Motorcycles have always been considered a cheaper alternative to a car. Obviously apart from the driver, there’s room for only one pillion passenger and not an awful lot of luggage; but for transporting one person from A to B in a congested environment it is the ideal vehicle.
And recently the go ahead has been given for motorbikes to legally use bus lanes. From 5th January 2009 for an 18 month trial period motorcycle, riders will be allowed to navigate the capital’s red route bus lane. As a result, this makes the two-wheel form of transport even more enticing and perhaps in the capital at least, there could well be a mini-boom in motorcycle sales.
Indeed, one of the stated aims of allowing this move is to encourage more commuters in London to invest in a motorbike. For those who own both a car and motorbike, this legislation is to encourage them to adopt the mantra (with apologies to George Orwell) of ‘four wheels bad; two wheels good’! Of course, bicycles are already able to use the red route bus lanes, so the option to use two wheels in the preferred routes has merely been extended to bikes with motors.
But, it’s not just the ease with which people will be able to whizz their way through the capital that appeals. The economics of running a motorbike compare favourably to that of a car; maintenance costs are cheaper, as are running costs. Parking fees for cars in London are astronomical, especially in the city centre and of course there’s the congestion charge from which motorcycles are exempt; unless they are a monstrous metre in width or two metres in length!
Additionally, a recent survey found that bike insurance is considerably cheaper than car insurance, as indeed is Vehicle Excise Duty. Even the largest bikes with engine size over 600cc cost only £66 per year to tax. Comparably, the costs of running a motorcycle are significantly less than those of a car, especially for those living in London.
However, it’s not just about cost. According to recent reports, the average speed of cars travelling through London is 16.9 mph but can be as slow as 7 mph at peak times. Motorcyclists currently average 21.1 mph through the capital meaning that once they have access to red route bus lanes that should increase even further.
Of course, motorbikes are not a viable option for everyone, but for those who fancy the idea it would certainly be financially beneficial; not to mention result in spending a lot less time in stationary traffic!