Especially for long-time bikers, there is a chance your child will want to pick up motorcycle riding as a teen. Or, more often than not, characters from movies and TV or motocross athletes wield more influence. As a result, your child requests a license to drive a motor bike – and won’t let up.
Even if you’ve started teaching your child how to ride, should they have their own bike or be out on the road alone? Although teens can test for and receive a motorcycle license at 16, that doesn’t mean your child is ready to face the safety issues or responsibilities. A motorcycle safety course can help in many regards but, as a parent, you should factor the following points into your decision.
Injuries & Accidents
Regardless of whether the rider has a license, unsafe speeding is the primary culprit behind crashes involving 16- to 19-year-olds. Unlike adults, teen riders are responsible for about two-thirds of these collisions.
According to a Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study looking at insurance claim frequency for teens, supersport motorcycles – bikes designed specifically for speed – had the highest rate at 27.4 per 100 insured vehicles. Compared to other demographics owning this vehicle, teen claims quadrupled those for 36- to 60-year-old riders.
Teen riders account for about three percent of all motorcycle-related collision claims. Yet, among all licensed and insured riders, teens make up just one percent. Additionally, a teen is more likely to ride a supersport motorcycle and, as a result, has a crash rate 18-times higher than someone in a standard car.
Further exacerbating these risks, more than 90 percent of all riders involved in crashes had no formal training. As one step to reduce your child’s chances of a collision, get a list from the DMV of all approved riding safety courses and have your teen attend all hours before taking his or her license test.
Good Riding Habits
Along with helping your child successfully learn how to ride a motorcycle, make sure he or she uses good judgment out on the road. This includes:
- Avoiding passengers. Initially, teens should ride their motorbikes alone, without anyone on the back. One or more passengers tend to make the bike harder to maneuver.
- Wearing appropriate safety gear. Before the first ride, your child needs a DOT-approved helmet and appropriate eye protection. Even if the motorcycle has a windshield, your child should also have goggles or a helmet with a face shield.
- Insisting on appropriate riding clothing. Items like T-shirts, tank tops and flip flops offer little protection. In case of an accident, make sure your teen is wearing over-the-ankle boots, gloves and an abrasion-resistant jacket and pants, preferably designed with padding. Also, especially if your teen might be riding through dusk, make sure he or she wears bright-colored or reflective clothing, so other motorists can spot them.
Similar to driving a car, your teen needs to be aware of other vehicles, the rules of the road, particular risks and the challenges involved in operating a vehicle. Yet, certain ones are more specific to this ride:
- It takes more agility and coordination to ride a motorcycle. Even after your teen gets a license, he or she likely needs more practice before going out alone.
- Your teen needs to be alert. This means that if your child takes a painkiller with drowsiness as a side effect or he or she seems tired for any reason, riding around should be out of the question.
- Riding a motorcycle is far more dangerous than driving a car. This includes the rider’s lack of protection and injuries that could potentially result from a collision.
As one strategy, make sure your child gets his or her driver’s license first and spends time driving a car. During practice, notice how your teen handles the vehicle and obeys traffic rules. If your child speeds, swerves through traffic or drives through stop signs, this behavior shows that more time is needed before getting a motorcycle license.
If your teen is a rider and does get hit by another motorist, Trantolo & Trantolo’s team of lawyers can assist with your case. Our staff includes multiple attorneys who ride; we’re familiar with the features, operation and challenges of motorcycles. To pursue your claim and work toward fair compensation, contact us today.