When you approach the age you can get out on the road, you might immediately think about learning to drive a car. Many people learn at age 17 or 18, instead of putting it off until later. However, there’s another option you might consider, especially if you only want to get yourself from A to B. Learning to ride a motorbike or scooter is a second possibility that you might want to think about. Maybe you think that driving lessons might be too expensive, or you just don’t need a car right now. If you want to work out whether it’s best for you to learn to drive or ride, you can compare a few different factors to work out which one could work for you.
When You Can Learn
The first thing that’s worth considering is when you can learn to either drive or ride a motorbike or moped. You can apply for a provisional license when you’re 15 and 9 months old, but you can’t yet drive a car. Apart from some people who receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP), you need to be 17 to drive a car. However, you can ride a number of mopeds at age 16 and light motorcycles and tricycles at 17. You do have to wait until you’re 19 to ride a standard motorcycle up to 35kW and after that either 21 or 24 to ride a motorcycle of any power, depending on whether you already own a motorcycle license. So there’s no exact answer to whether driving or riding is best when it comes to learning age.
Ease of Learning and Getting a Licence
But what about how easy it is to learn and to pass your test? Both bike riders and drivers need to pass the same theory test. However, the process of learning and taking a test is different. While learner drivers need to have a licensed driver in the car with them at all times, that’s not exactly possible for riders. Instead, they must take the compulsory basic training (CBT) course before they can go on the roads. This gives you permission to ride with learner plates. You could have an instructor ride with you for official lessons, take an intensive course, or simply practice on your own before taking the practical test. Drivers can pay for lessons from an instructor or have a licensed driver who is friend or family member help them. Both options will get you on the road quickly, but only riding a motorbike or moped gives you independence right away.
The cost of learning to drive or ride, as well as owning a vehicle, are important to consider too. Everyone needs to pay for a provisional license and for their tests, but riders also need to pay for a CBT course, which costs around £130. Learning to drive can be pretty expensive if you hire an instructor, but learning to ride isn’t exactly cheap either. You could still pay a good £800 or £900 for an intensive course. Then there’s the cost of buying a vehicle. However, with both cars and scooters, you can set the budget and find something that suits you. If you’re thinking about where to buy a scooter, don’t discount buying online and even looking at auction sites. The same goes for cars, especially as you probably only want a used one for your first. Regarding running your vehicle though, don’t forget about tax, fuel, and insurance. A car could end up costing you a lot more than a motorbike or moped.
So which one is your best option for actually getting around? Well, there’s one advantage with a scooter or motorbike, and that’s that you can weave through traffic if you want to. Your vehicle is small and light, so you can often even put it in the back of a car. However, there is only room for you when you when you’re learning. Once you’ve got your learner plates off, you can take someone else along for the ride. In a car, of course, you must have someone with you while learning, which can make it hard to drive anywhere before getting your license. Once you’ve passed your test, though, the only thing limiting you is the size of your car.
There are other factors to consider, such as safety and, if you’re planning on both driving and riding, which it’s best to do first. But these top considerations will help you start deciding which is right for you.