Introducing a Child to Motorcycling

Introducing a child to motorcycling is a big step. There’s a joy that comes from passing on our enthusiasm for two wheels.

However, there’s a way to ride with your kids, and then there’s the correct way to ride with your kids. For those of us who learned to ride in the “pre-rider-training” days (a neighbor’s mini bike with nothing more than a tree for brakes!), the scrapes and bruises of learning by the trial-and-error have faded away. Nevertheless, the bad habit of learning with little or no instruction still plagues many mature riders. Every kid is different. How can you tell if yours is ready to ride? Here’s a checklist:

Are they really interested?

A child who makes incessant motorcycle sounds at 2-years old might be ready, while a 6-year old with a passing interest may not be. What you want to avoid is forcing riding on a kid who doesn’t want it. This will only turn them off.

Can they judge obstacles?

The child needs to be able to steer around things either on a bicycle or a tricycle. If they can’t, don’t put them on a motorcycle.

How strong are their hands?

It’s a simple question, but many parents overlook it. Kids need to apply the brakes firmly and turn the throttle steadily before they can be expected to do so reliably and safely.

Do they have the coordination?

They must employ a control of the bike and reflexes must be tested. They can only ride once they’ve developed split-second reflexes to commands such as, “show me the brake, show me the gas, show me the clutch.”

Do they have patience?

A kid must be able to focus in order to operate a motorcycle. Regardless of physical abilities, if they can’t concentrate they won’t be able to use those abilities properly.

2 Responses

  1. Some of the off-road gloves are made well with abrasion-resistant material, but you may also find small road gloves, which tend to have better abrasion-resistant coverage. My research uncovered an alarming number of instances when a child fell or was ejected from a motorcycle that didn’t crash, often with horrifying results.

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