Hitting the road can give your teen that all-important freedom and independence they crave. However, the road rules between bikes and motorcycles can be vast, as can the chances of accidents and injuries. According to statistics, the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash is 16 times more likely than if someone is involved in a car crash. With this alarming statistic, it’s no wonder that parents are hesitant to allow their children to live out their Easy Rider fantasies. So what should a parent do before letting their teen out on two wheels?
Teen Motorcycle Tips
Like adults, teens love the feeling of freedom that a motorcycle gives. There’s a rock-n-roll image attached to it, and movies often glorify doing tricks and dangerous stunts to gain popularity with their peers. Getting your child to understand the importance of safety is paramount on a bike even more so than in an automobile.
Motorcycles are popular in the metro Atlanta area. Additionally, motorcyclists like to do the twisty roads up in the north Georgia mountains, the nearby Smokies or the Appalachian Trail. There are many bike clubs that participate in group rides. Having your teen join a group might be preferable to having him go off on his own initially.1) Be prepared. Whether your teen is driving a car or riding a motorcycle, it’s always good to be prepared in case of an accident. Vet a good Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer or one in wherever it is you live before your child gets his actual motorcycle license. Speak to your child about what he needs to do should he be involved in an accident, like getting a police and injury report. Every bit of information he can get from the start can help his case later.2) Share the statistics. Though it may seem like a scaremongering tactic, sharing the accident statistics with your child and the dangers he faces on a motorcycle is a key element in getting him to understand that he must drive safely. Getting local can help, for example if you live in Atlanta show him accident statistics from your town. Knowledge is power, and arming your child with the possible outcomes will help him to make good decisions.
3) Have your teen take a motorcycle driver’s course. If your teen is still insisting on a motorcycle after you have shared the grim statistics of teen accidents, insist that he take a driver’s course that can give him the skills he needs to avoid accidents and understand how to handle himself in different road conditions on a motorcycle. Additionally, many of these courses underline safety. This includes discussing the importance of helmets and the appropriate gear to wear when riding.
4) Get the gear. Wearing the appropriate protective gear when out riding a motorcycle can be the difference between life and death. Invest in the appropriate outfit with protective padding – one that can be worn over school or work clothes easily. Additionally, have a helmet fitted and ensure that it still fits every year he’s riding his bike.
5) Lay down the law. Even if you don’t know anything about riding a motorcycle, that should not prevent you from taking the lead and letting your child know that safety comes first. Make sure your teen understands that if he is caught without wearing his safety gear, you will remove the motorcycle, no questions asked. Additionally, he should understand that driving is a privilege, not a right, and you will not tolerate unsafe driving.
Allowing your child to ride a motorcycle can be a scary prospect, particularly given the accident statistics. However, by sharing with him safety tips and rules that he must follow, you can help to protect your child and let him make good choices when it comes to riding. Be honest and open with your child, and he is sure to make the right decisions.
Debbie Nguyen is a writer in Georgia with two teen boys who wanted motorcycles. Statistics from an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer alarmed her so much that she only agreed to an ATV as their only motorized recreational vehicle of choice.