According to new figures from the Driving Standards Agency, the number of 17 year olds taking driving tests has fallen by more than 15% in the past three years. Hardly surprising with the rising cost of petrol and insurance. In the past year, drivers have been hit by an average 40 per cent increase in car insurance premiums. In contrast there’s been a 17% increase in people taking the motorcycling CBT (compulsory basic training) in the past year.
“More and more people are looking at the cost of driving a car and seeing they can save thousands by riding a motorcycle instead,” says Miles Taylor, campaign director at motorcycle industry group Get On. Scooters and 125cc models in particular are growing in popularity.
“The premium for a 125cc motorcycle is often less than a quarter of that for a car,” says Robert Balls, of specialist motorcycle insurance broker Bikesure. “When you add in lower fuel costs and cheaper road tax you can see why for some teenagers it’s the only way they can afford their own transport, even if they have passed their driving test.” Robert says his company are seeing more teenagers sticking with their motorcycles, or even selling their cars and coming back to bikes.
If you’re considering a motorbike rather than a car, here’s some things to bear in mind:
- There’s still a perception that motorbikes are more dangerous, but safety has improved in recent years with features like ABS and traction control on some bikes, and new modern tyres
- Fuel economy of motorbikes is up to four times that of a car but you haven’t got room for luggage or a supermarket shop
- You can enjoy the freedom of the open air, but then again there’s no heating or air conditioning
- Parking is easier, but you can’t fall off a car
Whatever you decide, it’s always worth getting several insurance quotes and try and find brokers who specialise in policies for your age. It can be worth searching online but phone operators can negotiate on a quote, so do tell them what else you have been quoted in case you can get a better deal. They want your business, remember.