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Likelihood of theft not linked to size of city, study finds – April 3, 2006

April 3, 2006
Filed under Features

A recent study suggests the size of a city doesn’t warrant a greater risk of motorcycle theft, and that traffic congestion levels don’t necessarily increase the odds of having an accident.
The study’s author, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, Mayfield, Ohio, reviewed claims on more than 2 million motorcycles insured over the past three years to determine the likelihood of a motorcyclist getting into an accident or having a bike stolen. The analysis focused on the 89 U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 and higher.
The study found Honolulu riders are most likely to have their bikes stolen, even though it’s the 53rd largest metropolitan area. In fact, a motorcyclist in Honolulu is four times more likely to have a bike stolen than a motorcyclist in Chicago or Detroit, which are the third and seventh largest metro areas in the country, respectively.
Similarly, though Baton Rouge ranks 75th in population, it ranks third when it comes to the likelihood of a rider there having a motorcycle crash. And a motorcyclist in Philadelphia, the country’s fifth largest metro area, is 36 percent less likely to have an accident as one in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metro area, which is the 47th largest.
“Riders can’t assume that just because they may live in a smaller metropolitan area they have less risk of accident or theft. The data makes that very clear,” said Rick Stern, Progressive’s motorcycle product manager.
Most Stolen, Crashed Units
Last June, a Progressive study of claims data on more than 2 million motorcycles insured over the past three years uncovered the makes and models of bikes most and least likely to be stolen or crashed.
The motorcycle models most likely to be stolen, according to Progressive, included the Suzuki GSX-R Series, Yamaha YZF Series, Honda CBR Series, Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki Ninja Series. The bikes found least likely to be stolen were the Suzuki Savage, BMW R1200C, Honda Rebel Series, Honda Shadow Series and Yamaha V-Star.
The insurer said the five model types most likely to be involved in a crash were the GSX-R series, Kawasaki Ninja series, Suzuki TLR, Yamaha YZF series and Honda CBR series. Models least likely to be crashed were the Yamaha Virago Series, Honda Rebel Series, Suzuki Savage, Harley-Davidson FXR and BMW R1200C.
It appears the data simply mirrors vehicle sales trends. Still, what does this information mean for bikers?
If you choose a motorcycle that’s involved in more crashes or is stolen more often, you’ll most likely pay more for insurance, Progressive said.
“Insurance rates are based on a lot of information about you and your driving record as well as the make and model bike you ride,” Stern said. “If you buy a bike that’s stolen often, you may pay more for comprehensive coverage, and if you buy a bike that is involved in more crashes, then you may pay more for collision.
“We want bikers to be aware of what drives rates so they can make better, more informed insurance decisions.”
Theft Prevention Tips
Dealers can help cut down on motorcycle thefts by informing customers how they can best protect their vehicles through purchases of protective devices, such as chain and disc locks, alarms or satellite tracking devices.
Top 10 cities for likelihood of motorcycle theft
1. Honolulu
2. Miami
3. San Diego
4. Las Vegas
5. New York
6. Washington D.C.
7. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
8. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Fla.
9. New Orleans
10. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Portsmouth,
Va.-N.C.

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