Cost: gas and toll savings
Did you know that most motorcycles get better miles per gallon than the majority of passenger cars on the road? Yup, even my older 2006 CBR 600RR gets around 35 mpg. A new 2016 CBR 600RR gets around 45 mpg. With gas around me hovering at $2 a gallon, I’m only paying around $.66 to get to and from work.
If I were to drive my truck, an F-150 that gets about 15 mpg, then I’m paying $4 a day to commute.
Dallas-Fort Worth is also quickly being overrun by toll roads. The days of the fast-moving freeway are over in North Texas, even the toll roads have premium pay-per-use lanes. To get from my work to home requires I commute through two toll roads, totaling about $10 each and every day. That’s over $200 a month, just to get to work in under an hour because the alternative is a grueling stop and go along the service roads. In North Dallas, the 15 miles I drive can easily take an hour and a half if you don’t hit the express lanes.
Motorcycles like mine don’t pay tolls. I employ legal methods to avoid tolls, passive rigging specifically. You can read more about how to legally avoid tolls here.
Saving $3,360 a year
Between the $10 per day toll savings and the over $3 per day in gas, or $13 per day. I’m saving about $395 each month in driving expenses, or $4,745 a year, on a sport bike! That’s more than I even paid for the motorcycle, which means my bike has officially paid itself off as of today. I bought my current ride exactly one year ago today Happy anniversary bike!
Reduced Travel Time
As I said above, commute times in and around north Dallas are crazy. The 15 miles I drive can easily take up to an hour and a half, especially if there is an accident ahead. Even on a good day it will take at least an hour.
One way I cut down on travel time is red light filtering, we ran an article a while back about red light filtering here. While it isn’t really legal, it isn’t something many police officers enforce. The logic behind it is simply moving to the front of traffic at red lights. This reduces traffic congestion, Denmark produced some very nice data supporting this statement. It also reduces the risk of a motorcyclist being rear-ended, which can easily be deadly.
By red light filtering, I am able to knock around 25% off my travel time as compared to a passenger vehicle.
I also lane split, but only at low speeds. This practice also isn’t legal in Texas but has been proven through studies conducted by both California and Danish governments to both reduce traffic, decrease commute times, and be safe when performed at low speeds and low-speed differentials. If you would like to read more about the lane splitting debate here in Texas, you can here.
Lane splitting decreases my travel time too and that of those around me. When traffic is stalled, I can get myself out of the way of others by moving between the other vehicles stopped on the road. I become one less obstacle for those behind me trying to reach their destinations. I would estimate that this probably saves me another 25% of my daily travel time.
When you combine the practices of lane-splitting and red-light filtering things start really looking nice, shaving off about half of your normal travel time. If your commute is about an hour by truck like mine, then that adds up to about 5 hours a week, over 20 hours a month, 260 hours a year or about 16 days worth of awake hours a year.
Half a month of your life back every year!
This is well known, well documented and very much appreciated among motorcyclists. I mean, no one in a car waves just to say hi every day. Makes getting out there on the road a little nicer. A motorcycle easily becomes something to break the ice too.
Then there is the constant support of other riders. If I break down, I get people from all over asking if I need help. I always find these people to either be riders themselves, previous riders, a family member or friend of a rider. I never feel alone to fend for myself on the road, help is damn near everywhere.
In case you didn’t know, riding a motorcycle is fun. It’s exhilarating, freeing and there isn’t much that beats it for clearing your mind. I’ve heard it refer to as two-wheeled therapy, and it really is. For the time your on that bike, life’s problems get set aside and forgotten. For people like me, that is 30 mins of uninterrupted therapy twice a day, five days a week.
Because of riding, I stroll into work with a smile and ride back home bobbing to music all the way.
If you’ve been considering learning to ride, I hope this helps you. A motorcycle will change your life.
A Web Developer by trade, future data scientist.
A motorcycle enthusiast at heart.
Most days I’d rather be in the woods anywhere.