren’t able to find statistics for the cities with the most motorcycles, California is the U.S. state with the most registered motorcycles, while South Dakota has the most motorcycles per person.

#2 – What are the worst cities for motorcycles?

Ranking at the bottom of our list of 50 cities are Annette, Alaska; Williston, North Dakota; and Portland, Maine.

The most dangerous cities for motorcyclists based on motorcycle accidents alone are Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, MD. The safest cities for motorcyclists overall are Fort Collins, CO, and Boise, ID.

#3 – What’s the best place to live for a motorcycle rider?

Although it’s home to the largest motorcycle rally in the country, South Dakota may not be among the best motorcycle places to live thanks to its abbreviated season.

The best state to buy a motorcycle would be one with no sales tax, such as Oregon, but if it’s not your home state, you’ll have to pay sales tax based on where you live.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Cities for Motorcyclists

Our analysis took into account three main factors:

  1. Average annual precipitation
  2. Average annual temperature
  3. Motorcycle fatalities per 1 million people

We started with the city that has the fewest days of precipitation in each state, based on 2018 data. In some states, two cities tied for this metric, so both appear in the final study data. States with a tie include Minnesota, Kansas, and Florida.

We then looked at the average temperature in each area over a one-hundred-year period from 1901-2000 and weighted that piece of data to remove cities where much of the precipitation falls as snow. We then added the number of motorcycle crash fatalities in each city to develop a ranking of the top 10 cities for motorcycles based on weather and safety.

Since a comparison of car vs. motorcycle accidents makes it clear the danger to riders is higher, finding the safest places to ride a motorcycle is a big concern.

From there, we investigated popular motorcycle routes nearby using Motorcycleroads.com and selected those that were both easiest to access and rated highly by riders.

Statistics were drawn from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2017 CrashStats and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly known as the National Climatic Data Center or NCDC).


  1. https://www.iihs.org/topics/motorcycles/motorcycle-helmet-laws-table
  2. https://www.motorcycleroads.com/
  3. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/#!/
  4. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/


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