Cars VS Bikes: The Age Old Debate

The debate over which is better, cars or bikes, has been raging for as long as cars and bikes have been around. But recently, thanks to the internet and blogging, it's gone into high gear. Numerous websites now devote enormous tracts of column space to answering this question. And nobody seems to have a clue which way the pendulum swings.

In this post, we're going to strip away all the nonsense and look at some of the facts on both sides before coming to a balanced conclusion. In the battle of bikes vs cars, who will prevail? Let's take a look at some of the reasons why you might choose a car.

Cars Are All-Weather Vehicles
Bikers often wax lyrical about the joys of riding their motorcycles on the open road. But, of course, that only really applies on a sunny day in California. Most of us aren't fortunate enough to live in such favourable climes. And even in California, it's not perpetual summertime.

When it's raining, it's cold, or it's snowing, riding a motorcycle is not fun. Many motorcyclists report that hail stings, even through leathers. And of course, it's hard to stay warm when temperatures dip below zero.
In a car the hail is kept out, the heating is turned on, and windscreen wipers do a good job of getting rid of the rain. Bicycle helmets don't have windshield wipers so good luck seeing where you're going.

You'll Live Longer Driving A Car
It's no secret that bikes are dangerous. As sites like point out, around 5,000 bikers die each year. And when you consider how few people ride bikes, that's a colossal number indeed.

Most of those accidents aren't the fault of the motorcyclist either. So it's not the case that you can just ride more carefully. The problem is that other motorists just don't see motorcyclists coming. They don't check their mirrors often enough. And they don't have a good perception of the speed of oncoming motorcycles, because of their small size.

Cars come with loads of safety equipment and are rigorously tested. Bikes come with practically none, except a helmet. And even that is rarely sufficient to prevent maiming. The best that you can hope for, regarding safety features on a bike, is anti-lock braking. That's about it.

Cars Can Be An Investment
These days a lot of wealthy people are putting their money into cars. Why? Because certain makes and models of cars tend to hold their value over time. They're a bit like buying vintage wines or famous artwork.

But motorcycles rarely, if ever hold their value over time. Unless you get hold of something like a Brough Superior, you're unlikely ever to see a return on your investment. Vintage bike prices are volatile, and almost always go down.

Cars Are More Convenient Than Bikes

Motorbikes make your life a lot harder. For starters, you have to get all dressed up in full leathers each time you go out. Then, when you arrive at your destination, you have to take them off again. If it's a hot day, you'll stink because you will have been sweating the whole journey.

Then there's the problem that there's not much room to put any of your stuff. If you're going away on a long break, you can forget it. It's almost impossible to cram a week's worth of stuff onto a motorbike. And even doing the shopping is difficult. There isn't the space to do a weekly shop. And so if you insist on using the motorbike, you'll end up going every couple of days.

You'll Get Health Insurance Driving A Car

If there was ever a clear indication that motorcycling is dangerous, it is this. Health insurance companies usually don't cover motorcyclists. And they put motorcycling as an activity in the same bracket as other very dangerous pursuits, like rock climbing and car racing.

This is a big problem. If you do get sick, medical expenses are outrageous, so you need insurance. But if you ride, you're left with a serious dilemma: ride without health insurance or dump the bike and get in the car instead.

But enough of the reasons why cars are better than bikes. Let's turn our attention now to the reasons why bikes are better than cars.

Bikes Take Up Less Space

Your average home in your average suburb has a garage. And in that garage, you can either put one big car or four small bikes. Cars are annoying because they take up so much space. You spend hours driving around crowded city centres in a car, looking for a place to park. And when you finally do, it's still expensive and stressful.

On a bike, you don't face the same problems. Usually, one bike is enough, freeing up space in your garage. Plus it's usually a lot easier to find places to park a motorcycle that it is a car. Most shopping centres have designated areas for motorcycle parking that are rarely, if ever, full.

Bikes Use Less Gas

Gas prices might have come down a little bit in recent years, but it's still expensive. The average family saloon can get around 45 miles per gallon. Not bad, considering how far things have come. But still not great. Motorbikes, on the other hand, especially those with smaller engines, can get more than 100 miles per gallon. That's more than double what you'd get in a car.

Bikes Have Higher Performance In General

Because bikes don't have to lug around so much equipment, they're lighter than cars. And because they're lighter, they have higher performance, generally speaking.

While it's true that not all motorbikes outperform all cars, it is certainly the trend. There are cars with similar performance to top-end motorbikes, but they're usually ten or twenty times the price.

Motorbikes Cost Less Than Cars

On a related point, motorbikes cost less than cars, almost any way you cut it. Each dollar spent on a motorbike will get you far more performance than each dollar spent on a car. Even a top end sports bike will cost you about the same as an entry level car.

Motorcycling Gets You Out In The Fresh Air

While it's true that motorcycling when the weather is bad is no fun, it's worth remembering that the weather isn't always bad. Sometimes it's great. Unless you've got an open top car, it's hard for car drivers to really get out in the fresh air and smell the pine trees. For bikers, it's easy.

Motorcycling Develops Coordination

Most experts agree that our lives are too sedentary. We roll out of bed, get dressed, sit in the car on the way to work, then sit at our desks, before coming home in the evening to slouch in front of the TV. Nowhere in that typical day is there an opportunity to practice balance and coordination. If you drive a car, that is.

But if you ride a motorbike, you'll have ample opportunities to hone your balance and coordination. Bikes require a certain finesse to ride well. You'll have to leave how to use the brake and clutch levers with your hands. And you'll have to time your gear shifts through your feet. Plus, a lot of the time, you'll be riding at low speeds, which tax your balance.

You Can Learn How To Rebuild A Motorbike

Modern cars are very complicated contraptions. Most of the time, when you go to the garage, the mechanic will hook your car up to a computer and the computer will tell the mechanic what's wrong. It's a far cry from the days when you could get underneath your own car and figure out problems for yourself. In fact, cars are now so complicated that they can only really be serviced by professionals, except for perhaps, the most simple things.

Bikes, on the other hand, are different. If you're so inclined, you can actually learn to take apart your bike in your own shed and put it back together. Learning how to service your own bike is rewarding in itself. But it also means that you can save a lot of money in the long term servicing your own bike.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, some of the top reasons for choosing a bike over a car, and vice versa. But who wins: bikes or cars? I think the answer depends on whether you're an optimist or a realist. You'll notice that a lot of the arguments against bikes aren't exactly in favour of cars. Yes, bikes are dangerous and all that; but are cars as exciting?

This is the crux of the issue for the optimist. Cars don't win because cars are better than bikes. They only win because bikes have a load of faults to go along with all their benefits. The optimist says that these faults aren't so bad as to take away from the joy of riding a motorcycle. But the realist says that these faults are bad. In fact, these faults ruin motorbiking as an experience and relegates it below driving a car.

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