Sell your car and get on your bike?! Pros and Cons…
Save money on commuting with help from Logbook Loans…
Suddenly it seems everything is all about bikes! Firstly, cycling is being encouraged by the government both as a means of exercise and also a viable alternative to public transport. They have promised to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into creating an infrastructure that makes it safer and easier to cycle, particularly in cities and towns.
As part of this initiative, in July a Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme was launched, which enabled members of the public to apply for a voucher – worth up to £50 – that they could then put towards the cost of repairing their bicycle. The scheme was so popular that all the 50,000 vouchers in the first batch have now been allocated. If the repair scheme proves to be a success then further vouchers may be released.
At the same time as the Fix your Bike Scheme, the government also announced that access to bikes will be available on the NHS as part of its obesity strategy. The idea behind this is that GPs can prescribe cycling as part of a patient’s care plan, and will have a supply of bikes to lend to patients. There will also be access to training, cycling groups and support networks.
But many people are wary of cycling on the road because they see it as being dangerous. So are all these initiatives really going to get us on our bikes?
And will this have any impact on our use of our cars, particularly for commuting? We know our regular Logbook Loans readers love their cars. But should you now perhaps consider getting rid of your car and getting on your bike instead?
So let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of bicycles vs cars for your daily commute.
Commuting by bike
One of the main advantages of cycling is the exercise factor. We saw above that the government is encouraging cycling as part of its obesity strategy. Cycling to work kills two birds with one stone in that not only does it get you to work, but you have also done your daily exercise as well. You are likely to feel much more motivated and energised than if you had driven in. And will have had a good dose of fresh air as well.
There is no contest here. Once you have bought your bike there are very few running costs. Whereas a car continually needs fuel, insurance and road tax – as well as regular servicing, maintenance, cleaning and repairs – your bike just needs a bit of TLC and maintenance now and again, and is good to go.
- Can avoid traffic jams
No wonder some motorists dislike cyclists. They are sitting stewing in a traffic jam, and the cyclists go streaming past. Yes you may not be the fastest vehicle on the road, but you can often beat them to the finishing line.
There are lots of concerns about road safety for cyclists, and sadly some high profile fatalities. So this is a factor to bear in mind. However, as we saw earlier, there is the hope of an improved infrastructure to come, with cycle lanes and other safety measures. But you do need to be prepared for glitches along the way, such as the occasional puncture or chain falling off, and be ready to deal with these when they arise.
Unfortunately, despite the ongoing emphasis on tackling climate change and reaching zero carbon, we do still have significant air pollution in our towns and cities. So you need to be prepared for this, for example by looking into cycling masks.
The other aspect of commuting by cycle that is out of our control is the good old British weather. On a bright sunny day, nothing beats an invigorating cycle to work. But that is not quite the same in the dark, wet winter. You need to think through in advance the types of weather in which you are and are not willing to cycle, and prepare accordingly.
Commuting by car
Generally speaking, it is much quicker to commute by car. Although, as we mentioned earlier, there are times when you are sitting in a jam, cursing at the cyclists speeding by. But normally, commuting by car does have the edge here.
- Protected from the elements
Let’s face it, cars are cosy. They are almost like a mini home on wheels. You are completely enclosed, can adjust the temperature to your ideal choice, and also enjoy music or other entertainment en route. On this criteria, cars win hands down.
- Can transport others
The other main advantage of cars is that you have room to transport others. Whether this is people or stuff or animals is completely up to you. You could even fit a bike in there! But again, this is a huge advantage over travelling by bike, when all you can take with you is a small saddlebag or two.
One of the main disadvantages of commuting by car is the cost. Even if you keep a car and never use it, it still costs you money. You have to pay for insurance and road tax for starters. Then there is the annual MOT, which normally also involves a service beforehand or repairs afterwards. Or both. And of course when you actually use the car you have to pay for fuel, unless you’ve already gone electric. So cars sadly cost way more than bikes.
When driving your car, there is also a huge impact on the environment. As well as poor air quality, cars are responsible for noise and congestion. And because they also emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, this in turn contributes to climate change. So every time you get behind the wheel, there is a lot at stake.
The other major disadvantage of using a car is the fact that you need somewhere to park it at the end of your journey. Parking can be difficult to find and, if you are not careful, can cause inconvenience to others. It can also be very costly, though for tips on cheaper parking do check out our last article How to save money on car parking.
Which is best? Car or bike?
So, as we have seen, there are both advantages and disadvantages to commuting by bike or car. Neither is perfect. Ultimately the choice is yours.
The best solution may be to use both? Then you can still enjoy using your car when you need to, but can cut down the costs and environmental impact, and also reap the health benefits and economy from using your bike some of the time.
Check back here soon for more motoring, lifestyle and financial tips from Logbook Loans.