You may have heard the long-running online debate about whether motorcycles cost less than cars once you account for everything associated with them. Motorcycles will cost you less than a car to buy, insure, and maintain for most models and riders.

Knowing that motorcycles provide a less expensive alternative to cars, the next question is — are motorcycles worth the cost?

Continue reading for an overview of costs associated with motorcycle ownership and whether the benefits of a motorcycle justify its cost.

Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Motorcycle Ownership

Asking if something is “worth it” injects some value judgments into the answer. For some people, motorcycles are fun. That fun provides value to those people. Some people are terrified of motorcycles. For them, motorcycles are not worth it at any cost.

But you can compare some costs objectively. Each person can then evaluate whether those costs justify motorcycle ownership based on their personal preferences.

Some costs associated with motorcycle ownership include:

Buying the Motorcycle

You can buy a motorcycle for significantly less than a car. 

For a motorcycle from the major manufacturers with no customization, you can expect to pay:

  • $5,000-$17,000 for a street motorcycle
  • $4,000-$21,000 for a cruiser motorcycle
  • $5,000-$30,000 for a sports motorcycle
  • $18,000-$30,000 for a touring motorcycle

For comparison, compact cars sell for between $20,000 for a Kia and $74,000 for a Mercedes. If you consider a Toyota Prius an average car, it sells for about $30,000. Thus, the average compact car costs as much as a high-end motorcycle.


Motorcycles have a much lower likelihood of being involved in a motorcycle accident than cars have of getting into a car accident. Motorcycle accidents only accounted for about 1% of South Carolina’s traffic accidents in 2019. But motorcycles make up about 8% of the vehicles registered in the state.

As a result, motorcycles are much less expensive to insure than passenger vehicles. The average motorcycle owner pays about $30 per month for motorcycle insurance. The average car owner pays about $50 per month for car insurance. 

But bear in mind that your age, credit history, driving history, and location will affect how much you pay for insurance.

Protective Equipment

South Carolina riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. Riders and passengers under 21 must also wear eye protection unless the motorcycle has a windscreen. Basic motorcycle helmets usually cost between $100 and $200. If you buy a motorcycle helmet with a face shield, you also meet the requirements for eye protection.

Maintenance, Repairs, and Fuel

Maintenance and repairs are usually more expensive for motorcycles than cars. Motorcycle parts usually do not last as long as car parts and cost more. For example, motorcycle tires usually cost two to three times more than car tires and do not last as long.

On the other hand, motorcycles have much more fuel-efficient engines than cars. The average motorcycle can run for about 35-40 miles per gallon. A compact car gets around 30 miles per gallon.

Risk of Injury

The risk of injury is much higher with motorcycles than with cars. A motorcyclist is 29 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than a car driver.

In South Carolina, you had a 72% chance of walking away from a car accident uninjured in 2019. That same year, you only had a 19% chance of walking away from a motorcycle accident without injury. This means your chances of getting injured in a motorcycle accident were about 3.5 times higher.

Are Motorcycles Worth Their Costs?

No one can tell you whether a motorcycle is worth its cost. You have to decide for yourself. But you need to understand where the costs come from. 

Although you can generally buy, maintain, and insure a motorcycle for less than a car, you also have a much higher chance of suffering injury or death if you get into a motorcycle accident. For some, this risk far outweighs the lower monetary costs.

Contact the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today

For more information, please contact the Motorcycle Accident lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and it’s surrounding areas:

Hawk Law Group – Augusta, GA
338 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901, United States
(706) 722-3500

Hawk Law Group – Evans, GA
4384 River Watch Pkwy, Evans, GA 30809, United States
(706) 863-6500

Hawk Law Group – Thomson, GA
146 Railroad St A, Thomson, GA 30824, United States
(706) 361-0350

Hawk Law Group – Waynesboro, GA
827 Liberty St, Waynesboro, GA 30830, United States
(706) 437-9122

Hawk Law Group – Aiken County, SC
156 Laurens St NW, Aiken, SC 29801, United States
(803) 226-9089

We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.