Dec 172009

I was driving to work and traffic was much heavier than it usually is for the morning rush.  Sitting in traffic, thinking I’m going to be late…oh well.  I finally get to the cause of all of this, and what do I see?  I motorcycle lying on its side, and the apparent driver lying face up on the ground with, I would assume, the people who hit him standing over on the cell phone probably calling 911.  Here is what I don’t get and what no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise.  Why in the world would you drive a motorcycle regularly.

There is no argument out there that makes it worth it.  It saves money on gas.  True.  You can drive in the carpool lane and even between cars, thus saving you commute time.  True. Its more fun than driving a car.  Subjectively true.  And there are probably tons more that motorcycle riders can tell me.   You know what?  All are probably true.  But all of that is moot!!

You can be the safest motorcycle driver in the world.  You can drive defensively.  Have the best reflexes.  Make the best and safest decisions while driving.  I will grant you that even if you do all this and never, ever make a mistake, it still does not even matter.  Why?  Because all it takes is for one stupid driver to not pay attention or just an idiot who never should have gotten his license to ram into you and its pretty much game over.  And you know what?  There are a lot more than 1 bad driver on the freeways at any given time.  A lot more.  You see it everyday yourselves when you are navigating those freeways.

So yes, all of your arguments are true.  I’m not saying that you can’t die driving a car.  But, a minor accident in a car is not likely to hurt you.  A minor accident while on a motorcycle?  Not exactly the same.  You weigh 200 pounds.  The car that hits you?  Maybe 3,000 pounds.  Who do you think is going to win that collision?  I’m not saying that you can’t drive a motorcycle.  Just go dirt biking or something like that, treating it like an extreme sport such as paintball or skydiving or whatever.  But to drive on a bike everyday on the roads with tons of crappy drivers surrounding you?  Is your life really worth the few dollars you save on gas money?  If you say yes its quite sad, but I’d venture that most of you would say no.

  5 Responses to “Motorcycles are just not worth it”

  1. total agreement


  3. While avid motorcycle riders may get upset at you venting here, you are absolutely correct in your apprehension. When I first started riding, I got into it to save gas as well as having cheaper insurance and a less expensive vehicle to purchase and maintain. However, while I do save money on gas, what I found is that good-quality bikes cost quite a bit to repair, and periodic maintenance can be expensive as well. Granted, you can easily change the oil and such yourself. But, replacing belts and things, unless you’re a do-it-yourselfer, will cost money to get a mechanic to do it. The OEM parts for good-quality bikes are pricey at times. Belts can cost $200+. Replacement tires on my bike were $400 + $100 for labor. The bike itself cost me $3000, but then it had an issue with the rear wheel stripping some splines…and it came out to a $1600 repair bill. In those situations, a person starts to consider scrapping the bike due to depreciative value not making repairs worth the cost. So, then you leap-frog to another bike, for another $5000-10,000 … and if you’re a normal rider that gets the itch to try other bikes, you can do this over and over several years. From a pure statistics point of view, I was taking a statistics class when I first started riding. The teacher showed us how insurance companies do their policies based on risk assessment. I did it comparing the cost of the car vs. bike, plus cost of medical if in an accident in car vs. bike, plus factoring in accident statistic for cars vs. bikes. While bike riders (crotch-rocket riders excluded) are a safer bunch than car drivers, there is still a risk. And, if that risk plays out, the medical expense is usually a lot higher than if you were in a car accident. Overall, the cost you save by riding a bike is more than eaten up if you ever get into an “average” accident on one, even if just once in your life. But, life is risk. At least once a week someone will start changing lanes into me, since they’r eon their cellphone and not paying attention. I ride defensively, but you are right, you can’t be 100% all the time. There have been wet roads and poor vision that have made me wary at times. A bike stalling out in the middle of the highway, or having the clutch stripped or anything else that makes it stop going forward puts a person in a huge risky situation. But, some of us like the freedom and risk and living a little. It’s really a personal choice, and about weighing options. But, I don’t think many folks really do weigh the risks, tangible and intangible, enough before making the leap. However, economics may make those decisions for most folks. The fact is, most good-quality bikes are becoming so expensive to buy and maintain that you might as well just buy an econo-class car. In a car, you’re protected from the weather, you have better accident protection, etc. The exploding cost of riding may solve the problem you bring up naturally. Folks used to ride to save money. But with the immeidate cost-savings no longer matching what it used to, it’s hard to argue that there’s a cost/benefit of putting more life-risk on the line in doing so. This is all coming from an avid rider that loves to ride, and has been doing so as my main transportation for 6 years now.

  4. Thanks for the comment. I don’t begrudge anyone the choice to ride a bike. Your stat comments were quite interesting. It would seem that if you choose to ride a bike, do it because you like riding, not to save yourself a few bucks. I did find it interesting that insurance costs less for bike riders. I would of always thought it would cost more due to higher serious injury risks. But, I guess underwriters know what they are doing and the stats prove otherwise.

  5. I agree to a point that having a sports bike commuter might seem practical , It cannot be as practical as a car. Advantages for cars out weigh the advantage of a bike.

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