Is It Really Worth Riding Motorbike to Work Instead of Using Public Transport?

After reading https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/382306 I tried very hard to come up with a similar troll post but I couldn't. And I don't have any bargains to post );

So, here's the problem.

Given Australia's record population growth https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/s...

Background:
I ride to work by bus everyday because the nearest train station is 4kms away and it has very limited parking spots which is taken up by 7am weekdays.

I can feel the population growth especially for the last 1.5 years. Most bus services to Melbourne cbd during peak hours are running full by the time they reach our stop and the bus driver don't stop at our stop to take passengers.

Sometimes, we're forced to wait for 30-35 minutes at the stop in the morning which is frustrating.

I tried cycling to the train station but by the time I reach the station in the peak hour traffic it takes around 20-25 minutes uphill and to find place to lock the bike and to go to the other side of the platform. Too much effort for saving 5 or 10 minutes max.

I'm thinking of motorcycle as the alternative to save time but not sure if it is really worth it.

Pros:
1) Convenience, I can choose when to leave home or work.
2) Save time and put it for good use.

Cons:
1) Risk associated with riding on the Freeway.
2) Cost of purchase, running cost, maintenance costs, insurance & rego.

Is it really worth it? What're your thoughts?

Poll Options

  • 44
    Yes
  • 3
    No

Comments

  • See I used to be super keen to get a bike license and a road bike but after watching a few of these Dashcam compilations and seeing the mouthbreathers operating a ton or more of steel all around you I think I'll pass.

    • As a rider, those motorbike crashes make me flinch everytime. When you've been riding for a couple of years you develop a sixth sense from all your experience. It tells you when someone is about to try and kill you. Hopefully you have time to react. I would also recommend against ever going on a freeway unless you have to.

    • Yeah. The problem with riding a motorbike is that you're at the mercy of everyone else in 2-tonne metal boxes around you. There's only so much you can do yourself to stay safe, and I wouldn't want my health and safety to be up to others.

  • On a money side of things it is worth it, especially if you go under 300cc you get a rego discount.

    But please wear the right gear and don't go on the freeway until you have a couple of months experience (maybe just ride to the train station, there's probably dedicated motorcycle parking). Only you can decide if the risk is worth it. The risk is definitely there. I've only been in one accident, broke my wrist, could have been worse. Since I've learned to drive I don't ride often (only when partner needs to go somewhere different to me).

    If there is dedicated motorcycle parking at the station, consider going just a little 50cc postie bike. Wouldn't cost more than a few hundred each year in rego, third party insurance, servicing (could do it yourself) and petrol. An old postie bike would only set you back a few hundred to buy, too.

    • The classic postie bike is a CT110 (like most bikes, a bit weirdly named because it's not a 110cc engine), and you can definitely get them from an auction very cheap.
      The biggest downside being that you really can't take them out on a highway as they'll max out at about 80km/h… downhill… with a tailwind.

  • I tried very hard to come up with a similar troll post but I couldn't

    You got a lot to learn, mate.

  • Take an electric bike to the station. Perfect for the hills.

  • move to the bush, very little traffic…..
    .

  • Hell yeah its worth it. Free parking on every sidewalk in the city!

    Cost of having a motorcycle is low compared to public transport.. Theres just a high setup cost..
    When you take into consideration the fact that you save so much time getting places vs public transport its totally worth it.

    There's not an awful lot that can go wrong in terms of safety whilst you're plodding around the city - out in the country its a different story but the city is fine.

    • There is still a reasonable risk in the city, probably more than there has been in years with the number of phone distracted drivers. If you learn to ride defensively you can reduce that risk significantly though - assume you are invisible and plan the other driver doesn’t know you are there.

  • How about one of those electric scooters? I think they're called ninebot and cost around $500. Could take that to the station and fold it up on the train, or something similar. There's probably new and improved models out by now.

  • I commute to work a couple of days per week on my motorbike in Melbourne. Same journey that takes me anywhere from 30-60 mins in the car is consistently under 30 mins on the bike. Never any parking problems either :D

    You need to learn to ride defensively and with a degree of confidence and competence before you attempt riding in traffic (particularly for lane filtering). So just be aware if you haven't rode before it's something you need to put time and practice into to stay safe, not something you just jump on and do.

    Gear is a must, have seen the result of having an accident while not wearing gear on a friend of mine…

  • Yes, although be warned that if you go for a larger bike it'll probably save you time, but not money.

    You don't have to deal with the stresses of being stuck in long queues of traffic or having to search for parking, but there's always the ever-present possibility that some numpty will flatten you while they're posting to facebook at 80kph, so there's that.

  • Please consider how much money even a relatively minor accident that makes you miss a few days of work might cost you. Just money-wise, not even looking at potential long-term health.

  • My view is yes. I was thinking along your lines when I just bought a bike and started commuting to work on a bike.

    The train line I travel on is shutting down for 7 months ( I am anticipating a year) and the only solution sydney rail can see is adding 120 buses to already clogged roads.

    I have been riding now for two weeks and here are some indicative costs:

    1. HART course (NSW) :$92 +RTA cost (dkt+ new license card) ~$100
    2. LAMS bike cost $3500-$6000
    3. Riding gear (new) Jacket+helmet+jeans+pants+shoes+gloves ~$1000-$1200
    4. Rego,CTP+Insurance ~$1000-$1200
    5. Potential service ~$500
    6. Weekly running cost - $10-$15

    My commute into work door to door on public transport takes me between 50 mins to an hour. On the bike it is about 40-45 mins. So it's not a massive difference but driving on the same route at the same time will take me 80-100 mins.

    Hope that helps and happy to answer any questions.

    • $1k just on yearly fees is a bust for me

      i thought some states had cheap fees for sub 150cc??

  • Public transports are not reliable in aus

  • As others have touched on, in Melb, motorcycles can park on the footpath for free(just make sure you're not blocking anything and follow the guidelines). so you can park right outside your work place for free, unless there are signs prohibiting you to do so.

    What do you usually do when you're on the bus or waiting for the bus? although you will save travel time if on a bike, the time you ride on the bike, you can't multi-tasks, Riding safely requires your full attention and concentration. So you can't catch up on stuff as you could when riding a bus.

    Making sure you always wear the full protective gear, this adds additional time to factor in, also riding in the rain sucks.

    I may have highlighted more negatives than positive to riding, but I still voted Yes, cause I think it will be worth it, but you just need to factor in a few more things you won't realised until you do it.

  • Electric bikes are the cost effective alternative. Just don't buy one on the internet sight unseen.

  • I've commuted daily by motorcycle for four years, following ten years of bicycle/public transport. For clarity, in Adelaide, commuting over approximately 14,000 KM .

    Pros of motorcycle commuting 5-20 KM each way (have lived in multiple properties over the period);
    Time saved; average commute time was half that of colleagues commuting by car. Adding in the time it took to gear up & de-gear at the other end, still took only 55-60% of the time it would otherwise take.
    Convenience of parking, even in a city with minimal motorcycle parking & no sidewalk parking allowed - just ride around the boom gate in unmanned parking structures, and park non-dickishly.
    Extremely fun I commute with noise-cancelling earphones (still able to hear cars/horns etc, but exhaust drone and wind noise mitigated), listening to podcasts or music through Spotify. Even a slow/LAMS bike will be quicker than most cars, so for a minimal buy-in cost you have a commuter AND the equivalent of a 'fun car' if you discover you enjoy riding.

    Cons of motorcycle commuting;
    Buy-in cost; $6k for vehicle, $500-ish for getting the license, $1000 per year in insurance, $2000 in gear ($500-$1k helmet, remainder in various textile/waterproof gear for winter & mesh for summer), approx $400 servicing a year. If you discover you like riding and go towards the performance end of the continuum, $1k services/tires every 6000 km can become the norm.
    Risk; I have covered approximately 40,000 kms of recreational riding (hills, road trips, track days etc) and 14,000 kms of commuting. I've had four accidents; two not at-fault while commuting (write-off of vehicle each time) and two while recreational riding (head-on crash with another bike that ran into my lane in a blind corner writing off the bike, and hit a roo at 80). Zero injuries. ABS would have mitigated/avoided all four accidents. I have taken four sick days due to these accidents (stuck in the hospital getting checked over into the early hours of the morning).

    Overall (and keep in mind this is excessive due to chasing performance), those 65,000 KMS have set me back around $35,000 (roughly including fuel). More expensive than commuting by car/public transport, but each day rather than sitting in a car stuck in traffic or waiting for the (unreliable) bus, I'm spending time switched-on and enjoying the sights and smells. Until it was written off, I was commuting on a superbike with almost identical acceleration to a Bugatti Veyron - the bike cost the same amount as my wife's second-hand Yaris.

    • Is commuting on a bike with noise cancelling headphones really that safe? You say you can hear cars but when I use them I can barely hear train/car sounds, if anything thats the thing they are best at blocking out…

      • Generally, yes. You're in wind blast (put your head out of the window of your car at 60/80/110 and see which sense is dominant), and nearly all dangers are sudden (car turning right across your path of travel/failure to yield) appearance. You keep your head on a swivel monitoring all sides, checking cross-roads etc.

        Even over cranking music, you can hear car horns/sirens/engines revving - I had a car nearly rear-end me a while back (stationary in traffic, driver on phone not watching the road until too late, tire lockup) and had no issue hearing the panic breaking behind me and moving in between the two stationary vehicles in front. Relying heavily on eyesight protects you from the majority of the common dangers (you hear no difference in a car's engine note when they fail to check their blind spot and start to merge over into you, et al).

  • In the warmer months I commute via motorcycle almost everyday. Yes there are risks associated with bikes but it is worth the outcome. It's about 20mins quicker (for me anyways - for Sydney-Siders, m4 + m5 traffic). Free Parking as motorcycles can get around boom gates. Low Fuel (approx $15 = 250kms) + Rego ($300 approx) + Insurance ($400 approx 27yo/P plate).

    Just be extra vigilant on the roads as most drivers dont check blind spots and don't realise the road rules of motorcycles (e.g. bus lanes/t2 lanes etc)