The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities For Motorcyclists In 2023

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Motorcycle riders, whether seasoned or new, always face potential risks when hitting the road. The protection that motorcycles offer is inherently limited, making them vulnerable to crashes, especially in cities where traffic is dense and unpredictable. 

Their smaller size also makes them less visible to other drivers. When accidents do occur, motorcyclists often bear the brunt of the damage, and knowing which cities are most hazardous can be invaluable.

The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities For Motorcyclists In 2023

Recent data sheds light on which U.S. cities are the safest and most dangerous for motorcyclists in 2023.

A Decade of Statistics

In the past decade, a staggering 55,166 motorcycle fatalities were recorded across the U.S., as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Forbes’ recent analysis of motorcycle accident statistics shows that the risk varies significantly depending on the city.

Forbes examined data from the NHTSA in 2011 and 2021 for the 100 largest cities by population. 

Their goal was to identify patterns and understand how motorcycle accidents per 100,000 residents have evolved over a decade.

The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities For Motorcyclists In 2023

The Most Dangerous Cities

Jacksonville, Florida, earned the unenviable title of being the most dangerous city for motorcyclists in 2023.

Toledo, OH, tops the list by merely looking at deaths per 100,000 residents. Despite its cold winters, Toledo had 4.81 fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2021, a statistic almost ten times higher than Frisco, TX, which is considered the country’s safest city for riders.

The top cities for motorcycle fatalities per capita in 2021 were:

1. Toledo, OH – 4.81

2. Albuquerque, NM – 4.43

3. Jacksonville, FL – 4.42

4. Detroit, MI – 3.92

5. Miami, FL – 3.85

6. Cleveland, OH – 3.76

7. Tampa, FL – 3.65

8. Greensboro, NC – 3.36

9. Kansas City, MO – 3.35

10. Colorado Spring, CO – 3.33

Warm weather locales, particularly Florida, feature prominently on this list. It’s alarming to note that Florida is home to three of the top 10 most dangerous cities for motorcyclists. 

The state is already notorious for its lax road safety laws and the high influx of tourists unfamiliar with the roads.

However, climate doesn’t always determine a city’s safety rating. Despite its warm weather, Texas hosts three of the top 10 safest cities for motorcyclists. 

Even with the state’s leniency allowing riders over 21 to forego helmets if they have medical insurance or complete a safety course, Texas still manages to maintain a relatively low fatality rate.

Cities with Consistent Safety Records

While some cities occasionally fluctuate in their safety ratings, others consistently ensure the safety of their motorcyclists. 

Here are the cities with the lowest motorcycle accident fatalities per 100,000 residents over the past decade:

1. Frisco, TX – 3.95

2. Laredo, TX – 4.70

3. New York City – 4.74

4. Minneapolis, MN – 5.36

5. St. Paul, MN – 5.47

6. Chicago, IL – 6.05

7. Jersey City, NJ – 6.17

8. Madison, WI – 6.32

9. Boston, MA – 6.53

10. Washington, DC – 7.54

Surprisingly, New York City, with its bustling traffic and dense population, has one of the lowest death rates for motorcyclists.

The Impact of Helmet Laws

The Safest And Most Dangerous Cities For Motorcyclists In 2023

Helmet usage varies across states, but its significance in reducing fatalities cannot be overstated. For example, only 45% of riders in the Midwest opted to wear a helmet in 2021, as opposed to the national average of 64.9%. This discrepancy is evident in Ohio cities, where fatality rates are considerably higher.

In contrast, Nevada, with strict motorcycle safety regulations since 1972, has multiple cities ranking as the safest for riders. 

The laws here mandate helmets for all riders, prohibit lane splitting, and require eye protection for those without a windshield.

Cities on the Rise

Unfortunately, certain cities have seen a surge in motorcycle fatalities over the last decade. Both Toledo, OH, and San Jose, CA, have witnessed the steepest rise. 

Distractions, particularly from smartphones, could be a driving factor behind this unsettling trend.

However, it’s not all bleak. 22 cities, including Minneapolis, Henderson, and Plano, reported a decline in motorcycle deaths over the last decade, showcasing the impact of concerted safety measures.

Motorcyclists everywhere must remain vigilant and informed about the risks associated with their location. 

Regardless of where an accident occurs, understanding one’s rights and seeking proper legal representation is paramount.


In our analysis for MotorBikeDude, we utilized a multi-metric approach that scrutinizes data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

We analyzed the 100 most populous U.S. cities, focusing on three primary indicators:

  • The number of motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021
  • A decade-long evaluation (2011-2021) of the same statistic
  • The percentage fluctuation in these figures between 2011 and 2021 

Our comprehensive ranking was derived from a weighted system, with a bias towards the most current data on motorcycle-related fatalities.

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