Imagine the day has finally come. You feel a vague sense of unease. But your teen is exuberant.
Your adolescent is about to get his driving license. You’re still conflicted about your teen borrowing your car, but you’re also dreading the day when he or she is going to ask you to cosign on a car loan.
Then just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do. Your teenager is actually not interested in driving your car. He or she wants a motorcycle. What’s more, they have been secretly saving up to buy one. So now you’re not about to just have a pleasant fireside chat about it.
How do you handle a situation like this one?
You should handle it in the same calm way that you have probably handled many crises with your child. You explain the pros and cons, and you lay down some ground rules or conditions.
3 Essential Rules
What things must your teen must agree to before you give them permission to have a motorcycle?
Here are three things you must insist on:
- “Wear a helmet.” When it comes to motorcycle helmet laws, each state has its own slant. Some states require that helmet laws be worn at all times. Other states require that helmets be worn only under certain conditions. Thus, your main business at this point is to look up the helmet laws for your states. Regardless, you should insist that wearing a helmet is a must. Statistics show that there is a 37 percent reduction in fatal accidents when a rider wears a helmet. They also show a 67 percent reduction in brain injuries when a rider wears a helmet.
- “Wear protective gear.” Helmets are not the only thing you should insist on. If the helmet doesn’t have a face plate, goggles are a must. Next, your teen should wear leather jackets and pants, gloves, and boots. These protect the body from scrapes and also have padding to reduce the impact of a fall.
- “Take safety classes.” Motorists aren’t the only ones who benefit from extra education. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers classes on how to follow traffic laws, ride a motorcycle properly, and how to respond to potential accidents perpetrated by oblivious motorists.
Two Main Types of Motorcycle Insurance
The safety classes will reduce motorcycle insurance costs, but rates may still be high because the rider is a teenager. You will have to choose between basic motorcycle liability coverage or motorcycle comprehensive and collision insurance.
Basic motorcycle liability offers coverage for other people involved in a traffic accident if it’s the rider’s fault. It covers other people’s accident expenses, property damage, and medical costs.
Meanwhile, as the name implies, motorcycle comprehensive and collision insurance, offers much more value. Besides covering other people, it also covers your teens motorcycle repair costs, as well as buys protection for such things as theft, fire, and vandalism.
Insist Your Teen Take Some Financial Responsibility
While you may be able to easily afford to take care of all the expenses associated with owning and maintaining a motorcycle, you should insist that your teen contribute to the costs. The teenager will be more invested in riding safely and looking after their motorcycle if they have a financial stake in things. By insisting on a financial contribution, you are forcing your teen to take responsibility. Your teen will have to get a job or sorts to begin to hold up their end of the deal. Working will help them appreciate the value of ownership.
5 Important Talking Points To Cover
Insist on a heart-to-heart conversation to close out the deal. This is your opportunity to address some important issues.
Here are some suggested talking points:
- Discuss the dangers of riding at high speeds.
- Discuss the perils of driving in bad weather.
- Discuss the importance of driving defensively when sharing the road with cars and trucks.
- Discuss the risks of thrill seeking and showing off. Insist that they don’t treat their motorcycle as a toy.
- Discuss the safety issues they must be aware of if giving someone a ride on the back. This includes making sure that their passenger has all the necessary safety gear. Talk about the pros and cons of loaning out their motorcycle to a friend who wants to take it for a spin. For instance, the other child may not know how to ride properly, have an accident and sue for injuries.
Making A Final Decision
After you have covered all the topics here, you will have to make a decision about whether or not you should let your child ride a motorcycle. If your child has been willing to listen to your concerns and appears eager to follow your guidelines, then you have done your best as a parent to give your child a realistic view of the situation. In that case, it’s only fair to give your child permission to go ahead. Conversely, If your child has paid little attention, been dismissive of your advice, or been contentious about your rules, then he or she may not be ready to take full responsibility for owning a motorcycle just yet.