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Thread: Average annual motorcycle mileage

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Average annual motorcycle mileage

    I was browsing the Statistical Abstract of the United States and I wanted to see how many miles the average motorcycle travels in a year.

    If you go to transportation section of the 2004 report (w/ 2002 data), on page 28, you can get the motorcycle mileage by taking the total miles and subtracting all the other vehicles. You get a total of 9.2 billion miles in 2002. Going to page 24, you can get the total number of registered bikes of 4.963 million.

    Dividing the number of miles by the number of bikes, you can calculate the average annual motorcycle mileage for 2002 to be 1,854 miles.

    I did the same thing for the 2001 report (w/ 1999 data) and came up with 2,505 miles for 1999.

    Does this mean anything to anyone in terms of rider proficiency? In just three years, there was a reduction of 651 miles per bike, which has to mean something. What is considered to be the minimum number of miles to maintain proficiency anyways?


  2. #2
    There were probably alot more bikes with alot fewer miles(new riders) in the latest report. (riding is a fad now evidentially)
    Say there were 200,000 new riders in 2003, all of which had 1000 or less miles on their shiney new bikes., that kinda skews the chart a bit.

  3. #3
    Johnny Dollar
    Check this out:

    Motorcycle Riders Foundation
    236 Massachusetts Ave. NE
    Suite 510
    Washington, DC 20002-4980
    202-546-0983 (voice)
    202-546-0986 (fax) (website)

    Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations (e-mail)

    August 12, 2005

    #05NR21 - No Motorcycles Travel In South Dakota?

    (Washington, DC) As most everyone in the motorcycling community knows, the state of South Dakota is currently hosting the largest motorcycle rally in the country in Sturgis. Ironically, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned the State of South Dakota has reported ZERO vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for motorcycles in its annual reports to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) each year since 1997. In fact, according to information provided to the MRF by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was absolutely no motorcycle VMT reported not only for South Dakota, but also for Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Texas from 1997-2003.

    Additionally, the following states have reported zero motorcycle VMT during one or more of the years from 1997-2003: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia. NHTSA releases a report each year regarding motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities and injuries based on the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Yet, with anywhere from 13 to 31% of the states each year reporting absolutely no motorcycle VMT, this highly-publicized government report uses taxpayer dollars to compare the number of fatalities for various types of vehicles to VMT in order to determine trends and publish their findings as facts.

    The MRF expressed serious concerns in April, 2005 regarding the preliminary 2004 FARS data released by NHTSA, citing a decline in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) during the same period when motorcycle registrations increased substantially. Based on those concerns, the MRF wrote a letter to NHTSA questioning the validity of the data upon which these statistics were gathered and reported. NHTSA’s response to the MRF states VMT data is actually collected by the FHWA and that, "NHTSA believes the VMT data collected by FHWA are the best data available . . . For the 1997 to 2003 period similar methods were in place to report the . . . data . . . Because of this, we believe these numbers are adequate for monitoring trends." (Both letters can be viewed at ).

    The MRF translates NHTSA’s response as follows: Both the FHWA and NHTSA know the VMT data is inaccurate, but since it is collected in what they consider to be a consistent manner, the inaccuracies are acceptable. The MRF believes that simple rules of statistical research dictate a 13-31% variance is not a consistent manner that is acceptable for monitoring trends, and the MRF will be investigating the FARS data for further inaccuracies in the weeks to come.

    "One motorcycle fatality is too many, and the MRF remains concerned about any rise in the numbers," stated Karen Bolin, MRF President. "The MRF is committed to working with NHTSA and the FHWA to take appropriate measures to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities in this country. However, the MRF feels that the federal government has an obligation to report all vehicle fatality statistics in an accurate and responsible manner, and will continue to strive toward the release of more reliable information to the general public with regard to motorcycles."

    Date: August 10th, 2005

    That's pretty scary when you consider your insurance rates may be based partially on this data.

  4. #4
    Wow. I usually take the census information with a grain of salt, but to have 13-31% error is just not acceptable.

    Not including information from Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia for a portion or all of the sampling period from 1999 to 2003 should make any conclusions or trends invalid.

  5. #5
    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! HotFix's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Metro Atlanta, GA
    OOOooo data. Let me throw my $.02 in.

    I have found that errors or deviations >5% result in a pretty bad engineering assumption. I'm thinking of predicative algorithms here.

    I have also found that errors or deviations up to 50% can still render a good business insight. That is, if a manager understands the numbers and where the error is coming from you can make a pretty good business decision.

    The differences could be that I'm used to high fidelity non-biased machinery data and low fidelity business data that gets passed through many filters.

    Ahhhh data. Data is the 21st century equivalent to written gospel and statistics the equivalent of religion.

  6. #6
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! MotoMan's Avatar
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    Given that, I would have to say that the fatalities per mile traveled on a bike that are typically reported are totally erroneous.

    And my question is how does one track the VMT for a motorcycle, or even a car for that matter? Actually, I can perhaps see cars being easier because of the large number of them, but how do you pick out less than 5,000,000 motorcycles from 130,000,000+ cars, trucks, etc., and with any accuracy whatsoever tell me how many miles the average rider rides? Seems a bit impossible to me.

    I was browsing the Statistical Abstract of the United States...
    Oh, and TBeck2000, have you seen a doctor lately? LOL!

    Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable in their apparent disinclination to do so.
    -- Douglas Adams

    Happiness is not a goal to be pursued - it is the by-product of a balanced and purposeful life.
    -- Unknown

    The value of life should not be determined by the geographical and political borders that surround it.
    -- Me

    My ride: 2006 ZZR-600

  7. #7
    Johnny Dollar
    I was just blown away by the fact that the state that hosts STURGIS reports 0 motorcycle miles travelled. That's just stupid!

  8. #8
    Flirting With The Redline 4000 Posts! Logan's Avatar
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    Chicago, IL
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Dollar
    I was just blown away by the fact that the state that hosts STURGIS reports 0 motorcycle miles travelled. That's just stupid!

    OK, Johnny did the set up...

    the joke is ripe for the pickin'

    but the joke is WAY too obvious

    Who wants to go for it?

    2004 Moto Guzzi California EV Touring,
    2001 BMW F650GSa,

    Past Rides: 2001 Kawasaki Concours ZG1000, 1974 Honda CB450, 1966 Yamaha 305, 1971 Honda CL100

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  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! MadMaxmlin's Avatar
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    Warner Robins, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by TBeck2000
    What is considered to be the minimum number of miles to maintain proficiency anyways?

    In my reasonably knowledgeable but not expert opinion, it's not number of miles that maintans proficiency but frequency of riding. Someone who rides 2 miles a day every day I think is going to be much better than someone who rides 30 miles a day but only on Saturdays.

    Along these lines, I can't imagine only riding on weekends. I noticed my reflexes are so much better by riding to work and trips around town. I also noticed the people I talk to who "ride on weekends" are more often a "ride monthly" type of rider. That's got to be bad for proficiency.

    I noticed that I've rode 10,000 miles on my KLR in the past 2 years. Above the average! WOOT!


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