Is a Motorcycle Better Than a Car for a College Student?

For college students trying to get around campus and town on a budget, the choice between buying a car or a motorcycle can be a tough one. Both have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to factors like cost, parking, safety, and more. When deliberating between a motorcycle and a car for college commuting, factors such as weather conditions, parking availability, and safety concerns should be carefully weighed, and UK custom essays can offer insights into this decision-making process.

Here's a detailed comparison of cars versus motorcycles for college students to help weigh the pros and cons.

Cost Comparison

When evaluating the cost of a car versus a motorcycle, there are both upfront and ongoing expenses to consider.

In terms of upfront costs, motorcycles tend to be significantly cheaper than cars. An entry-level motorcycle can be purchased for $4,000 to $6,000 while a basic used car will start around $8,000 for older, high mileage models. With a motorcycle, you avoid car expenses like A/C, stereo, expansive safety features, and four doors.

However, ongoing motorcycle costs can add up through higher insurance rates, frequent tire replacements, and required gear like helmets and jackets. Bikes also tend to get worse gas mileage than compact sedans.

Overall, a motorcycle will likely be cheaper especially in the first couple years of ownership, but ongoing costs must be carefully weighed.

Parking and Commuting

black motorcycle parked

For college students constantly on the go between classes and campus activities, parking and navigating congested streets can be a headache in a car.

This is an area where motorcycles have a clear advantage. Motorcycle parking is more plentiful on crowded campuses, with designated spots located closer to classrooms than car parking. Lane splitting and filtering through traffic jams is legal in many states as well.

Commuting times can be cut significantly on a motorcycle, which is very advantageous when you need to get across a large campus in only 10 minutes between classes. Riding eliminates hunting for a spot and circling lots.

Safety and Insurance

When contemplating the practicality of a motorcycle versus a car for college transportation, it's essential to consider factors like reliability, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs, with resources such as offering valuable perspectives on this matter.

Safety and insurance are critical factors to weigh, as motorcycles come with far more risk than a car. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die in an accident per mile traveled compared to car occupants.

Insurance rates for motorcycles are therefore quite high for young riders. The minimum liability insurance required by law will run several times more per year compared to insuring a car. Collision and comprehensive coverage will also be higher if you want protection against bike theft and damage.

Riding gear like helmets and protective clothing is a must to improve safety margins on a motorcycle. Proper licensing and training courses are also advised to handle the power and nuances of operating a two-wheeler safely.

Carrying Capacity

red sedan parked on the side of the road

For college students who need to lug around books, laptops, sports equipment, and other daily essentials, a car provides much more carrying capacity and protection from the elements. With bikes, options are limited to using small storage compartments or wearing backpacks while riding.

Hauling larger items like mini-fridges, furniture, or boxes of belongings to and from dorm rooms is also impractical with a motorcycle.

However, if you don't anticipate needing to transport more than can fit in a backpack, capacity may not be a major factor.

Fun, Freedom, and Convenience

While cars certainly have their benefits for college students, one clear advantage of motorcycles is the fun and sense of freedom they provide.

Riding an open-air bike around campus or cruising around town on nice days is an exhilarating experience.

Motorcycles also provide convenience benefits like nimble handling, quick acceleration, and easy access to parking spots that can make commuting to class more enjoyable. You'll avoid burning gas while searching packed parking lots in your car.

For students in mostly urban environments, a motorcycle can be an appealing over cars when factoring the lower costs and ability to more easily navigate tight spaces.

The Verdict

In the car versus motorcycle debate for college students, there are convincing arguments on both sides. For city dwellers focused purely on commuting from their apartment to classes across campus, a motorcycle has compelling advantages thanks to lower costs, ample parking, and the ability to filter through traffic.

However, students with longer commutes, the need to transport more cargo, or major safety concerns may find a compact used car that better suits their needs. The choice ultimately depends on your specific situation and priorities. Weigh the trade-offs in cost, safety, parking, capacity, and convenience mindfully before choosing which is the better option for your needs.

Key Factors to Consider

When deciding between a car or motorcycle for a college student, there are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Budget: Motorcycles have lower upfront costs but potentially higher ongoing expenses. Compare insurance rates, gas mileage, and gear costs.
  • Commuting Needs: Motorcycles allow easier parking and filtering through traffic but limit cargo capacity.
  • Safety and Training: Motorcycles carry much higher risk. Proper licensing, training, and gear are essential.
  • Fun and Convenience: Motorcycles can provide an exciting riding experience and agile urban commuting.
  • Lifestyle and Priorities: Consider how a car or motorcycle fits your daily needs as a college student based on commute, cargo needs, parking, etc.

    Car vs Motorcycle Pros and Cons

    Motorcycle Pros

    •     Cheaper purchase price and registration costs
    •     Better gas mileage
    •     Easier parking on campus
    •     Ability to filter through traffic
    •     Exciting riding experience

    Motorcycle Cons

    •     Higher insurance rates
    •     More expensive tire/maintenance costs
    •     Increased risk and safety requirements
    •     Less cargo capacity
    •     Exposed to elements

    Car Pros

    •     More protection in collisions
    •     Space for passengers and cargo
    •     Comfort features like A/C
    •     More stable handling in poor weather

    Car Cons

    •     Higher upfront purchase price
    •     Worse gas mileage
    •     Harder to find parking on campus
    •     Stuck in traffic jams
    •     Not as exciting to drive

    Buying Considerations for Each Option

    What to Look for in a Used Car

    •     Fuel-efficient compact or subcompact sedan
    •     Reasonable mileage based on age
    •     Service records if possible
    •     Good condition tires and battery
    •     Clean accident history in the Carfax report

    What to Look for in a Used Motorcycle

    •     250-500cc engine good for new riders
    •     Japanese brand known for reliability
    •     Low miles relative to age
    •     Evidence of proper maintenance
    •     Clean title without salvage history

    Final Verdict

    While motorcycles have compelling advantages for college commuters focused on low cost transportation around campus, cars are likely the smarter choice for those with longer commutes, the need to transport more cargo, or major safety concerns. Think critically about your specific situation and needs before choosing the better option for you. Ride safely and travel wisely!

    Author - Olivia Poglianich
    Olivia Poglianich          

    Content Strategist

    Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the motorcycling and adventure space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


    Just added to your cart:
    Excl. postage 
    My Bag
    Just added to your wishlist:
    Excl. postage 
    My Wishlist

    We offer FREE shipping worldwide - super reliable with full online tracking. Goods are sent directly from the manuacturer's warehouse which is why we are able to offer such low prices with included shipping.

    Dudes! Are you really asking that? Ok, we et it there are alot of dodgy folks online these days trying to make a quick buck. But now, we have put our heart and soul into Rugged Motorbike Jeans and scamming is the last thing on our mind. We are a small team of bikers, generally adventuring around on our various bikes (supermoto's, adventure, naked street and enduro bikes). If you email us you will generally get our CEO Sam or one of our other support staff who love the motorcycle community and are a part of it wherever we go. Everything is legit as soon as you make an order, it is processed immediately and on the way to you.

    Yes & No. We sell a wide range of pants which DO have protective knee and hip pads and are suitable for motorcycle riding AND we also sell biker style jeans and pants which, although are all made of durable tough material are not certified for safety and do not have the protective padding needed in case you do get a little too throttle heavy and lay your bike down (we have all been there and done that!). Please check each product and contact us if you have any questions on this.

    Since we offer a wide range from various manufacturers, they all have their own sizing per brand. However there is a sizing chart on each product page, look for the tab just above the description or the size chart link on the right side, or email us and we can recommend the size for you.

    PLEASE NOTE : the size charts are taken directly from the manufacturer and the length is incorrect on some, the length is generally a standard length based on the waist size (waist size is correct on all size charts).

    Typically the standard FREE shipping (which has full online track and trace) takes anywhere from 7 to 40 days, depending on your country. We also offer an expedited shipping service for a low fee of $4.95. Please see the shipping page for more detailed info.


    Please contact us at or chat live to us at the bottom of the screen!

    Spin to win Spinner icon