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Is Driving a Motorcycle Harder Than Driving a Car?

Lots of people dream of driving a motorcycle, but only a few make it their regular mode of transportation. 

This discrepancy has caused many people to wonder if riding a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car. 

Opinions differ, but overall, most people agree that driving a motorcycle is harder than driving a car. Mainly, riding a motorcycle is more difficult because you have to worry about balance, and you have to learn not to panic when something goes wrong. 

In this article, I will discuss whether riding a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car, as well as the main differences between driving a motorcycle and a car. 

I will also talk about whether it’s hard to ride a motorcycle, whether you should learn to drive a car or motorcycle first, and if cars are safer than motorcycles. 

Is Riding a Motorcycle a lot Harder Than Driving a Car?

A man wearing a black jacket, black helmet, and brown boots is riding a yellow motorcycle.

Well, as I said, opinions differ, but most people believe riding a motorcycle is quite a bit more difficult than driving a car. 

I mean, think of it this way: although those of us who have been driving for years don’t realize it, driving a car takes a lot of mental focus. 

Driving well and being a safe driver also take a decent bit of skill. 

Now, realize that when riding a motorcycle, you have to have those same skills and attention while also worrying about things like: 

  • Balance 
  • Tight turns, which can be dangerous and disorienting on a motorcycle
  • Driving on gravel, wet pavement, and other challenging conditions
  • High lean angles 

Also, since motorcyclists are more likely to sustain an injury in an accident compared to car drivers, they have to pay even more attention to everything happening around them. 

Plus, driving a motorcycle can be scary, so motorcyclists, especially those who are just learning, must learn to manage anxiety more so than a car driver would. 

The Two Main Reasons Driving a Motorcycle Is More Difficult Than Driving a Car

Now that I’ve given you the overview of why riding a motorcycle is more complex than driving a car, let’s look at these reasons more in-depth. 

Reason One: Balance 

Of course, one of the major differences between driving a motorcycle and driving a car is balance. 

Obviously, when you’re driving a car, the vehicle is already balanced for you since it has four wheels. 

A motorcycle, though, has a similar shape to a bicycle, meaning you have to learn to keep yourself steady before you can safely ride one. 

And the need to balance can make it harder to navigate situations such as low speeds, unfavorable road conditions, tight turns, and high lean angles. 

Yet overall, you should know that balancing on a motorcycle is not more difficult than doing so on a bike. 

However, the feeling of balancing on a motorcycle is different because it is a lot heavier than a bicycle. 

Thus, it will probably take you some time to get used to this new feeling. 

Also, I want to add that if you don’t know how to ride a bicycle, you should learn before you try to drive a motorcycle. 

A bicycle is a lot safer to learn to balance on, and you can get one for pretty cheap, so you don’t have to risk damaging an expensive motorcycle. 

Reason Two: Anxiety 

The second primary reason driving a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car has to do with anxiety. 

Driving a car can, of course, be stressful.

And there is always the possibility of an accident. 

Yet, without the safety of the car’s body, motorcyclists are much more prone to anxiety. 

And for a good reason. 

For one, motorcyclists always have to stay very aware of other drivers so that they don’t get hurt. 

Because the risk of bodily injury in an accident is high when driving a motorcycle, motorcyclists have to pay attention to every vehicle around them at all times. 

They also have to try and guess how others near them will react so that they can avoid a collision. 

This hypervigilance leads to stress. 

Additionally, the feeling of vulnerability when driving a motorcycle, even when there aren’t other motorists around, can be quite dizzying. 

For example, many people find it scary to make a turn on a motorcycle when first learning to ride because they don’t like how the bike tilts towards the road. 

Plus, since fear makes a person more likely to make a wrong decision, new motorcyclists can easily harm themselves, leading to even more hypervigilance and anxiety. 

Is it Hard to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle?

A smiling man riding a scooter and a happy woman pushing the scooter.

We’ve established that driving a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car, but is riding a motorcycle actually that hard? 

Overall, it is not difficult to learn to ride a motorcycle. 

For the most part, driving a motorcycle is kind of like a cross between riding a bike and driving a manual transmission

If you know how to do both of these things, learning to ride a motorcycle is not too difficult. 

Should I Learn to Drive a Car Before a Motorcycle?

Many teenagers who have reached driving age wonder if riding a motorcycle is a good choice for learning the rules of the road. 

However, it is best to learn to drive a car first. 

Learning to drive in a car will allow you extra protection as you get used to being on the road and surrounded by traffic. 

And the protection a car gives you is crucial when learning to drive because every new driver makes plenty of mistakes. 

Further, having the car’s frame around you will likely make you feel safer, making it easier to focus while you’re getting used to driving. 

You should also be aware that in some US states, you must have a regular driver’s license before you can get a motorcycle license or endorsement. 

Is Driving a Car Safer Than Riding a Motorcycle?

A man in a white t-shirt and black cap is driving a car while smiling.

Now that we’ve discussed whether driving a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car, let’s compare safety. 

Overall, driving a car is much safer than riding a motorcycle. 

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 28 times as likely to die in a traffic accident than those in a car. 

Yet, of course, taking precautions can significantly reduce the risk of death in a collision. 

To reduce the risk of injury when driving a motorcycle, you should: 

  • Have adequate practice riding a motorcycle before you drive on busy roads or at high speeds
  • Have practice riding in adverse conditions like gravel and wet pavement 
  • If you’re carrying a load, make sure it is adequately balanced 
  • Wear a helmet that meets the safety standards of the US Department of Transportation 
  • Wear proper clothing, such as leather, that covers your arms and legs 
  • Wear boots that cover your ankles 
  • Wear heavy-duty gloves 
  • Always yield appropriately – Other vehicles may not see you 
  • Follow the rules of the road 
  • Never take drugs or drink alcohol before riding 


Riding a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car because you have to pay more attention to the road, have good balance skills, and learn to manage anxiety.

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