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Car costs vs motorcycles: 3 reasons you should learn to ride

There is no getting around it, riding a motorcycle is fun. While that may not be a good enough reason to learn to ride, motorcycles have plenty of other perks. With rising petrol prices and ever more congested roads, getting to work or grabbing a pint of milk, makes more sense on a motorbike.

Most people choose a car as their main form of transport with little thought to the alternatives. But opting to learn to ride a motorbike, either for pleasure or practicality comes with a host of benefits. Sure, you’ll only be able to take one other passenger – if you learn to carry a pillion passenger – but the peace, freedom, and camaraderie of riding with buddies is incomparable to driving a car.

Riding motorbikes versus driving cars is a debate as old as the automotive industry. We take a look at the costs of driving, compared to the cost of riding a motorbike. You’ll also get three compelling reasons you should learn to ride!

Is a motorbike cheaper to run than a car?

Like so many questions, the short and honest answer is “it depends”. With so many different types of cars and motorcycles – from the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) motors to hybrid and fully electric, it’s impossible to provide a definitive answer.

Of course, there is more to consider than just the type of engine propelling your wheels. There are insurance costs, maintenance, and tax too.

The average premium for comprehensive cover is £412 per year if you have four wheels. It’s just £340 if you get around on two. It’s a similar story when it comes to fuel. Cars are thirstier than motorbikes. Even a chunky Harley Davidson Fatboy gets around 38 miles to the gallon while the thrifty little VW Up! Gets 39.7mpg.

Switch to an economical 125cc motorbike or a 50cc scooter and the fuel economy becomes even more striking.

Cars are taxed differently from motorcycles. A car’s yearly tax is based on its CO2 emissions. The minimum you’ll pay for car tax is £140 – unless you drive an electric vehicle. For bikes, it’s a matter of engine size. A smaller 125cc engine will set you back £19, but a 600cc motorcycle or larger will cost you £82 each year.

When it comes to maintenance, motorcycles and cars cost roughly the same. A yearly MOT and service for four wheels will start at around £179.85. Yearly MOT and maintenance costs for motorcycles begin at around £179.65.

Typically, motorcycles are cheaper to run than cars. But, that’s just one reason you should learn to ride.

How much does it cost to learn to ride vs getting a driving license?

The process of finding freedom on the road is very different for car licenses and motorcycle permits and licensing. You can learn to ride, achieve your CBT certification and be on the road within a weekend. Car licenses usually take a little longer to acquire.

There are a number of hurdles to jump in order to qualify for your driving license. First, you’ll need the provisional license, which takes around three weeks to get. On-the-road experience should take a minimum of three months – particularly if you’ve never driven before. After the practical experience, you’ll need to study and pass your license tests. Give yourself four weeks for that. All tallied up, you could have a driver’s license and be on the road on your own within five to six months.

Full license training for motorcycles is different. The earliest you can learn to ride is 15 years and 9 months. This early license is known as a CBT certificate or compulsory basic training certification. People aged 24 or over can choose to train for their full ‘A’ motorcycle license, this also takes less time to qualify for than a driving license.

Two (quick) ways you can learn to ride a motorcycle

CBT certification can be achieved within a weekend. This allows riders to gain real-life experience on UK roads, aside from motorways. Many scooter riders and smaller motorcycle enthusiasts never bother upgrading their certification to a full motorcycle license.

Through Direct Access Licensing, riders can achieve their full ‘A’ license without power-to-weight ratio restrictions within two weeks. The availability of testing centres and your aptitude for motorcycle riding may extend this a little.

Learning to ride a motorcycle and gain your license is a faster process than getting a driver’s license.

Three reasons you should learn to ride a motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle is generally cheaper than driving a car. What’s more, gaining your license to ride is a faster and arguably more intensive than training for your driver’s license. But that’s not the only reason you should learn to ride.

Riding a motorcycle is good for your health

No doubt you’ve heard the argument that motorcycles are ‘death traps’, but Health and Wellness researcher, Dr. Pamella Reilly, may have you think again. Her findings confirmed motorcycle riding was a great form of low-impact exercise.

Sure, you’re hardly likely to develop a six-pack from riding to work on a motorcycle, but there are plenty of other benefits to choosing a motorcycle for your commute. You can expect to improve core strength, increase sensitivity to insulin (which helps prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes), and improve your neck and thigh strength. Your mental health gets a boost too – motorcycle riders report feeling more energized and happy than their car-driving compatriots.

Motorcycles are cheaper to buy and retain more of their value for longer

Buying a motorcycle is cheaper than buying a car. Of course, it depends on the makes and models, but it’s likely that the motorcycle you choose will depreciate much slower than a four-wheeled motor.

Motorcycles have less environmental impact

Motorcycles guzzle less petrol than ICE cars and if you choose an electric motorcycle, you’ll find it takes less time and power to reach a full charge too! Riding to work on a motorcycle may not be as environmentally friendly as riding a bike, but it is kinder than a car – and way more fun too.

Choosing to learn to ride a motorbike is a matter of weighing up different pros and cons and deciding what’s important to you in your mode of transport. There are benefits to driving, but when it comes to cost, the fun factor, and your health, motorcycle riding will win every time!

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