While most teenagers dream of getting their first cars, there are others who have their hearts set on a bike. As a parent, you may have already heard the horror stories and feel anxious about following through with the purchase.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists do face higher risks than almost all other road-users. The NHTSA reports that bikers are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants in a passenger vehicle.
Even so, there are some things you can do to help keep your teen safe. While none of these offer foolproof protections, they may give you peace of mind and save lives.
Knowing how to ride a bike is one thing; knowing how the rules of the road apply is quite another. Ensure your teen has the opportunity to review the road rules and become familiar with them. Your teen may also need to become acquainted with the local driving habits to better anticipate driver behavior.
Does someone else in your family ride bikes? Is that person a good role model? Start off by letting your teen learn the ropes from this person. Even if your teen already feels confident in his or her ability to handle a bike, make it a condition of them getting the bike her or she wants. You might also found local classes.
Before purchasing the bike, take your teen shopping for gear. Teens may feel less inclined to wear safety gear, so keep his or her fashion sense in mind. The NHTSA recommends heavy denim and leather jackets to cover the arms and legs. You also need a DOT-approved helmet. The good news is that much of this modern gear looks great.
Naturally, you also want to ensure your teen has all the proper licensing and insurance before he or she takes the first ride. Your teen's safety may also benefit from your routine check-ins to ensure he or she still takes safety checks and precautions seriously.