Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cost-Effective Transportation: The Passenger Vehicle v. The Motorcycle

Photo credit- khunaspix
We have no car and have no plans on buying one, but I must admit, I have given some thought as to what type of vehicle would be best should we decide to get one down the line. Motorcycles scare me so much because of the increased likelihood of injury, but I can see what their appeal would be in other ways- if you live in an area with lots of traffic jams, motorcycles are able to cut through the traffic and can significantly shorten your commuting time, which plays a big factor in quality of life and even earning potential.
This post, by Spenser Josan, a literature geek and curator from Hoboken, New Jersey, raises some other factors that I hadn't even considered- how they can save money as well.

While the world is starting to wonder how young people will be able to afford the rising costs of buying a house while managing their crippling student loan debt and trying to find a job in an ever shrinking job market, Millennials are looking into alternative solutions to save money. One such alternative is trading in the passenger vehicle for a motorcycle.

General Payments and Costs

The costs of maintaining a car these days can range into the five figures quite easily, and the reality is you will probably find yourself pushing into the $20,000-$30,000 level for a new car before you even benefit from any added features. After this, there’s the cost of upkeep, from simple things like windshield wipers to the interior fresh pine tree smell, all the way to costlier additions like a set of four new tires.
Meanwhile, motorcycle maintenance is far less expensive. The costs are low, as is the general upkeep. And the gas mileage on a motorcycle far exceeds that of a passenger car. Advantage: Motorcycle.

Insurance Costs of Cars vs. Motorcycles and Scooters

When looking at the hidden costs of a car versus a motorcycle, you have to do an auto insurance compare to see the actual potential savings. Insurance will obviously vary based on a handful of criteria, but the fact of the matter is you will see a significant amount of cost savings on some simple apples-to-apples comparisons thanks to the general idea of insurance and how it is underwritten.
Remember that insurance is based on the potential of something happening, also known as risk. Not only will insurance be rated on the potential of a claim, but it is also based on the fact of the damage to the vehicle itself (physical damage) and the potential liability that said vehicle can cause. Motorcyclists are more often involved in single-vehicle accidents. This means the only repairs and payments they will have to make is to their own bike and any medical bills to their person.

Storage Costs

Finally, you need to consider the costs of what it could be for storing and paying for parking. If you live in a big city, then parking and storage can be quite high. If you have a motorcycle or a scooter, then you would potentially save a lot of money on parking or storing it and you won’t have to deal with traffic as much either because of the maneuverability. That being said, it also depends on where you want to store your vehicle simply because if you are in a congested, urban area, a scooter or a motorcycle may just be more susceptible to crime whether it is damage or theft. Flashy motorcycles stick out like a sore thumb and could be targets for senseless or strategic vandalism. This could raise some of your insurance costs as well with respect to the likelihood of a claim. Advantage: Draw

All Other Factors

The biggest thing to consider is whether or not one of these fits into your personal life and mode of transportation better than the other does. If you happen to be a single individual and you are comfortable with the added risk (and need for safety)of driving a two-wheeled vehicle instead of having the protection around you that a four-wheeled auto provides, then you should at least look into what a motorcycle or a scooter can offer you. That being said, if you are part of a family and have little ones, you live in inclement weather, or you need to transport things without wearing a leather jacket, perhaps the car is the best option.

Your decision will have to make sense for you and your specific circumstances. That being said, if you are comfortable with a little bit of the risk that you take on when driving two-wheeled vehicles, it absolutely makes sense to see how you can save money and have fun doing it by riding a motorcycle. Consider how much fun you could have while putting cash back in your wallet.

Would you ever ride a motorcycle or use one as your main method of transportation? Why or why not? If you would or did, did money factor in to the equasion? How much did you find having a motorcycle saved you, in general?


  1. I would never consider a motorcycle. My uncle died in a motorcycle accident leaving behind a young family. I know you can also die from a car accident, as a pedestrian or cyclist but I think the risks are higher as a motorcyclist or cyclist on the road simply because car drivers are blind, and sometimes even hostile, towards motorcycles and cyclists. We live close to a bike path to the city. Its a 60minute ride on a bicycle each way. We opted for an electric bike for my husband for his daily commute to and from work. It will take 2 years to pay off the bike in public transport costs and we are half way through. After that cost of transport for him will be next to nothing other than cost of re-charging the battery daily and maintenance costs which are minimal. Since riding he has become incredibly fit and has lost weight. He finds that riding is considerably quicker than driving or taking public transport. Win-win.

  2. The ER calls them "donorcycles" for a reason.

  3. My husband and I both drive a motorcycle. Being a safe driver and staying visible to cars will cut risk by a lot (though not entirely), as will choosing to ride a bike that you can handle.


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