Motorcycles are cool and if you ride one, you’re cool too (probably). But aside from improving your social stock, impressing your friends, and dramatically increasing your happiness, there are a lot of really good reasons to ride. For now, though, I’ll spare you the long version and just give you the top 5 reasons to ride a motorcycle (in very particular order).
1. You save gas
As with cars, motorcycle mileage can vary significantly based on the bike and how it’s ridden. But the general consensus is that the average for motorcycles is about 50 mpg. And while there are numerous plans to increase mpg for cars, their current average is somewhere between 25 and 35 mpg. Suffice it to say that motorcycles get much, much better mileage than cars (on average).
The average price of gas is currently $3.30 and the average American drives 12,000 miles a year. So if you traded in your car (at 25 mpg) for a motorcycle (at 50 mpg), for example, you could potentially cut your fuel expenses in half reducing the amount you spend at the pump from roughly $1,584 to $792 a year.
2. You can take the carpool lane
According to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, federal law allows motorcycles to use the carpool lanes, also known as HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes, even with a single rider. So, when everyone else is stuck in stop-and-go traffic, you and your steel horse can gallop along in the fast lane.
3. You avoid distracted driving
Here’s a scary fact: according to Distraction.gov (the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving), 18 percent of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, and a whopping 416,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
The good news about motorcycles is that it’s impossible to hold onto the handlebars while texting. Plus, all that wind in your ears makes talking on the phone out of the question. So if you happen to be one of those people who feel tempted to text or tweet while driving, you eliminate that risk completely by riding a motorcycle. Just be extra careful since (as you now know) distracted drivers are everywhere. Ride like you’re invisible, always paying extra attention to what drivers around you are doing.
4. You look cool
Looking like a dork, while possible, is actually more difficult on a motorcycle. It’s almost as if, by simply throwing your leg over the gas tank and grabbing hold of the handlebars, you’re able to channel the cache of guys like Marlon Brando and James Dean.
Whether you’re a stockbroker or lion tamer, an accountant or a stuntman, a chick or a dude, almost everyone can up their cool factor considerably by hopping on a bike and hammering down (just make sure to keep the shiny side up).
5. Time travel
In a world overpopulated (and overpolluted) by cars, motorcycles transcend the boundaries of time in unique ways. Not only are they forward-thinking with their inherently compact carbon footprint, but they also hearken back to a time when life wasn’t as cluttered or complicated. Motorcycles still represent the Wild West-like freedom and adventure of the open road, the rugged individualism of the explorer.
In fact, if you want to experience what it might have been like to ride a horse across the Painted Desert, hop on a bike and head for Monument Valley (where several John Wayne movies were filmed). Riding through the buttes at sunset might be as close as you’ll ever get to stepping back in time.
Bon Jovi didn’t call his ride a “steel horse” for nothing.
In short, if you ride a motorcycle, you can save up to $792 a year, look like James Dean, avoid distracted driving, never get stuck in traffic, and travel back in time. Who’s in?