Is it okay for teenagers to ride motorcycles?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Abyssgh0st, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    I've done quite a bit of research on this topic, as I am a teenager (19) who aspires to get a motorcycle in the near future. I am still at home for a tad bit longer, but my parents are only a factor in terms how they'd be worried for my safety on a bike. All financial factors (bike, gear, insurance, gasoline, etc) would be paid in full by me.

    People tend to be weary of teenagers or young adults on motorcycles, typically due to their apparent instability and how presumably dangerous they can be as opposed to your standard car. I can understand and respect this position, because many bad examples and precedents such as the wheelies on the highway, incessant lane weaving, riding without appropriate gear, et cetera.

    The reasons that I want a motorcycle:

    1. Oddly enough, I think it would be safer for me.
    I have been in three 'accidents' since I started driving three years ago (only one went on insurance), one being in a parking lot (hit a parked car my first week in driving), and the other two were rear ending people at red lights. The cause of the first one was lack of parking skill, and the latter were caused by me not paying attention. Whether it be me checking something on my iPhone, changing a song, looking in the mirror, eating, shaving (electric), or whatever pedantic task seems to always preoccupy myself in the car, I always am distracted and not devoting my full attention to the road. With a motorcycle, I have no other option but to pay attention. I'd be much more aware of my surroundings, and the distractions simply wouldn't be there. I understand that I need to be aware of others as well, as other drivers can cause accidents just as easily as I can; but I feel that if I'm aware like I'd plan to be then I would be as safe as possible.

    2. Financial standpoint.
    Gas is cheaper due to having increased fuel economy, as well as filling up less than I do know. Bikes are also cheaper if they need replacing, whether it be parts, customization, or anything along those lines. I would be starting out with a Suzuki sv650s, a bike recommended to me by my boss who said it would be a very sufficient beginner bike, not holding the ludicrous amount of power that a GSX-R, Ninja, or R6 has. Also, he said that Geico or Progressive (who I would do my insurance through) should still classify the 650s as a sport-crusier biker, meaning it would be significantly less to insure than a super-sport bike like the ones I listed above.

    3. Safety.
    I've had family members paralyzed by motorcycle related accidents, and I know how horrible than can be; so I would appropriate myself with adequate boots, gloves, a jacket, and helmet at all times. I'd probably be spending about $1500 on all new gear. On another tangent of safety, with a motorcycle I am virtually limited to one other person with me. Going 60mph with someone on your back isn't the best way to talk, neither would it be able to communicate through two helmets. When I have friends in the car now (I have a sedan, comfortably fits 5) it most definitely is easier to be distracted in addition to the existing distractions that were already there.

    So, if a teenager can be responsible at all times, appropriate themselves with gear, and be as cautious as possible; do you all think it would be fitting for them to get one?
  2. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Of course if they shoe there responsible then yes.
  3. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Well I don't think all teenagers are created equally but a great number of them do seem to exhibit poor impulse control over an inflated sense of cockiness. If anything is likely to bring that tendency out, it's a motorcycle. It's just so tempting to do stupid things on them and the consequences are much more severe on a bike.

    I rode dirtbikes and even off the road I made bad decisions. I did that into adulthood too though. :D I never got into street bikes because you are at the mercy of cars. If I crash in the dirt, it's probably my own fault. That was just where I drew my own line. I always had a hunch that if I had a street bike I'd kill myself. I have a disproportionate fear to danger ratio. :eek:

    That being said, from what you've written you sound responsible about it. (And you're at the upper end of your teens.) If you go for it, be sure to take lessons and get yourself VERY acquainted with your bike so every action feels instinctual. Never slack off and go without your gear. Don't take foolish risks with overtaking cars. Best of luck!
  4. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Hahahaha! You sound like you hacked into my brain.

    When I was 19, I finally got my driver's license, but due to a very VERY nice instructor. I knew I couldn't drive but I had to get a license anyway.

    I was too responsible to just say, "I've got a license! I'm goin' cruisin'!" because I KNEW I could not drive and it was not safe to others. Nothing P's me O more than teens who just hop in a car and act like it's no big deal at all to take off on the freeway.

    Anyway, I couldn't drive a vehicle if I couldn't see the wheels, I just don't have that sort of blind faith. So I got a motorcycle at 19.

    She was a Honda CB350. I wanted a four cylinder but settled for two, due to budget. Finally, I was able to get where I needed without breaking my neck to look around the car's posts and snapping my neck to check blind spots. Large Oldsmobiles can be unforgiving =\

    However! Being on a motorcycle IS dangerous. Not because it's a two-wheeled vehicle and not because you're 19. Motorcycles don't get respect on the road, sorry, it's just a fact. One way or another you will wind up in a person's blind spot and be forced to brake as Lilly Anne whips over into your lane like Speed Racer. As well, people will be complete *******s and not yield to bikes. Maybe they think it's because you're on a smaller vehicle, I don't know, but they just act like you're taking up road space that is intended for cars.

    Don't even think of entering the freeway until you've had MONTHS of on-road experience. Counter steering and leaning skills are absolutely crucial and should not be practiced on a busy interstate. Sounds crazy, I know.

    Make sure you're bright and visible at all times.Wear something that will easily attract attention. When people see a black silhouette heading towards them in their rearview, they have no way of judging your speed or distance accurately.

    Oh, and don't drag your feet :p
  5. gibbz macrumors 68030

    May 31, 2007
    You can be as cautious as possible, but if a car/truck doesn't see you, then it is all for not.

    Safety concerns aside, you only live once so do what you want to do if it fits in your plans.
  6. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    Teenagers on motorcycles makes for a more efficient scenario of natural selection than exists otherwise. If we can find a way to kill off the more arrogant and stupid males before they breed, such as with motorcycles, there will be an overall decrease in arrogance and stupidity in society at large after enough time.
  7. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    ^Thank gawd somebody said it for me. FINALLY.
  8. ethical macrumors 68000

    Dec 22, 2007
    This ^^

    Like iBlue I rode dirt bikes in my teens. I never ventured on to the road mainly because of the cost and the fact my mum wouldn't let me. Now I've moved out, I plan to get a bike when I graduate.

    Even though my mum wouldn't let me get a bike for the road, I respected her decision because I knew it stemmed from her concern of other drivers, rather than her concern about my riding ability. To give an example: My dad rode bikes for about 20 years. The only reason he stopped was because of an accident, caused by a lorry pulling out in front of him from a side road, because he was in the lorry's blind spot for the split second the driver took to look. He had to lay the bike down at about 50mph to avoid hitting the lorry. The bike was written off, and since my dad had 4 kids he decided it wasn't worth the risk. Even though it was only one crash in 20 years, something a lot of car drivers achieve at the hand of a fellow motorist, the odds of coming out of it alive when you're on a bike are a lot lower!

    So, by all means go for it! As said though: you can be the best rider in the world, but all it takes is another persons mistake, and you can be in a lot more trouble than if you were in a car.
  9. jessep28 macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2006
    Omaha, NE
    One thing I would seriously recommend is taking a Basic RiderCourse (BRC) from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The class takes place over a weekend and they go over the foundations of motorcycle operation and various safety maneuvers. If you pass, many states will give you your motorcycle endorsement without having to take a test at the DMV.

    The big safety issue of course is that you are exposed. There is greater risk but you can mitigate that somewhat from riding conservatively, not buying too big of a bike and wearing safety gear. In the end, it's all up to the rider whether or not they want to take that risk.

    I took the MSF course in 2007 after I finished college, got my M endorsement but never bought a bike. I wasn't confident in my abilities to ride safety to justify the risk. But that was a personal choice of mine.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck and be safe!
  10. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    Motorcycles aren't for everybody, whether you're a teenager or not. If you ride a bike you need to have more caution, more common and more self control. Teenagers seem to lack these. Not all teenagers, but on the wide scale they do. A motorcycle is something you really have to be ready for and know how to handle.

    And even then, all the common sense and driver safety courses in the world won't prevent someone else from hitting you.
  11. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Motorcycles are awesome. Be careful, and have fun. You can't live in fear of what might happen.
  12. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816


    Jul 13, 2009
    If you think they are safer, you are not ready to ride.
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    3 accidents in 3 years, and 2 of which were because you weren't paying attention. Yeah, you are ready for a bike.:rolleyes: Doesn't seem like a good move to me.
  14. instaxgirl macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Edinburgh, UK
    Thank goodness someone finally said this.

    I'm alarmed at the laundry list of tasks you perform in your car (shaving?! You really need to do that?) and it's not like you've crashed in difficult conditions - you've actually been so distracted you've not noticed the car in front of you stop, and not just stop, but they've been at red lights which is a whole other clue to hit the brakes.

    You clearly cannot be responsible at all times, otherwise you'd spend the time in your car driving instead of farting around, especially after the second incident.

    Harsh, but I don't trust that your mind won't wander off while you're on the bike.
  15. H00513R macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2010
    As much as I like to give kids the benefit of the doubt, I would say a resounding "No." Cars are still safer. I think it boils down to both laws and common sense. If kids can't turn off the phone, then I don't trust them with a motorcycle.
  16. Manatee macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2003
    Washington DC
    The younger you start, the better. Some people take to it, and others don't. The risk of injury is always there, but any extra risk to a young rider is due to the same issues kids have with automobiles. It has nothing to do with the vehicle being a motorcycle. Teens probably take to the handling of it better than anyone else.
  17. chilipie macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2006
    That. Your reasoning seems to be "I'll have to make myself pay attention because it'll kill me if I don't". I don't think I'd trust you in a car, never mind on a bike.
  18. kryten3000 macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2010
    Ecuador (Cotopaxi)
    No! :eek: Heck I don't even think it is ok for some adults! :(
  19. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Eh, you don't sound ready from what you have written

    1) An SV650 imo is too much power for a new rider. I have one and its still intimidating at times even though I started on a much smaller bike ( a 250r). I couldnt imagine starting on the sv650....i mean its just as fast as an r6 up until the top end and well past the legal speeds

    2) 3 accidents in 3 years? That is not promising

    3)Cheaper? not really. The gear is a pretty penny, the tires dont last near as long (around 4k-5k miles before replacing) and the mileage of a sv650 is not that much better than a car. Not to mention, the insurance I have on my bike is on par with my car's insurance (35 a month'ish) and i am 25 with a clean driving record (no tickets or accidents since 15)

    4) Safety doesnt mean squat if other drivers are yapping on a cell phone or something. Even if it's their fault, who pays the price? you would. Motorcycles never win

    5) A new rider SHOULD never be going 2 up. Horrible idea. I don't and never want to. If I crashed, I could never forgive myself for taking another with me

    You sound as if you are trying to justify getting a bike....which i can relate to. If you do, fore sure take a MSF course, Best 200 you will ever spend
  20. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Whatever you decide, please make sure your driver's license has the organ donor box checked off.
  21. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    For you A motorcycle is a bad idea.

    As you said your self you been in 3 wrecks and 2 of them are because you were not paying attentions plus god knows how many close calls for the same reason.
    Just because you think the bike will require your full attention does not mean after you get confortable you will not go back to your old bad habits like checking your phone while riding a bike. It is not that hard to pull a phone out of a pocket and look down on it while riding.

    About your only good argument.
    All that safety gear is no substitute for the protection 2000+ lb of steel provides Plus if you are hit or hit a car and you are on a bike you are even more screwed since the car has a hell of a lot more mass. Car vs Bike car ALWAYS wins.

    Add in the fact bikes are very often not seen at all by other drivers and are filtered out. It is not that the drivers are not paying attention but the fact that it has been shown that a bike is of small enough size that they are completely missed. When people look in their review mirrors they are looking for cars and other info is generally filtered out by the brain. A Bike quite a few people is on the smaller side of the scale so it gets filtered out. Also drivers struggle to judge distance between them and the bike because again the bike is a smaller size than what is normally on the road so they over estimate the distance between them and the bike.

    Key word is responsible which clearly you are not. You are more likely to do something stupid like check your phone on a bike and when you do it, you will completely lack the protection of the frame of your car and riding a bike requires a lot more attention and responsibility that a car. Some one on a bike should always assume they are not being seen by the other cars on the road and have to adjust accordingly.
  22. bobertoq macrumors 6502a

    Feb 29, 2008
    This is why I wouldn't recommend getting a motorcycle. Age is irrelevant. If you can't be safe in a car, I doubt you can be safe on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are far more dangerous and difficult to drive. You may be required to pay attention more, but that doesn't make it much safer.
  23. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    Get the best protective gear you can afford and always use it.

    Get training, lots of it. There is no substitute for experience but training helps you last long enough to gain that experience.

    Alcohol and bikes never mix.

    As a beginner stay away from sports bikes, they are too powerful, even the small ones. Start on a too powerful bike and you will always be afraid of it.

    Ignore the non riding public, most don’t have a clue. Talk to actual riders. Do try and find the sensible ones though, plenty of idiots on bikes.

    If you do decide to ride you will find that motorcycles are almost the best way to see the world, only just beaten by the bicycle. :)
  24. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    it depends on the motorcycle and on the experience of the driver.

    how good a rider are you? how big?
    if this is your very first bike, you should start with a 250-350 bike tops, possibly cruiser-style.
    The sv650 is way too powerful for a beginner bike, no matter what your boss says. get a used small bike so you can upgrade in a year or so, when your skills have improved.

    I think that to drive an over 500 cc bike one should be over 21 or having you motorbike license for at least 2 years, whichever come later (i think on similar lines regarding powerful cars, btw).

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