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Higher gas prices fuel interest in motorcycle riding

Posted July 2, 2008

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— As fuel prices keep climbing, people are steering towards something smaller and more open. Motorcycle safety classes are filling up, as folks opt to roll on two wheels – rather than four.

“I think if more people rode motorcycles, scooters ... one it's going to help the environment. Two you're going to save on gas,” motorcycle rider Patrick McNair said.

McNair recently completed his motorcycle safety training at Johnston County Community College.

“We have seen an increase in our motorcycle classes. The classes are filling up rather quickly,” said Talbert Myers, with Johnston County Community College.

Myers said students are now signing up months in advance for motorcycle classes.

“The increase may be due to an increase in gas prices,” Myers added.

While enrollment in the motorcycle course is going up, on the very same campus, enrollment in the truck driver training program appears to be going down.

“It easily could be attributed to the higher cost of gasoline,” said Paul Jump, with the North Carolina Truck Driver Training School.

Jump said he has seen a sharp decline this spring and summer in truck driver class enrollment.

“The first two classes of this year were over enrolled. ... The last two classes, they are under enrolled,” he said.

Instructors said some of the enrollment decline may not be about fuel prices, but rather the cost of getting to class.

A slight decline in non-essential or personal interest classes has also been noted as fuel prices increase.

9 Comments

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  • carolinakhaki Jul 3, 2008

    "I see motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic trying to get ahead of everyone else. Sure I'll cut them off when I get the chance."

    Bet you end up with a lot of boot prints on your car door with that mentality, too.

  • doodad Jul 3, 2008

    I'll gladly pay 4 bucks for gas before I staddle one of those death traps. Auto drivers do no regard motorcycles as vehicles and run over you. Motorcycles have a tendency to get in blind spots on vehicles.

  • boingc Jul 3, 2008

    "Here's the lowdown from someone in the know... What you will save on gas by riding a M/C is insignificant compared with what you will spend on M/C insurance, maintenance, etc. (ex. did you know that if you get 10K out of a set of M/C tires you've done good - and it's $400-$600 for a new set installed?)."

    That's not the case if you get a more economical bike for commuting purposes. I picked up an 86 Honda this spring, and my insurance went up a whopping $9 per month. Also, maintaince can be pretty cheap if you do it yourself. I replaced my front brake pads with a good set of new ones for...$30. Sport bike tires are much more expensive than tires for cruisers -- a new set of tires for me runs less than $200. Oil change...cheaper because you use less oil. Really, if you're willing to follow the service manual you can do most stuff yourself, and that's half the fun! Plus, I'm getting 50-60 mpg.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 3, 2008

    Seriously?! I see motorcycles change lanes and drive like everyone else. They may look like they are weaving because of the body lean. But even for the ones that do, is it worth risking killing someone?!

  • DurhamDude Jul 3, 2008

    I see motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic trying to get ahead of everyone else. Sure I'll cut them off when I get the chance.

  • numbersfan Jul 3, 2008

    Motorcycle insurence is high because of inconsiderate cars always trying to run us off the road! The payout is higher because a lot of the times its a bodily injury claim. Watch where you are doing people. (this is directed to you lady this morning who sped up so I couldnt merge onto 147 then had to slam on the brakes so you didnt ram into the rear end of the suv in front of you)

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 3, 2008

    That's good advice. Too often people spend $10 to save $2.

    I'm not sure I trust there trend on truck drivers, 2 quarters doesn't seem like enough to go on. Just in case, maybe the truck driver instructors should get qualified to teach the motorcycle course. Diversification.

  • supes Jul 3, 2008

    Most insurance companies set their motorcycle rates by the displacement of the motor and the type of bike that it is. The bigger and sportier the bike, the more you pay. Tires don't last long, especially on a sport bike and they can be pricey, but if you stick to more mundane machines, you can get a set for less than $300 installed. I have one care and 2 sport bikes, and the bit of advice I will pass along to anyone considering purchasing a motorcycle or scooter to save on gas is to get comfortable doing your own routine maintenance.
    Owning a motorcycle is like owning a car was 25 years ago. Most shops do not have a comfy waiting area with popcorn, or a shuttle service so getting your bike in for service is tricky. It's also far more economical to get the maintenance guide and do the work yourself.
    That said, it is a lot more fun to travel on 2 wheels. Take that safety class, wear proper gear and get out there.

  • Z Man Jul 3, 2008

    I have 2 bikes and 2 cars for myself. My insurance man must think I'm a decendant of Hudini because the price to insure all 4 as a whole is only slightly less than to insure each separately. I still have not determined how I can ride both bikes and drive both cars SIMULTANEOUSLY - but reading my State Farm bill it's obvious they insists I can!

    Here's the lowdown from someone in the know... What you will save on gas by riding a M/C is insignificant compared with what you will spend on M/C insurance, maintenance, etc. (ex. did you know that if you get 10K out of a set of M/C tires you've done good - and it's $400-$600 for a new set installed?).

    If the insurance industry would insure THE PERSON and not THE VEHICLE, then riding a M/C could be a good economic alternative. But like any industry, they're not going to implement changes that would hurt their bottom line.

    One other point (and the reason I still have all these vehicles)... M/Cs are fun!!!