A bit over a year ago I had a revelation: I am almost 34-years old and I can buy a motorbike even if my mom doesn’t want me to.
Being a startup guy, I strongly believe in beta-testing. So I bought an old 50cc scooter from a poker friend for 3,000 NIS (~ $800). The logic was:
1) I’ll use it only inside the city and not risk my life on highways,
2) If I don’t like it I can get rid of it pretty fast (actually a mistake, there is barely a market for 50cc bikes in Israel) and
3) I can tell a good story of how I won this scooter in a poker game (of course, realizing later there is no market for 50cc bikes, I figured I was bluffed, which is pretty much in par with my poker performance in the past year).
Soon I realized I hate even the notion of stepping into my car so I upgraded to a new 125cc San-Yang scooter. Cost (after trade-in): ~$3,700.
So, here are the stats for 1-year of motorbike riding in Tel-Aviv and its vicinity:
- Monthly fuel costs: $37. 85% savings compared to my car fuel costs (~ $320 / month)
- Minutes saved in traffic: Approx. 20 minutes per day. I value my leisure time at $60/hour. Monthly savings: ~$450. Quality of life impact: much higher. I hate being stuck in traffic.
- Minutes saved looking for parking: at least 10 minutes a day. Parking in central Tel-Aviv is hell. Luckily I live next to the river, otherwise I’d be at 30-minute a day. Taking into account an average of 6 parking tickets a year and parking fees, monthly savings: $225 in quality time + $30 fees.
- Insurance costs: Using some strange Middle-Eastern logic, you pay higher government insurance costs for motorbikes than cars. The logic: Motorbike riders are 5X more likely to get killed or injured in accidents. By whom are they getting killed? In most cases by car drivers. The authorities choice? let’s tax the ones who are getting killed, not the ones killing them. Makes lots of sense. Additional insurance cost: $50/month.
- Depreciation: ~$500 / year. New car depreciation in Israel: ~$4,500 / year. Savings: $4,000 / year.
- Other fees (taxes, maintenance, etg.) – saving of ~$250/year.
Total yearly value vs. using a car: ~$15,500 Net. That’s a lot of money!
- It’s fun to ride.
- I park exactly in front of where I am destined: my office / bar / restaurant / home. No long walks due to lack of parking.
- I can meet people any time of the day, anywhere they want. Traffic and rush hours are no longer a consideration.
- My girlfriend hugs me more, especially when riding in the winter.
The only downside really is that it is so freaking dangerous to ride a motorbike with all the crazy Israeli drivers on the road.
What are my chances of surviving the next 10 years? The stats are 20 deaths per 1 billion kilometer (plus about 200 serious injuries). I ride approx. 1,000km / month. In 10 years I’ll ride 120,000km. My chances of making it alive and healthy are: 1-(120k/1B)*220 = 99.76%. (merely 0.1% lower than the chances of car drivers of surviving 10 years on the road).
So, an additional 0.1% survival risk for accumulated 10-years value of over $150,000 puts my life’s value at $150,000/0.1% = $150M. Wow, that’s exciting! I never though of myself as a multi-millionaire!
Recommendation: Get a bike 🙂