With economic troubles and gas shortages, many are asking themselves this question…
Recently, many people have been questioning if they should buy a motorcycle. With the Colonial Pipeline shut down for almost a week, gas stations throughout the southeastern United States were running out of fuel. And while the disaster is winding down after Colonial reportedly paid the hackers who shut everything down about $5 million to restore service, it’s not entirely unwise to think in terms of what you will do the next time there’s a gas shortage or other emergency.
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Before you start searching fast and furious for a used motorcycle, you need to stop and think about a few factors. Yes, motorcycles are wondrously fuel-efficient machines, so you can go far on little gas. I get that’s why people are weighing buying one since they would have at least one vehicle which can get them around when something like this happens again. But fuel efficiency isn’t everything.
Take into consideration how much it will cost to insure your motorcycle. Your current insurance carrier might not offer motorcycle coverage, not all do, so you might have to get quotes elsewhere. Before you do, brace yourself: coverage for a motorcycle is expensive. There are reasons for that, not the least of which is a serious crash on a bike can entail worse injuries than if you were in a car. Also, most drivers just plain don’t notice motorcycles, adding to the danger. It’s a sad but true fact you must come to terms with before buying that motorcycle.
That brings us to the next point: gear. As they say, dress for the slide, not for the ride. Sure, you could wear regular clothing while zipping around on your really cool bike, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily should. I see guys with a backwards baseball cap, T-shirt, shorts, and flip flops really punching it on a sport motorcycle and I cringe. If something were to happen, even if it’s not your fault, and you become separated from the bike at speed, you better be wearing clothes which won’t disintegrate as you slide along asphalt. When it’s hot all that gear isn’t exactly comfortable, but it is necessary.
Also, motorcycle gear isn’t exactly cheap. Don’t believe me? Go price it out for yourself. Helmets will run you a fair amount, as will a proper jacket, gloves, pants, boots, etc. Add it all up and suddenly you realize buying a motorcycle is a steeper investment than you might have thought.
If the worst were to happen and you have to endure weeks of no fuel available at your local gas stations, your motorcycle might see you through the disaster as it miserly sips the dino juice. However, don’t expect it to accommodate your usual lifestyle. Maybe in an emergency you won’t care, but even if your bike has saddlebags, you’ll find transporting groceries and other items to be a difficult, limiting experience. Let’s just say you should probably walk right past the watermelons at the grocery store without a second glance.
Keep in mind you’ll also have to cart around your helmet, unless you want to lock it to your bike. A good lock isn’t exactly cheap. Oh, and the lock will take up space you could’ve used for other items.
One final thing: in most states you have to get a special motorcycle license to legally ride on public roads. Exactly what that entails varies, so check with your local DMV or MVD.
I’m not trying to talk anyone out of buying a motorcycle, despite how it might sound. Instead, this is about being the voice of reason at a time when many people are panicking and not thinking straight. Motorcycles are wonderful machines and can be incredibly fun to ride. However, they cost more to own than most people realize and they’re not exactly utilitarian things. If you know all this going in, you’ll have a better motorcycle ownership experience.
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