Motorcycles and Teens: A Parents’ Primer
Are your kids interested in motorcycling? If so, you’re probably torn between wanting to encourage their dreams and wanting to keep them safe. This situation can be tricky, but you’re not alone. All motorcyclists started somewhere, and so many parents have faced the challenge and lived to tell their tales.
What should every parent know about motorcycle safety for young people? Should you encourage the habit or do everything in your power to stop your kids get stepping onto that high powered bike? No two families are alike, of course, but here’s a handy guide to help you reach your decision.
Motorcycling Can Be Dangerous
Riding a motorcycle can be incredibly dangerous. You know this. Your kids know this. Yet it needs to be repeated. Motorcycle riding is not a hobby that comes free of problems. Cyclists crash often, and their crashes tend to be more serious than crashes in other types of vehicles. Bikers don’t have the protective metal shell that most motorists can rely for some basic safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2012. There’s no way to completely avoid the risks involved in motorcycling. If your children are interested in riding motorcycles, you need to speak with them about safety tips, proper equipment use, and traffic guidelines. This talk needs to be serious and to present the risks realistically.
Motorcycling is Fun
Riding a bike gives people a real rush, and for many, there’s nothing like motorcycling to make them feel happy alive. As a parent, you need to take this aspect of biking seriously. Your kids will be drawn to it if they think it’s for them, and sooner or later they’ll be out of your control. Even if you successfully forbid it, they might just take the hobby up as soon they move out of the house.
If you think your kids are going to eventually become motorcyclists that seek the thrill of customizing their bike and experiencing the open road, no matter what you do, it may be safer for them if you make sure the hobby begins under your own roof. A motorcyclist whose parents offer strong safety advice may make fewer deadly mistakes than a motorcyclist who teaches her or himself after moving out.
Motorcycle Risks Can Be Decreased
If you do decide to allow your kids to ride motorcycles, it is absolutely imperative that you teach them good safety techniques and insists on good gear. Careful motorcyclists are much less likely to be involved in accidents, and well-geared motorcyclists are much less likely to sustain serious injury in an accident.
If you’re willing to risk letting your kids ride a bike, make absolutely sure they take safety courses and have the following:
- A good helmet w/ face protection. Motorcycle helmets are essential (and in most places are legally required). Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets are “40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than [ones] who [wear helmets].”
- Heavy jackets and trousers. Motorcyclists are vulnerable. Thick covering will prevent abrasion and heavy scrapes in case of an accident.
- Foot and handwear. Footwear should be heavy but should still allow for free movement, as should hand-wear.
Do you have a son or daughter that was interested in motorcycling? Let us know what you did in the comments below.