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Indeed. I get about 50mpg, and could re-tune to get 60mpg if it was worth it to me (bike becomes an anemic heap though).

Insurance is cheap, bike cost $1,500, oil is cheap (6,000 factory change interval, and truck oil which works well in my bike costs $13/gallon)

Your parent is right, tires can be expensive. It depends on the bike you ride and the tires you buy. I can get ~10,000 miles out of $80 of tire, and I install them myself.

I'd say it really comes down to the bike you have. Some bikes are way more expensive to own than a commuter car, but that doesn't mean all bikes are.

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