(Editor’s note: please welcome Brady with some very sound advice on teens and motorcycles. Thanks, Brady!)
Most parents dread having the “I want a motorcycle!” conversation with their teenage boy. Who can blame them? Teenage boys are enticed by the cool image of motorcycles. They’re excited about the quick acceleration and maneuverability. For parents, speeding and darting through traffic are major concerns, along with the fact that motorcycles are often unnoticed by automobile drivers. Unsafe speed is, not surprisingly, the leading factor in motorcycle accidents involving teenagers.
Many teenagers are very talented at wearing down their parents until they finally say yes. Typically, the gut reaction of parents when confronted with the motorcycle request is a resounding “no!” The teenager’s plan typically includes plenty of pleading combined with a barrage of “I promise I’ll ride safely!” and “It’s my life!” comments over a period of months. Over time, some parents become desensitized to the dangers involved with a motorcycle and give in to the motorcycle request.
Be highly concerned if your teenager covets a supersports motorcycle. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, supersports have rider death rates that are almost four times higher than other types of motorcycles. The impressive horsepower of these bikes allow them to reach up to 190 mph. They’re built on racing platforms and modified for street use. Supersports are very popular with motorcycle riders under the age of 30.
Parents should consider these questions and issues:
- Why does your teenager really want a motorcycle? The real reasons are vital. Is it because of excitement, speed, and/or wanting to look cool? Is his claim of “I want a motorcycle because it’s more economical than a car” actually true?
- How responsible is your teenager? If he enjoys the adrenaline rush provided by thrilling video games, for example, do you think he will seek the same rush on a motorcycle?
- How skilled is he at driving a car? Riding a motorcycle requires more agility, coordination, and alertness. Does he obey traffic rules while driving a car? Does he weave through traffic?
- Will he gladly enroll in a motorcycle driver training course? You can find training courses in your area at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website. Over 90% of motorcycle riders involved in a crash had no formal training.
- Obviously, combining alcohol and motorcycle riding is a huge mistake. Approximately half of all single-vehicle, fatal motorcycle crashes involve alcohol.
- Is your teenager going to pay for the motorcycle, the insurance, and the upkeep? If so, he’s far more likely to take care of it and abstain from reckless behavior.
- Do you trust your teenager to always wear a helmet? Motorcycle riders who crash without a helmet are forty percent more likely to have a fatal head injury.
Obviously, parents and their teenagers need to discuss the dangers of riding a motorcycle. Parents and teenagers should take the time to review motorcycle safety facts together.
Brady Daniels is a member of the Motorcycle Insurance Quote (MIQ) writing team. He writes feature articles about a variety of topics related to motorcycles, including motorcycle safety.
Earnest Parenting: advice for parents of eager teens.
Image courtesy of _eatsleepride via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.