Anyone that has children knows the age old dilemma, you think I’m a rider and I love motorcycles, so your child wanting one is a natural thing. We can all look back on our youth with fond memories of our first two wheel experience. So it’s only a matter of time for our children to either express their love of motorcycles too or completely reject them. My father had four children, he’s been an avid rider his entire life and introduced his children early to the joys of riding. So how many of his kids grew up to ride one of their own? Just one, me. Riding is something you cant make someone else love, either they do or they don’t. I had two children, both grew up around the motorcycle culture, my daughter rode on the back of my bike so much that she would be comfortable enough to fall asleep while we were riding. But neither of my children picked up the love of the bike. I’m okay with that, it’s not something you can force on someone. I bought a small 50cc bike when they were both little to see which one would take to riding it, neither did, I was the only one scooting through the yard on a bike ten sizes too small for me.
So what happens if you have a child that does want to ride. The best thing to do is make sure the motorcycle is the correct size and weight for them. They don’t need a bike that’s going to be a drop risk every time they stop. There is an entire market of small to mid size bike that are perfect for a teenager. Riding does give the freedom that most teenagers are striving for and for quite alot less money. Motorcycle can be a much more economical alternative, especially in areas that has mild weather.
The best way to feel more confident letting your teenager out of the driveway on two wheels is to make sure they have completed the motorcycle safety course. It usually only takes a weekend and they are taught valuable information about safety and how to handle their motorcycle in difficult maneuvers. Once they graduate from the course at the end of the weekend, they are given a certificate to take to the DMV that will put a motorcycle endorsement of their license. This will also give them (or you) a deep discount in motorcycle insurance.
Now all of this is highly dependent on how responsible you believe your teenager is. If you still don’t allow them to have a lighter or fireworks, then pass on the motorcycle. However, if you feel like your teenager can handle the responsibility of a motorcycle this could be the best option for getting your kid to school and back while allowing them some freedom to ride on their own. This is all dependent on how much respect you’ve taught them to have for things with engines and wheels. If they were raised that these items are something you abuse for amusement, then you’re really on your own here. The key to safe teenagers that turn into safe adult riders, is you. Have you instilled a healthy sense of respect and a dash of fear while raising your teenager in the rider culture? This takes the ability to to take an honest look at how responsible your teenager is. For those who have allowed their teenager to ride on and operate off road motorcycles for years, then this really won’t be that big of a transition. This is because you’ve seen that they are capable of handling the bike and know how to properly operate it. If your teenager has a need for speed or is a risk taker you will need to set some rules and boundaries.
For the most part, if you agree to allow your teenager to get a motorcycle, you should be able to reach an understanding as far safety requirements, like wearing a helmet and reflective gear. Also always give your teenager an “out”. Meaning if they are not feeling 100% capable of riding for whatever reason, have a standing plan that allows your teenager to seek other ways home. This is when most bad habits form when riding, it’s our duty as parents to put the best riders possible out there on the road we all have to share.