A commute on a motorcycle, or a vehicle with an engine bigger than 150 cubic centimeters and no more than three wheels, is an energizing way to start (and end) the day. You’ll want to make sure you have the right gear, like sufficient body protection, ample storage, and a properly maintained bike (for maximum safety and riding enjoyment). Motor scooters (defined as a vehicle with an engine smaller than 150 ccs) are also included in our list:
Pros: Motorcycles are less expensive than cars. They use less fuel, and they’re easier to park. Plus, they’re fun to ride.
Cons: Maintenance and replacement parts tend to be more expensive and needed more frequently than with cars. In general, motorcycles are more dangerous than cars, and riding, especially in the elements, takes experience and practice.
Insurance requirements: Almost all states have a minimum liability insurance requirement for motorcycles and motor scooters with engines at least 50ccs or more and with a max speed of at least 30 mph or higher. The only states that don’t have minimum liability insurance requirements are Florida, Montana, New Hampshire, and Washington, but even in these states motorcycle drivers still usually have to prove they could cover damages if necessary.
Insurance pricing: Many companies that sell insurance for motorcycles and motor scooters (which are insured under motorcycle policies) offer a state minimum policy for under $100 a year. Neil explains that minimum coverage is often so inexpensive because it would only cover the other party in the event of a wreck (not the motorcycle owner), and when a motorcycle and another vehicle collide, the other vehicle (a car, truck, etc.) isn’t likely to sustain much damage. Insuring your bike against damage or yourself against injury, however, is likely to be expensive.
Motorcycles are much more easily stolen than cars, much more likely to be totaled in a wreck than a car, and they don’t wrap their riders in a protective enclosure like a car, making them a unique risk for insurance companies. Rates can be comparable to that of an automobile when additional coverage is added. Also, both motorcycle and motor scooter insurance rates are heavily weighed on the performance of the bike, so owners of better quality bikes might get better insurance rates.
Insurance recommendations: Riders should carry medical coverage on their bike policy even if it isn’t required by the state because it’s really easy to be injured in a crash. And, most medical policies for bikes aren’t subject to deductibles (like health insurance policies are). If you finance a motorcycle, explains Neil, your bank will most likely require you to carry comprehensive and collision (just like if you were financing a car).
Rules of the road: Even if you have a valid U.S. driver’s license, you might need a separate motorcycle license or an additional classification on your license. (AAA has a comprehensive list of state-by-state requirements). There are some specific motorcycle laws you should be aware of too, which of course vary by state. See this state-by-state guide to find out whether you’re required to wear a helmet (and what type), if lane splitting is allowed (and when), in your home state.
Price range: Motorcycle enthusiasts and experts recommend, “tall, slim ‘Adventure’ bikes as great commuting partners,” writes Forbes, ranging in price from $6,500-$18,000. For more general motorcycle options (that still kill it), Popular Mechanics has a list, ranging in price from $4,719 to $14,899 (for, what else, a Harley). And for commuter-specific bikes, check out this list of 10 from Gear Patrol, ranging in price from $3,199 to $9,895.