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Motorcycle vs. Car: Which is Best for Commuting?

12/14/2012 5:08:00 PM

Tags: Motorcycle vs. Car, Green Transportation, Motorcycle Commuting, Commuter Motorcycle

Motorcycle versus carAs gas prices go up, more motorcycles appear on the roads. There's a strong belief among commuters that bikes are cheaper to own and operate. But which machine is really the winner in the battle of motorcycle vs. car?

If you're thinking about buying a bike to save money on your commute, Spot Motorcycles counsels you to take a good, hard look before you leap. The motorcycle blog compares potential savings to costs in its online article, Save Money Commuting by Motorcycle? Not So Fast!. Besides the initial cash outlay required for purchasing a commuter motorcycle, there are other expenses to consider. For new riders, these may include gear, safety courses and maintenance. Keeping a car for backup during bad weather means making insurance payments on two vehicles. The costs can add up quickly.

You can reduce expenses by acquiring a used machine and handling your own repairs but, surprisingly, gas savings aren't so straightforward. The length of your commute and current cost-per-gallon of fuel are factors to consider when weighing the benefits of motorcycle commuting, and the arithmetic can get complicated. Spot's article features an easy-to-use calculator to settle whether your circumstances merit a bike, at least in terms of expense. If you want a bike for the sheer fun of it, well, the calculator can't compute thrills.

Check out the motorcycle vs. car calculator at the Spot Motorcycles blog.

Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She's an avid cyclist and has never met a vegetable she didn't like. You can find her on .

Photo by Fotolia/Regine Schottl


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2/17/2015 11:03:51 PM
"Motorcycle VS Car Safety" Yes car is more safe and reliable for the driving but it's cost is higher. Helmet, and other protective gears can easily safe the motorcycle riders and they are bit cheap as compare to any other transportation means.

5/25/2013 4:57:14 PM

What the writer doesn't get is that you ride a motorcycle because you love it. This article should make no difference to anyone. If it's not a passion and you ride to work to wake up, get better focus, and do something that is important to you well - stay in your cage and hang up the phone. If motocycling is something you love, this article is a waste of time. 

5/11/2013 1:10:45 PM

Get an old gs500 or similar for 400 quid, you barely have to touch them, insurance is about 130 quid without any NCB. As for having a backup car.. By the time the roads are bad enough to stop riidng in theyre gridlocked anyway. If you're that worried about a few weeks every year get a 200 quid chinese 125 trailie, stud the tyres. Nothing against cars but if you're sensible this can be done really cheap. You could even get a really cheap non turbo old diesel car. Peugeot made a few which are gutless but use little fuel and chug on forever. Either really.. bike would be more fun and traffic is less of an issue.

Anna Schinske
1/4/2013 9:33:37 AM
I have a 2009 Honda Rebel. Since I only live a few miles from work, it's my every day ride between Valentines Day and Thanksgiving, when the temperatures drop below 30 degrees. So far I've averaged nearly $8 for nearly 1.5 gallons of gas, lasting me a month and a half of daily driving (approximately 100 miles to empty). Otherwise, I have a '94 Dodge Dakota that I use for farmuse and driving to poultry swaps and feed purchasing. This one takes approximately 22 gallons and gets filled only when I run out of fuel (which is about every two months, as it's a 77 mile drive to the feed mill and another 28 miles to the poultry swaps, totalling 105 miles one way).

Joseph Carlin
12/20/2012 8:47:35 PM
I've made that choice for both practical and recreational reasons. I have an old Kawasaki 305 LTD. Tiny motor gets me over 70mpg even in and '88 and will do 80 in a pinch, plus out accelerate most cars off the line. Safety gear cost several hundred dollars, the old small displacement bike ran me around $800, and insurance is less than $200 a year. On my 70 mile commute it represents a 50% fuel savings over even my manual Focus. It is also a much much better way to start my day than sitting in a car. Remember though, safety is a concern. Had a minor slide last year when a nice young lady who I'd have sworn made I contact with me decided to occupy same space I was in when she pulled out of the side road part of a T as I was passing through intersection. Don't skimp on gear. It was a warm day, but boots, armored denims, helmet, and an armored jacket left me with nothing more than a twisted shoulder and kept me out of the emergency room. I will admit however, for recreational riding I'd prefer a bigger bike. The larger the bike the less the benefit as a commuter.

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