What do statistics tell us about California motorcycle ridership? For starters, we are No. 1. The raw number of motorcycles in our state hit 813,771 last year. That might be expected, given the state’s population, the number of highway miles, and the fact that it is No. 1 fun state to ride.

The No. 2 state is Florida, with 558,123 cycles.

Bikes per person

Another way to measure our place in the nation is the number of motorcycles per person in each state’s population. By this measure, we are near the very bottom, No. 43, with one bike for every 47 Californians.

Quantifying motorcycle safety

Motorcycle injury statistics have been going down steadily the past few years. The most recent count is 11,780 injuries, for the year 2013. The number of deaths was 480.

As you might imagine, the largest number of cyclists ride in the southern half of the state. Los Angeles County recorded 3,509 collisions in 2014. Followup Southern California counties were: San Diego (1,285), Orange County (989), Riverside (627) and San Bernardino (525).

The age range most at risk of injury or death in our region are young people between 25 and 34. Even younger riders, age 15-24, are the next most at risk. There are riders older than 85 – the safest group of them all.

Source: California’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS)

Helmets and alcohol

Helmets have always been statistically controversial. Of all riders killed in the state, 90 percent were wearing helmets. This is a much higher percentage than the national rate of 57 percent. The catch is that most motorcycle deaths involve multiple injuries.

The rate of alcohol impairment in California motorcycle deaths was 24 percent – slightly better than the national average of 28 per cent.