A lot of teens love motorbikes. Whether it is because they are associated with rebellion and general ‘cool’, because they are fast and exciting, because they think they will help them pick up members of the opposite sex, or, for the more prudent teens, because they are cheaper to own than a car, the conversation about getting a first motorcycle is one many parents of teens should be expecting.
Bikes, of course, have their pros and cons. On the one hand they are cheaper than cars and in most places, a teen can be old enough to legally ride a low powered motorbike before they can hold a driver’s license. This means they can get their freedom a bit earlier, and to a teen, even an extra year of having their own wheels can count. Motorbikes are, however, statistically more dangerous than cars, and so you really need you teen to be prepared to take their safety seriously if they get one.
One of the first things you’ll need to enforce really hard if you are going to let your teen ride a motorcycle is that they only do so with the right gear on. Thankfully, motorcycle gear looks a lot cooler than other things you may have tried to make them wear when they were younger like cycling helmets, reflective clothing or knee pads when skating or rollerblading. At the very least they’ll need proper boots, gloves, a properly fitting and safety rated helmet and a proper armored motorcycle jacket, and it is also better to wear motorcycle jeans (with built in protection) or other motorcycle pants than regular jeans. If the bike is to be their only or main mode of personal transport (other than the taxi service you offer, of course) then they will also need to take care to find gear that will keep them warm on cold rides. Motochanic.com has a great selection of heated gear as well as other motorcycle essentials that might be suitable.
Giving Friends Rides
It is not a good idea for teens to give people rides on the back of their bike when they are still getting used to riding. The way a bike handles feels very different with a passenger, and inexperienced motorcyclists can struggle with this and risk accidents. If they absolutely insist on showing their new bike to their friends and giving them a ride, make sure they stick to just taking a spin round the block at first, rather than making trips on busy roads.
Motorcyclists do have more accidents than drivers, and often this is not the rider’s fault – drivers have trouble seeing them. That’s why even more so than with a car, it is important that your teen knows to treat their bike with respect and take the laws and safety advice seriously. In the case of a bike, it is not overprotective nagging, but a real need for them to act in the interests of their own safety.
Your teen may have great experiences with their first motorcycle, and there are some great reasons to let them have one, but make sure you talk to them seriously about it first!