The Hard Road for Motorcyclists
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UPDATED: Nov 7, 2012
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Motorcyclists are a tough breed of people—they dodge between traffic, ride at unfathomably fast speeds, and they face hardships in options and funding. Across the country and world, there are motorcycle groups who respect the art and their ride, but the barriers for their passion are large.
Motorcycle loans have fewer options than auto loans due to the fact that they are classified as specialty loans. Since there are fewer companies which offer motorcycle loans, the competition is reduced. This converts to higher interest rates. Unlike car loans which offer multitudes of options for lending companies, the majority of motorcycle sales are funded by dealer financing. When a motorcyclist buys from a specific dealer, he or she will likely be forced to go with the dealer’s lender of choice, which can result in an expensive motorcycle loan.
For some owners, their motorbike is not the only item they own; they will own both a car and a motorcycle at the same time. If the borrower has both an auto and motorcycle loan, and money becomes tight, the borrower will have to decide which bill is more important to pay. In the majority of cases, especially if the borrower has to transport someone else, he or she will retain the auto loan over the motorcycle loan.
As such, it’s best to compare motorcycle lenders to solicit several offers before agreeing to a contract.
While there seems to be countless domestic and international options for car owners, manufacturers of motorcycles are limited. Since the economy crashed and large auto makers were bailed out, some companies streamlined their models. The list for failed manufacturers dominates the current list. Several failed companies include Mission Motors and Titan Motorcycle Company.
For any new riders, a license must be obtained. A regular driver’s license is not acceptable to operate this type of vehicle. Additional training courses, certificates, and fees apply for interested applicants. All of these requirements further raise the cost and time frame to own and operate a motorcycle.
In 2011, there were about 4,500 deaths from motorcycle accidents alone. Additionally, rider deaths are about 30 times as frequent as automobile drivers. Due to the lack of features such as exterior walls and frames, when riders crash it can be catastrophic. Additionally, reckless driving practices such as lane splitting further increase dangerous riding conditions. Protective clothing can only shield riders to a certain extent in an accident.
Chris Sims, co-owner of Revolution Bike Finance, said that even though there are bad statistics, not every rider needs to become a number.
“Simply put, motorcycle riders have to be more careful than drivers of larger vehicles,” Sims said in the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s really a matter of habit. Those in the habit of riding safely will continue to ride safe, and will probably go their entire lives without an incident or a serious injury. That being said, failing to practice safety on the road is not an option.”