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When a teenager wants a motorcycle

Whilst many parents will pay for driving lessons for their teenager, lend them their car, even buy a car for them; very few parents are as accommodating when the teenager wants to own a motorcycle. Firstly, they will question the teenager as to why they want a motorcycle rather than a car. If the answers are, because a motorcycle is so much more fuel efficient, costs less to maintain and the teen is mad crazy on bikes, and willing to learn mechanics to look after it; these are very compelling reasons.

If the answer is something along the lines of, all their friends have a motorbike, they are cool, and the teen wants one too; bad answer! Make no mistake, a motorcycle in the hands of an irresponsible person, regardless of age, is a dangerous machine. The bike rider is far more vulnerable than the car driver, and yet they can go at very high speeds on freeways and back roads, and have little protection if and when they crash.

The parents need to be very confident that their teenager is mature and responsible enough to own a motorcycle. If the teenager is looking for a cheap form of transport, then maybe a scooter is a viable option, as it goes less fast than a motorcycle, but will give the teenager a sense of how traffic behaves towards cycle and motorbike riders. Once the teenager is eighteen, parents can do little about the decision, except withhold funds for the purchase, but if a teen really wants a motorcycle they will buy one eventually.

The biggest problem with teenagers and motorcycles is that they believe they know what they are doing, because they are used to riding pushbikes, so have a sense of the road, maybe even have done some driving lessons, but the speed combined with the exposure of a motorcycle is a different matter. Many teens are careless about wearing safety helmets, and brain damage is high on the list of injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. In the summer, the teenager rides around in tee shirt and shorts, no padded clothing to protect them from an unexpected skid, and a fall from the bike.

Motorcycles have bad gang connotations, such as the Hells Angels, but not all bike riders are foul mouthed aggressive heavy metal fans! The parentís best approach is to stall the teenager; offer a scooter, refuse to pay for a motorcycle, make the teen buy it themselves. If this is a passing desire to be part of a group, it will fade and they will move onto something else. If they are determined to buy a motorcycle, enroll them in advanced lessons, get them all the safety gear, buy an extra helmet, and ask them to take you for a ride!

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