More and more millennials are skipping cars for bicycles, and here’s why.
Not only are millennials waiting longer to get a license, but they’re also waiting longer to buy a car (or even ditch the car completely). And it’s not just millennials, either. According to a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the “Driving Boom” is coming to an end for Americans in general. There are several reasons why we’re seeing a shift from “Oh Heck Yes Cars!” to “Maybe I’ll Get A Nice Bike” – and it’s time to talk about a few of them!
Millennials Want To Keep Costs Down
Makes sense, right? Even with riding accessories, bicycle insurance, and other associated costs, more millennials are seeing the financial benefit in riding a bike, instead of in a car. Let’s break down some of the costs to get a glimpse into how millennials are approaching transportation these days.
Auto Insurance Vs. Bike Insurance
The average cost of auto insurance in the United States is somewhere around $1,348 a year, or $112 per month. These costs obviously vary per state, age of the driver, and previous driving history. However, these costs pale in comparison to the average cost of bicycle insurance. For example, Simple Bicycle Insurance offers policies starting at just $100 per year. The average annual premium sits between $250 and $300 per year.
Bicycle Maintenance Vs. Car Maintenance
Another expensive aspect of being a car owner is the monthly and annual upkeep. Between tires, accidents, and normal wear-and-tear, car maintenance adds up. In fact, the average American car owner spends about $1,186 a year. On the flip side, bicyclists are only spending a fraction of this each year.
Depending on how a cyclist rides (transportation, racing, leisure, etc.), this can range anywhere from $100 a year to $300 on average. It’s important to note that the amount spent on bicycle maintenance each year can vary because many cyclists enjoy doing their own repairs.
The Cost of Gas
Considering that bicycles use zero gas and e-bikes use batteries, let’s assume the average cost of fuel per rider is $0 a year. Gas on the other hand isn’t so cheap. According to AAA, American car owners are spending between $6,967 and $9,122 for a small to average-size sedan. That cost is per car, per year. So if your household has more than one driver and more than one car, you’re spending even more.
Quickly adding up each of these costs, we’re looking at an average yearly spend of $9,501 per car owner. We decided to do the math based on the low end of each price range, so this number could be even higher if you a) own more than one car b) own a car that has inefficient mileage or c) have bad luck and need to visit the car shop more than the average person.
On the other hand, the cost per cyclist is going to run about $200 per year on the low end, if you opt into bicycle insurance and choose to pay for necessary repairs. Millennials are cutting the car costs and choosing bicycles because they’re an easy, frugal choice. When you put it on paper, the differences in expenses are pretty stark, aren’t they?
Millennials Like Convenience
To stick with the theme of convenience, we’ll keep this one quick. Basically, you don’t need a lot to get started cycling everywhere. You get to skip parking nonsense, you don’t need a license, and you can take it pretty much anywhere.
Cities And Universities Are Becoming More Bike Friendly
Because the United States is seeing an increase in urbanization and millennials living in larger cities, it’s just plain easier to have a bike. Living in an urban area likely means you’re renting and don’t have a garage, driveway, or even a dedicated parking spot for a car.
But a bike on the other hand … those puppies can be stored inside hanging from a hook. Plus, have you tried driving downtown lately? Traffic stinks and parking is a nightmare, just like it always has been.
There’s also been a push for increasing bicycle safety and security in cities, colleges, and universities. With more public bike racks, dedicated bike storage facilities, and even bicycle check-in rooms, it’s easier to keep a bike safe when you’re off doing other things. Cities and other public spaces are noticing the increase in cyclists, and they’re working with cyclists to make those spaces more friendly.