Exchange your car for a motorcycle: what you need to know
Seven in ten Belgians say they might be ready to switch to a motorcycle or (maxi-)scooter as an alternative for the car, according to a survey by Touring with 5.800 people. And that becomes visible in the registration figures of two-wheelers. For the first time the number grew with 8,2% to 22.841 units in 2016 according to the Belgian federation for cars and motorcycles FEBIAC. The total number of motorcycles and scooters is estimated around 450.000.
Although you can question why it took so long to see the ‘scooterisation’ of Brussels or Antwerp like Paris did already for several years, you can notice the change, especially in the capital. But be aware not to cherish illusions. In safety matters for instance it is proven the chances for a motorcyclist to be involved in a deadly accident is three times higher then for a car driver.
On the other hand the number of accidents is decreasing, in contrast with the number of new registrations. In 2016 70 motorcyclists were killed on a total number of 2.987 accidents with motorcycles involved, compared to 92 deaths in 2015 on a total of 3.070 accidents.
The most dangerous enemy for the Belgian motorcyclist is the weather, with an average of 199 ‘rainy’ days, including light drizzle. Nevertheless it remains dry for 92,5% of the time. With proper behaviour driving on the motorcycle in the rain is perfectly possible, but it pretty spoils driving pleasure.
Cheaper then a car
For a motorcycle under 250cc you don’t have to pay a yearly tax, higher volumes are taxed around 56 euro in Flanders, Brussels and the Walloon region. The registration tax depending on the horsepower (in kW) varies between 61,50 euro (70 kW like most scooters and maxi scooters) and 123 euro (up to 85 kW). Insurance is a lot cheaper then for a car, especially when you have already a car insured. Tax deduction is far more interesting then for a car: 100% of all costs regarding the professional use of the motorcycle, including all home-to-work traffic costs and safety clothing.
Price and equipment
It is crucial to define the usage of the motorcycle first: urban area, suburban, highways? And it has to be adapted to your morphology. Basic rule: you have to be able to move the vehicle without using the engine. Prices vary from less then 1.000 euro for a 50cc, 1.500 to 2.500 euro at least for a maxi scooter of 125cc (5.000 for a premium one). These are easy to manoeuvre (150 kg) and capable to reach 120 km/h on the highway. Other then that you will find motorcycles up to 20.000 euro and more. Protective clothing will cost you around 600 euro.
For those who got their car drivers license (B) before 1989, there is no specific motorcycle license needed for whatever type of motorcycle. Between 1989 and 2011 you can drive a motorcycle up to 125 cc in Belgium. Abroad you will need a motorcycle license A1 at least. Whoever got it’s car license B after 2011 has to follow 4 hours of practical training first for the 125cc bike. For all other motorcycles when you are above 24 years old you will need a motorcycle license A after 9 hours of practical lessons and a theoretical exam. For the younger ones from 18 on, there is a progressive system A1, A2 followed by A and the interdiction to drive a superbike of more then 35 kW horsepower.