If you’ve never driven a motorcycle before, it probably looks pretty easy. What’s so hard about sitting in a single seat, almost lounging, as you cruise down the highway on two wheels, right?
Driving a motorcycle is definitely harder than driving a car, no matter how simple and leisurely experienced riders make it look. For one, everything is the opposite. Second, there is often a lot more to worry about than safely sitting in a seat surrounded by airbags and steel.
Besides the complications of driving a motorcycle, there is also the understanding that if something goes wrong, it’s probably going to be 100x worse than anything you can endure inside of a vehicle. Riding a motorcycle gives a sense of freedom while sacrificing exposure.
How Is Riding A Motorcycle Harder?
In a car, you accelerate and brake with your feet and steer with your hands. With the possible exception of using your right hand to shift in a 5-speed, that’s it. In a motorcycle, the entire body is involved in the manipulation of the bike.
Balance is everything in a motorcycle, especially when you roll to a stop. Also, the controls are in places that will be alien to someone who has never ridden a motorcycle before. Have you ever wondered if it’s really that much harder to ride a motorcycle than it is to drive a car? There’s a lot more to it than you think. Just think about the controls:
- Left Hand: Clutch
- Right Hand: Forward Brake / Throttle
- Right Foot: Rear Brake
- Left Foot: Gear Selection
That will take some getting used to. If you need to turn left and you’re behind the wheel of a car, you simply turn the wheel to the left. In a motorcycle, you have to maintain your body’s position in the seat, balance, and lean into the turn.
It’s the same way with braking. When you brake hard in a car, you simply press down hard on the brake pedal. In a motorcycle, you have to use both the front and rear brakes, carefully balancing them, while you downshift (assuming there’s time for that).
Is It Harder To Learn To Ride A Motorcycle?
In terms of comparison, it’s definitely harder to learn to ride a motorcycle, especially if you start out with a heavy one. Learning to drive a stick shift vehicle helps bring it closer to a balance, however.
Learning to ride a motorcycle should start out small anyway, with steady graduation to larger and heavier sizes, taking everything you learned with you.
Learning in a car is always going to be the same unless you go from a Toyota Corolla to a big rig, there’s really not that much new to learn from one to the next.
Learning to ride a motorcycle is complicated enough that it’s advisable to take a course. Not so much with a car, as you’ll probably have a learner’s course in high school anyway. Not to mention the fact that a vehicle will always be far safer than a motorcycle.
All Things Considered
Riding a motorcycle is definitely more difficult than driving a car and for a host of good reasons. This is true both from a safety and from a practical perspective.