Your teenager finally got his license. You have come to terms with the possibility that he will be borrowing the family car more often, or he might even start asking you to have his own car. What you didn’t expect was him asking for a motorcycle.
Teenagers, especially boys, are attracted by the image portrayed by motorcycle riders. They get excited by the motorcycle’s quick acceleration and maneuverability. But as a parent, the image of your teen speeding and darting through high traffic areas are a huge concern. Add that to the fact that motorcycles usually go unnoticed by other drivers on the road result to anxiety. However, this doesn’t have to be a cause for a full-out panic attack. You just need to communicate a few ground rules and impose a few requirements before allowing your teenager to ride a motorcycle.
The Potential Dangers of Motorcycling
A lot of young adults want to ride motorcycles because they are faster and easier to maneuver; however, these teens take for granted the lack of car safety features. If your adolescent starts asking for a motorcycle, you should first make him understand the dangers of motorcycling. For one, your child should understand that he will be more vulnerable to vehicle-on-vehicle collisions because the motorcycle doesn’t have an exterior frame. It also doesn’t have any seatbelts or air bags that can protect the rider in case of collision.
According to the latest vehicle mile travel data, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident and are 6 times more likely to get injured. Other factors that make teenagers more vulnerable to motorcycle accidents include:
- Undeveloped riding skills and ability to detect road dangers
- Too confident with their riding abilities
- Tendency to engage in aggressive driving
- Driving while intoxicated or drunk
- Higher possibility of being distracted on the road
As a parent, you need to make your teen understand that riding a two-wheeled vehicle takes balance, coordination, and proper judgment. Here are a few rules of the road to help improve your teen’s safety while they enjoy riding their motorcycle.
Always Wear A Helmet: Your teen should check your state’s law regarding motorcycle helmet. There are certain states that mandate all riders to wear a helmet at all times when riding the motorcycle; while others have partial laws with specific requisites. But regardless of what the law requires, your teenager should always wear a helmet when operating his two-wheel vehicle.
According to Bob M. Cohen & Associates, a California law firm specializing in personal injury, the lack of protection when riding a motorcycle is one of the main reasons why motorcyclists suffer physical injuries when they get into an accident. Remember that helmets can lower the risk of dying in a road accident by 37%, and the possibility of suffering brain injury by 67%.
Wear Proper Gear: Wearing a helmet is not enough. Your teen should also have a complete riding gear, which includes pants, boots, gloves, and a jacket. The jacket and pants should be made of leather, and it should have proper padding in the right places. This gear will help absorb impact in case of an accident. The boots should protect his ankle and the gloves should cover his hands.
Attend A Motorcycle Safety Course: Another motorcycle safety tip is to enroll your child in a motorcycle safety course. The class will teach him about the traffic safety laws that apply to riding a motorcycle. In addition, it will also teach him how to deal with emergency situations on a motorcycle. This safety course will help prepare your child to hit the road safely.
Avoid Riding In Bad Weather: Motorcycles are not as stable as four-wheeled vehicles; therefore, riding a motorcycle in bad weather is riskier than driving a car. Aside from only having two wheels, your teen’s visibility is also compromised. Here are a few tips:
- Before hitting the road, your teen should check the weather first.
- If the weather forecasts heavy rain and snow, advise him to leave the bike at home.
- If he must ride in the rain, tell him to go slowly and leave enough space for braking.
- If the weather gets worse, he should stop and wait for the rain to stop.