WHETHER it’s a real desire to save money or simply a useful way of justifying the decision to ride the financial aspect of using a bike – and how cheap it can be when compared to other forms of transport – is often overlooked.
Whether compared to cars or to public transport, if you’ve got a daily commute to undertake there’s a good chance you’ll be able to do it for less on a bike. In comparison to cars, bikes use less fuel, are cheaper to insure, cheaper to tax, exempt from congestion charges and often free to park. Against public transport they offer boundless convenience in terms of times and where they’ll take you as well as potentially massive savings.
Case studies by the Get On campaign (www.geton.co.uk ) perfectly illustrate how the average commuter could save.
Their figures show that a train commuter travelling from Guildford to London Victoria would spend £366 per month on a rail card, while a motorcyclist making the same trip would spend around £138.89 on fuel, £20.58 on insurance and £5.50 on road tax per month, totalling £164.97. That’s a saving of over £200 per month – more than enough to cover the repayments on a fairly decent new bike and enough to cover the entire cost of a decent used machine in well under a year. And that’s without taking the time savings into account – the bike journey would save a total of seven hours travel every month, with a daily commute of 53 minutes compared to 1hr 14m by public transport.
The savings over using a car are just as significant. If you commute 1000 miles per month - the equivalent of living around 20 miles from your workplace – even a car averaging 30mpg is going to be setting you back £200 per month in fuel. A bike doing 50mpg would save you around £80 per month in fuel alone. If you don’t need speed, you could even double that mpg using a 125 or a scooter, bringing your monthly fuel cost down to just £60 – a saving of £140 per month.
Ditch the car entirely and savings are greater still, as you’ll be reducing your spend on insurance and road tax, too. The cost calculator on the Get On website lets you put in your own figures, whether you’re commuting by car or by public transport, and shows how much you can expect to save by swapping it for a bike. The annual savings are often in the thousands.
For a teenager, savings in the thousands can be made on insurance alone if they opt for a bike instead of a car. Any 17-year-old (or parent of a 17-year-old) knows that simply getting cover on a ropey old Corsa is likely to set you back a couple of grand a year at that age. Get an A1 licence, or even ride a 125 on ‘L’ plates, and the insurance might well be just a couple of hundred per year for the bike. Throw in VED of just £16 per year and the potential for more than 100mpg from a 125cc bike and the savings are simply enormous.
Back in the era of post-war austerity, virtually every youngster’s best chance of getting on the road was on a motorcycle. In the current austerity, the same applies.