(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.
i rather go for cars as motorcycle has higher chances in accidents =).
Not just boys, I’m a 16 year old girl and I ride. I also know other girls who would like a bike:)
Randa, I apologize for assuming! I have no girl experience per se, so I tend to see things just the one way.
Sport bike’s are very bad news, I’m 17 and I started riding motocross at 4 year’s of age. When I was getting into my early teens I always wanted a super bike/sporty bike. But when I was about 14 I thought Harley Davidsons were the bad ass thing, both my mom and dads side of the family are big Harley rider’s, they’re part of all the MC’s and so on. But when you have a harley/yamaha/honda/ cruiser bike these thing’s aren’t gonna have the power of a crotch rocket, they’re not going to do 80mph fly by’s and scare the living shit out of you. All I’m saying if they really want a motorcycle they shouldn’t care what kind of bike you/them buy. Start out small, grow bigger and bigger. I have 13 year’s of motorcycle experience under my belt.
The number one starter bike’s I’d recommend is a Honda Rebel 250, You can buy these dirt cheap and it’s a honda these engines are going to last literally “forever” I still have mine from when I was 13 that I have bobbed out and customized. Don’t let them get a sport’s bike unless you want to bury your son or daughter before there 25.
Wyatt, you’re scaring me more than a little. For someone of your experience to say “avoid the sport bikes or die”…I take that very seriously. Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom.
Well, I am a parent and I have my own motorcycle, It is very difficult to say “no” to my kid when I ride bike myself =(
Dave, that’s so true! Our battle revolved around screen time. With both parents working on computers all day it was difficult to find a balance for the boys. We all get to the best solution we can eventually though. Best of luck with you on that one, and I hope your kid stays safe.
The statement, “Over 90% of motorcycle riders involved in a crash had no formal training.” has been repeated to me by my homeschooled grandson as something to the effect of, ‘Those taking formal motorcycle training are 90% safer than those who don’t.’ This is an a very faulty inference and can be used to persuade parents to cave in to their teenager’s desires to drive a vehicle that is up to 35 times more fatal in the event of a traffic accident. No training will change the lack of visibility motorcycles and bicycles present to drivers. No training will effect the alertness of over-aged, under-aged, marijuana impaired, alcohol impaired or texting truck and automobile drivers.
The massiveness of automobiles and today’s HD trucks is deadly to motorcycle riders who suffer collisions with them. Certainly there are motorcycles, equipment and training that can lessen the danger to a certain extent but ultimately F=ma (Force = mass X acceleration) and the m is dearly lacking for motorcycle riders when it comes to protection against bone crushing forces.
A pediatric orthopedic nurse writes this about motorcycle usage. “While on the orthopedic unit, we only had one surgeon; his motto was “buy your son a motorcycle for his last birthday.” I grew to hate the devastation of young lives caused by motorcycle accidents.”
I’ve heard of a surgeon calling motorcycles “donorcycles” because young motorcyclists provide the best donor organs after their fatal accident.
I certainly would not have chosen a Motorcycle Insurance Quote (MIQ) member to write such easily misunderstood advice to parents about this important issue.