Starting Them Out Safely

One of the things that’s frustrating about riding is the lack of options for learning about bikes unless you’re born into a family that rides.  I can’t tell you the number of young people that ask me about riding, and – if they’ve got an adult with them – the adult is usually quick to condemn riding as unsafe.

The truth is, if more kids learned to ride motorcycles safely, a LOT more operators would be aware of motorcycles on the road.  Be that as it may, let’s look at some ways to get young riders started on bikes safely…

  • Starting Them Out SafelyNo matter what the laws are in your state or Province, put kids in helmets.  Real ones, that will offer real protection.  Leave the beanies to us old guys and consider full faced units that can protect growing jaws, teeth, and skulls.  This is NOT where you want to skimp on protection.
  • Gear? Now, if you’ve got a young rider on the back of your bike at highway speeds, then you absolutely want to get them the same level of protection you’re looking for.  On the other hand, if you’re simply getting Junior used to riding, say, a mini-bike, you might not need to get them in leather chaps just yet.
  • Every state and Province is going to have slightly different laws about kids and motorcycles, and that will also extend to whether those bikes are on public roads or private property.  No matter what, you have to show these young men and women safe habits.  Not only the rules of the road, but it’s also a great idea for them to understand some of the basic mechanical theory of how the bike works.
  • This grows straight from the education above, but kids that understand how the things they like work tend to continue to want to learn about those items.  In a world that doesn’t teach the value of hard work, this is an ideal time to step up and teach it, in a positive way.
  • Get Out And Ride! It might seem silly, but yes, you can’t learn to ride a bike inside the house.  You’ve got to get out and physically get on the bike, put it in gear, and get after it.  Now, Junior might not be able to drive, and that’s fine, but let him ride along and learn.  Let’s face it, on the back of the bike, you’re in the ride, not just sitting in the car.  Most kids don’t know that, and this is really the only way to teach them.

There’s a lot of ways we can reach the next generation, and many of them don’t even require this level of engagement.  Hell, just be approachable at the gas station.  Answer questions if a kid asks you, take a minute to explain stuff to little folks.

In the end?  Sharing our love for riding will guarantee there is a next generation of riders.

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