What to do if your child asks to ride

What to do if your child asks to ride

What would you do if your child asked if they could buy a motorcycle? Would you do cartwheels or would you tell them it’s too dangerous?

On the one hand you are probably delighted at the prospect of having your son or daughter follow in your tyre tracks and taking them along with you on your rides.

This could be the greatest bonding experience that keeps your child close at a time when most young people drift away from their parents.

On the other hand, images of your crashes and close calls over the years are probably flooding through your mind and you are frightened beyond belief at the thought of your child being injured … or worse!

There is no getting around the fact that riders are more vulnerable and more likely to be involved in a crash.

Parental advice

So what do you say when they ask to ride?

The most important advice we can give is not to push too hard either way.

Don’t say no or they will push back. They will either hate you for stopping them or go out and buy a bike, anyway. In which case it could be the wrong bike for them, they may not get adequate training and they might not buy the right gear.

But don’t be over-excited either or they might think you’ll cramp their style and insist on an old man’s bike instead of a cool hipster machine.

Instead, present your child with all the facts about costs and safety and let them decide if they want to go ahead.Hipster motorists want self-driving vehicles - What to do if your child asks to ride

If you’ve been a good parent, you will have taught them how to ride a bicycle so they should already have a sense of road craft, vulnerability, never assuming they have been seen and preserving a buffer zone around themselves.

If not, then suggest they go cycling first.

In fact, in Queensland, you can’t get a motorcycle licence until you’ve had a car licence for a year.

It’s a strange law. In fact, it would be better for motorists to have had some time on a motorcycle before driving a car.

In fact, in Italy you can get a moped licence at the age of 14. The idea is to instil a sense of safety, road craft and understanding of vulnerability before unleashing a youth on a car.

Setting parameters for your child

If your child is still insistent on riding, you need to set some parameters.

First off, you should also insist on being involved in the motorcycle buying process.

Now that the Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme applies in each state, there is a wide choice of bike available to suit any size rider, ability and type of riding.

Check out our guide to buying your first motorcycle.

You can come to an agreement on who pays for what, but you need to outline all the costs involved which not only involves the cost of the motorcycle, but also the costs of learning to ride, getting a licence, registration, stamp duty, insurance, maintenance and, of course, appropriate motorcycle riding gear.

If you really do want to scare them off, make them get some insurance quotes. The exorbitant and extortionate insurance premiums for under-25 riders would be enough to scare anyone!

You should also insist your child does at least one advanced training course after they get their licence. You can work out wether they pay for that or you whether you give it to them as a Christmas or birthday present. It would be the best present you could give them!

6 Comments

  1. played Rugby Union . . . . . Street Triple

    played League . . . . . . . . . . 350 Honda

    played soccer . . . . . . . . . . . mothers car/bus/pushbike

  2. My two sons have ridden dirt bikes with me in their early teens. Not on the road.
    Now the youngest (37) has a road bike and a dirt bike and rides to work each day in Tassie but formerly in Melbourne, and is now getting into track days. The elder (40) is doing his full bike licence test today, but probably won’t buy a bike soon. (He will want to ride mine! But we can ride together as I have 2 bikes.)
    Sure it’s dangerous, but you just have to live with things you can’t control.

    I’d like to add that as we are also pilots, we have a strong aversion to drinking and drugs around flying, driving or motorcycling.

  3. Can’t say that I followed every example in the article, but two of my sons started on cars first before deciding they also wanted to take up motorcycles. Car first will at least get you used to the traffic and what is like to be on the road in ‘relative’ safety, so it not the worst thing in the world IMO. Regarding small bikes – both my sons commented on the fact that once they graduated onto a bigger bike they felt safer (they learned on the ninja 250), which seem to validate the LAMS bike decision where you learn on a bigger bike.

  4. I believe a 300cc is way too big for a learner, they should stick to 150cc or less, a 300cc is not as forgiving as a 150cc or less, also, they should start with a scooter and then jump to a shifting bike, as a learner is better to get used to road conditions and people behavior, and then mind the gearbox and it’s technicalities.

  5. Embrace it.

    If you discourage it, like my folks did, only made my will to try it greater, now look, still riding.
    Encourage it, and they won’t be interested.

    To many folks try to live their lives through their kids.

    Embrace it with all the love you can afford, without being over encouraging. Tried balancing on a tight rope lately? LOL and good luck there.

    As always, Ride free, ride safe.

  6. Italians have a completely different set of attitudes to towards motorcycles and cars sharing road space than Australians. The average Australian car driver is far more hostile towards anything with less than four wheels and at the same time far less skilled/aware when it comes to being around bikes. In short, Australian drivers are far more dangerous to be around on a bike than italian drivers.

    My wife and I have had this discussion in depth and we have decided that we will ask the kids to spend 5 years in a car to develop their road sense and make their mistakes in the safety of a car before they get on a motorbike.

    We’ll explain that it won’t be because they won’t be good enough to ride – it will be because too many car drivers are dangerously incompetent. The first 3 years of the five they will be on P plates anyway.

    Training courses will of course be part of their education. They know I went and did them so it isn’t a new concept to them.

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