If you’re a college student, learning to ride a motorcycle might be a good option, but there’s a lot to consider before you take the leap.
The following is a guide to riding a motorcycle, particularly if you are a student.
Why Would a College Student Get a Motorcycle?
If you are a student, there are some advantages to having a motorcycle.
The biggest one is that if you live on or near campus, parking is tough. The spots are limited, and even if you can find a spot, you’ll often find that they’re a tight fit.
That’s where having something small like a motorcycle can save you time and energy.
Other benefits of motorcycles that are specific to students include:
The Initial Purchase Cost Is Lower
You can buy a motorcycle for a relatively low price point, and it can get you around town. If you buy a car, it’s almost always going to be a more expensive option.
You do have to add the cost of gear into that, but you can theoretically buy a motorcycle and all the needed gear for a few thousand dollars, and it’s going to be tough to find a car at that price, especially right now with the prices of both new and used cars soaring.
Many colleges and universities make it easier to get a parking permit, or at least cheaper if you use a motorcycle.
Another upside that’s going to appeal to students especially is the fact that motorcycles tend to require less maintenance than cars. They’re simpler than a car, and you might even be able to learn how to maintain a motorcycle on your own.
For a motorcycle, you really just need to be able to regularly check your tire pressure and condition and change the oil. If you can do those basic things, you’ll keep your motorcycle in good working order for years to come.
If you buy a used car, on the other hand, you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars a year on maintenance alone.
Motorcycles are more fuel-efficient, and with the price of gas at record highs, this might be enough of a reason for you to drive one on its own.
Plus, if you are only driving around campus or in the local area, you’ll barely spend anything on gas!
Are There Downsides of Motorcycles?
You can’t make an informed decision about anything without understanding the potential downsides. There are cons of having a motorcycle as a student, including:
You’re going to be significantly impacted by bad weather. If you go to school somewhere where bad weather is common, this will be especially detrimental.
When it’s cold, you might not want to ride, when it’s raining or storming, you can’t, and sometimes the weather is unpredictable, so you can find yourself in a difficult situation.
Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. No matter how safe of a rider you might be, you must consider that there are other drivers around you.
When you’re on a motorcycle, you’re more susceptible to injury than when you’re in a car.
Plus, motorcycles are more likely to be stolen than a car.
If you need to take a lot of items around with you, such as to campus, you’re going to have limited room to do so on a bike.
Grocery shopping is also going to be a challenge. You might have to get a ride with someone if you need to transport items.
If you only use a motorcycle for transportation, you’re going to be limited to shorter commutes. If you want to go home for the weekend from college, for example, and it’s a distance away, you’ll have to find a ride in most cases.
You might be able to do it on your motorcycle, but it won’t necessarily be easy.
Learning to Ride
If you decide that as a student, the pros outweigh the cons of having a motorcycle from your perspective, you need to learn how to ride properly and safely.
The following are some things to know about learning to ride:
Take a motorcycle safety course. This is a big one, and no one should skip this if they’re new to motorcycles. When you take a safety course, you’ll learn how to be more skilled and confident. These courses can last a few days, and you work with a certified instructor who can expose you to potential challenges in a controlled environment. You’ll also learn more about motorcycle laws where you live.
You’ll need to get your license, insurance, and registration in most cases, but the specifics of doing so can vary depending on where you live.
If you don’t yet have a motorcycle, you need to research the best options for beginners and plan to buy a used one. You are learning to ride, so you don’t want to buy the bike of your dreams. You want a starter motorcycle, just like you might have gotten a starter car when you turned 16.
Get the highest-quality safety gear you can afford. You want gear that’s going to protect your head and body in case anything happens.
Remember that when you’re riding a motorcycle, you must always stay alert. There are inevitably going to be people around you who aren’t alert or aren’t following traffic laws, particularly on and around a college campus. It’s up to you to be a defensive driver and make up for what they’re not doing properly.
Don’t have any passengers until you’re very confident in your riding ability. When you add someone else to the back of your bike, you have to adjust your suspension. You also have to account for the additional weight when you’re braking or making sharp turns.
Finally, try to stay away from interstates, highways, and high-traffic areas until you have some experience under your belt.
ou need to be comfortable with less challenging situations before you’re reading to take on more traffic or cars that are going higher speeds.
Don’t forget to give your bike a quick inspection each time you’re about to hit the road too.