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Sunday September the 22nd is World Car Free Day. Haven’t heard of it before? Well! Find out more about it here:
So what is World Car Free Day? I realise the jist of it seems pretty simple but what are the details? Well, the whole objective of this day is for a number of cities around the world to close their centres to cars. This is to highlight environmental issues and so people can reflect on what their city would look like with a lot fewer cars, and what might be needed to make this happen. Advocates claim that over 100 million people in 1,500 cities celebrate International Car-Free Day, on days and in ways of their choice. This will be the 19th year of World Car Free Day on this date and this worldwide day is growing every year.
Obviously the premise of this day is to highlight the environmental issues caused by cars, but as bikers you could also mark this event by just choosing to go on your motorbike for one day rather than your car. In the UK London mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans for a London Car Free Day with lots of measures in place to ensure car-free areas.
In 2016 37.3 million vehicles were licenced on UK roads. Only 1.11 Million of these were motorcycles. The chances are a high percentage of bikers also own a car so for a lot of you this will be a choice you can make!
So is a bike better for the environment than a car? Well, Greenchoices.com looked into this and stated the following:
- Less pressure on transport infrastructure than cars, as each vehicle needs less road space and less parking space, and is easily moved out of the way if it breaks down.
- Reducing commuter congestion – 85% of commuter vehicles carry only one person.
- Embodied costs are lower – building a low-capacity motorbike takes around one-seventh of the resources needed to build a car.
- Bikes also tend to last longer than cars, because they don’t have all that rust-prone bodywork.
- More efficient round town as they are less slowed down by congestion.
- Motorcycle emissions are generally lower than car emissions.
- Generally speaking, bikes use less fuel than cars – 55-81% less according to one 1992 study.
- Fuel consumption is of course greater for power-hungry superbikes (similar to the fuel consumption of small cars), and riding style can alter the figures enormously.
- Bikes have a reputation for being dangerous. Statistics in fact suggest that motorbikes are less dangerous for other people than cars, and not as dangerous for the bikers themselves as is often thought.
- Bikes can be a lot of fun, as well. This either means that they perform two functions at once – pleasure and transport – or that they lead to a whole lot of unnecessary burning of fossil fuels. It all depends on the biker!
- Electric Motorcycles are starting to be real alternative to petrol bikes.
Now, surely this means ditching the car for a day and commuting on your bike to highlight a great cause is just a little more tempting?
Here is something else to maybe tempt you to switch for this day, and maybe even more! MoneySupermarket has analysed the potential running costs savings on offer to motorists if they were to switch from a car to a motorbike, focusing on a new Vauxhall Corsa, compared to a BMW R 1200 GS bike – which in my opinion is a bit of a strange comparison. If anything the car should be a bit more powerful to actually be a more fair comparison! Anyway…. I digress…
Moneysupermarket.com stated that “the Vauxhall Corsa costs £13,030 to buy, compared to £9,295 for the BMW bike, representing a saving of more than £3,700 on the initial cost alone. Insurance costs are also cheaper for the motorbike, with the average motorbike insurance premium for the BMW 2-wheeler coming in at £210.49, compared to £478 for the car. However, car and motorcycle insurance premiums will vary widely depending on your individual circumstances, so always compare quotes from a wide range of different insurers before buying.
Motorbike riders save on fuel too compared to their car-driving counterparts. The BMW bike does 43.8 miles per gallon (mpg). That means, based on driving 10,000 miles a year with a fuel cost of 139.0p per litre, annual fuel costs would be £1,443. In comparison, the Vauxhall Corsa does 39.8 mpg, so driving the same number of miles would set you back £1,588 in fuel costs over the year.
However, cars prove the winners when it comes to breakdown cover, with the average comprehensive motorbike breakdown policy costing £74.50, nearly £15 more than the £58.85 car breakdown policy. But bikes are much cheaper to tax. Road tax for the BMW bike would cost just £16, whereas Vauxhall Corsa drivers would have to fork out a hefty £110.
Overall, the total cost of the motorbike would be £11,039, with running costs of £1,743.70, compared to the £15,265 cost for the car, with running costs of £2,234.56. That means the total potential saving from choosing a motorbike rather than a car is a massive £4,226.”
This also doesn’t mention the time saved on journeys! Cruising past traffic jams on your bike on motorcycle lanes on the motorway or riding past congestion in town centres is another massive advantage to motorcycles. If World Car Free Day becomes more popular each year then just think how clear the roads will be! Just like the first few days of the school holidays on the commute to work!
Obviously World Car Free Day falls on a Sunday but maybe the idea of swapping to your motorcycle appeals for more days of the week? Maybe even for commuting? Here are some clothing ideas to make commuting easy:
The Frank Thomas Reflector jacket is available in two colour ways and in mens and ladies sizes. This is lightweight yet warm with armour for added protection and this is 100% waterproof to keep you dry on your way to work!
Lightweight, yet highly durable and versatile for all weathers, the Frank Thomas Reflector pants are waterproof and armoured – ideal for over your work clothes!
The Frank Thomas JT09 Tank Bag is big enough to fit a change of clothes in to but is compact enough to not be cumbersome on the ride to work.
Available in two colours, the BKS Tornado WP boots are not only waterproof but can also double as a smart boot – ideal for commuting!
The Frank Thomas DV06 modular helmet is a flip-front helmet available in an array of colours and designs – ideal for rush hour traffic with the flip facility. Very comfortable and this has a handy integrated sun visor.
Also, budgetdirect.com wrote a blog on 8 reasons to ditch your car for a motorcycle and even came up with a health benefit! They state “A 70kg motorcycle rider will burn an average of 170 calories during a one hour ride – roughly 40 calories more than the same rider would burn by driving a car for one hour. Plus, riding a motorcycle engages far more muscle groups than driving, giving you a great, full body workout.
With all these plus points to riding a motorcycle you may want to ditch the car for good! Think it over, give World Car Free Day a try, who knows? You may decide to do it more often than once a year? Its food for thought anyway!
Until next time, stay safe,