Why should you buy a motorcycle? To annoy your parents! Well, perhaps that’s not the best reason. Motorcycles do have safety issues, but there are some very good reasons to own one. Yes, there’s the cool factor, but let’s take a look at some other reasons for buying a motorcycle.
According to Allstate Insurance, the average motorcycle rider reports fuel consumption of just over 56 miles per gallon. Some motorcycles can actually get more than 100 miles per gallon! Automobile drivers, on the other hand, report an average of 22.4 miles per gallon. According to U.S. government statistics, in 2010 the average new passenger car got 33.7 miles per gallon. So clearly, motorcycles have substantially better gas mileage than do cars.
The Price of Cars and Motorcycles
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car in the United States in 2010 was about $28,400. The Wallstreet Journal reported in 2007 that the average price of a motorcycle was about $12,304. So on average, a motorcycle is less than half the price of a car. And compared to a 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class automobile, which carries an MSRP of $110,400, motorcycles are a heck of a lot cheaper!
Increased Mental Awareness
Tokyo university in Japan published a study that shows that for men between the ages of 40 and 50, cognitive functioning improved after riding a motorcycle on a daily basis for two months. The study compared results with a control group of men in the same age range who didn’t ride motorcycles. Researchers attribute the results to the notion that motorcycle riders require a high level of awareness, which stimulates the brain to stay alert.
Here are some additional advantages to riding a motorcycle:
- Parking: In some cities, where finding a parking space is a challenge, motorcycles can be parked on sidewalks.
- Maintenance: Some motorcycle riders report motorcycles are easier to repair and cost less to maintain than cars.
- Meeting people: Riding a motorcycle is a great way to meet people. There are motorcycle clubs and group rides all over the nation.
- Flexibility in traffic: In traffic jams, a motorcycle rider can usually make his way through it. Also, motorcycle riders can use carpool lanes. A less time consuming commute means you can sleep later!
- Pulling over: Motorcycle riders can pull over practically anytime. In a city, pulling over in a car can be difficult and may block traffic flow. Typically, when a motorcycle rider pulls over, traffic flows around him or her.
- Road impact: Motorcycles have less of an impact on road surfaces than do cars
Most people think motorcycles, in general, due less damage to the environment than cars, but, unfortunately that’s not what the evidence always suggests. Laws are changing, but motorcycles have worse pollution standards than cars. In some cases, motorcycles emit 10-20 times the quantity of nitrogen oxides (NOx) when compared to cars. This is because many motorcycles don’t have catalytic converters. The good news is that catalytic converters are becoming increasingly commonplace with motorcycles. Despite this, motorcycles do have a couple of important advantages over automobiles in terms of environmental impacts: They get better gas mileage (as explained earlier) and their production requires fewer raw materials.
Motorcycle enthusiasts should avoid buying two-stroke engine motorcycles. They create a lot of pollution because they run on a gas/oil mix, so every combustion cycle burns gasoline and motor oil. Also, due to the engine’s design, unburnt fuel escapes through the exhaust and goes into the air.
According to a June 2008 Los Angeles Times article, the average motorcycle is about 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car, light truck or SUV, based on California Air Resources Board comparison of emissions-compliant vehicles. However, they generally emit less carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) than cars since they use less fuel per mile. What should motorcycle riders do to completely minimize environmental impacts? Ride an electric motorcycle or a motorcycle with fuel injection and a 3-way catalytic converter. If you go with one of these options, you’ll be reaping all of the benefits of riding a motorcycle.
So yes, motorcycles are cool, but they do have other advantages!
Brady Daniels is a member of the Motorcycle Insurance Quote writing staff. He writes feature articles about a variety of topics related to motorcycles.