There’s something that tends to hold an appeal about motorcycles. Maybe it’s the idea of the freedom and the wind as you take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. It could be that it’s adventurous and gets your adrenaline pumping.
Whatever the allure is for you, there are undeniable benefits of having a motorcycle, but often the risks outweigh the possible rewards.
Even a minor accident on a motorcycle can cause road rash and other severe injuries.
Your risk of dying on a motorcycle is higher than you might realize, and the costs of ownership can quickly add up.
With that in mind, we’ll cover some of the upsides of having a motorcycle, but also some of the big reasons you might want to rethink buying one.
The Pros of Motorcycle Ownership
It’s only fair to over the upsides of having a motorcycle before going into the downsides.
Some of the pros of owning a motorcycle include:
- It’s inexpensive compared to having a traditional car. For example, in some states like California, having a car can become a big expense, as can the gas. Gas prices have been moving upwards in recent months as well. A motorcycle gets better gas mileage, is less money to maintain than a car, and comes with lower insurance costs.
- Motorcycles are small, making them easy to maneuver if you live somewhere with a lot of traffic. Their compact size also makes them easier to park.
- A motorcycle is usually going to be more eco-friendly and has a smaller carbon footprint than a car.
- In many instances, motorcycles keep their value more than cars.
- They’re enjoyable. There’s no doubt about it that motorcycles can be a lot of fun, and they’re thrilling to ride.
With that being said, the following are the downsides and reasons to think again before you buy a motorcycle.
The risk factor of motorcycles really can’t be overstated.
Motorcyclists make up about 14% of all deadly roadway crashes, but they only account for 3% of vehicles on the road. When you’re on a motorcycle, you’re 28 more times likely to die if you’re in a crash than people who are in traditional passenger vehicles.
More than 80% of motorcycle crashes result in a significant injury or death.
Even in a minor accident, you could basically have your skin shredded by the pavement.
Road rash can be incredibly damaging, and then everything that’s on the roadway is going to get into your wounds.
You also have to consider how heavy the cars and trucks that you’ll share the roadway with are and how that will compare to the light weight of your bike.
Some of the biggest risks for motorcycle riders include:
- Cars pulling out in front of you: Even if a driver sees you because you’re on a smaller vehicle, a driver might think you’re farther away than what you are. It’s tough for drivers to figure out how close you are to them or how fast you’re going. Many drivers mistakenly think they have time to make a left turn out in front of a motorcycle, leading to a crash.
- It’s hard to see you: Frequently, other drivers can’t see you at all. For example, a driver might not see you as they change lanes.
- Lack of signaling: It’s pretty common for drivers not to use their signals to indicate their intentions on the roadway, which is especially problematic if you’re on a motorcycle.
- Distracted driving: Consider how common distracted driving is and how much that can increase the chances that the driver of a car or truck doesn’t see you.
- Drunk driving: If you’re driving at night or on holidays especially, you could encounter a drunk driver on the roadways. You have to always practice defensive driving, but sometimes it’s not enough.
The True Cost of Ownership Might Be More Than You Think
While owning a motorcycle can be cheaper than a car, it still might be more than you figure initially.
You have to plan for a lot of expenses including the bike itself, safety gear, and maintenance and repairs. You’ll also have to add to that insurance, any licensing or permit costs, and gas. Bikes can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars.
For maintenance, you might expect to pay hundreds of dollars a year, and annually insurance to ride a motorcycle could be $200 up to $500.
The Weather Can Be a Problem
You don’t have to think much about the weather when you’re in a regular car or vehicle.
When you’re on a motorcycle, the weather becomes a huge factor.
You don’t want to ride in the rain, storms, or other bad weather, so that can be an issue if a motorcycle is your only form of transportation.
If you were to ride in inclement weather, a motorcycle becomes even more dangerous. There’s less traction and visibility.
Motorcycles and Certain Personality Traits Don’t Mix
If you have certain personality characteristics, you should be honest with yourself and potentially avoid motorcycle ownership.
One example is if you don’t have self-discipline. You need to have the discipline to take your time learning to ride a motorcycle properly. Proper technique is critical, and it takes time. If you’re someone who wants to dive into something without preparing, rethink the motorcycle.
If you’re a know-it-all, again, a motorcycle might not be right for you.
If you’re too much of a thrill-seeker, you also might not be able to hold yourself back from doing things that are dangerous.
You Might Spend Less Time with Your Family
Finally, if you have a family or loved ones and you get a motorcycle, it might reduce how much quality time you spend with them.
Motorcycles take up your time in terms of maintenance, and if you’re dedicating your weekends exclusively to riding, then you might not be giving your family the attention they’d like.