First, I’d like to debunk a few misconceptions of motorcycling. It’s often thought that motorcyclists are either middle aged men with a Harley Davidson wearing a leather jacket or young men with overpowered bikes speeding in traffic. This could not be further from the truth.
Most motorcyclists are just normal everyday people that have made the choice of riding a bike over driving a car, for many reasons which I’ll talk about in this post. They don’t drive recklessly or belong to a criminal organization. For most, motorcycling is a way of transport or an important hobby. They are just adventurous people simply enjoying the experience of riding a bike on a sunny day.
Let’s change the image of motorcycling from this (left) to this (right):
Let’s talk about the convenience factor first. Motorcycles are small in size so you can fit them pretty much through every gap. Skipping traffic sounds pretty great right? You know what’s also fun? Saving money. A new motorcycle will cost you only about 8000€, which is nothing compared to the price of a new car.
When it’s time to park your bike, motorcycles often have dedicated parking spots in the city (which are often free). Climate will definitely thank you for riding a motorcycle. If a car consumes approximately 8L of gas every 100 kilometers, motorcycle will only take four. And that’s if you ride aggressively. I’ve often reached 2l/100km with my driving. Moreover, you’ll save even more money on cheap insurance and cheaper maintenance.
Of course, there are a few good reasons why we all haven’t just simply ditched our cars and moved to motorcycling yet. Even tho it is extremely fun, efficient and convenient, there are some issues. It isn’t very smart to have a motorcycle as your only mode of transport in a country like Finland where you can only ride for about five months a year due to the weather. Although, in countries like China there are more than 34 million motorcycles (officially). You naturally can’t carry a lot of luggage, tow anything or have more than one passenger with you. That turns a lot of buyers off, in addition to the weather factors and common safety concerns.
In 2020, the safety and information technology from cars have finally reached motorcycles, even in the lower price bracket. This means motorcycles nowadays have traction control, ABS-brakes, LED-lights, wheelie control and a large smartphone-like displays, just to mention a few.
I’m not saying there are no problems, there undeniably are problems like visibility in traffic, having no metal frame protecting you in the event of a crash and the lack of the overall skill that it takes to safely ride a motorcycle.
Fortunately, there are companies like Siili Auto who are trying to make traffic safer for all of us. Earlier in 2020, they launched a demo of a new kind of instrument cluster never done before. It basically shows on the background of the motorcycle dashboard a live feed from the rear camera, while simultaneously displaying other information about your driving. You can check it for yourself here. I believe these kinds of innovations are exactly what motorcycles need in order to make motorcycling safer and therefore more accessible everyone interested in the adventure that comes with riding on two wheels.
Regardless of where you live, I think everyone should try riding a motorcycle at least once in their lives. It gives you a truly different perspective to traffic that is unreachable while driving a car. You automatically pay so much more attention to your surroundings while riding, that you may even learn to understand the traffic and the people around you little better. So, I suggest that you find a friend or a relative that rides and ask them to teach you the ropes, I’m pretty sure they are more than happy to teach you when you show interest in their hobby. I promise you won’t regret it.