Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Motorcycles for 16 Year Olds

Motorcycles are great vehicles to get you around town. They have low insurance costs, they are cheap to operate, and they can get you to places quicker because of their smaller size. However, motorcycles are not for everybody and can be dangerous or deadly in the hands of a wrong person.

When a 16 year old has recently acquired his driving permit, there are many things to learn and many experiences to gain on the topic of driving. Some of these things can be taught, but others will only come with age. A motorcycle is not the best mode of transportation when a person is just beginning to get experience in driving. Driving is more than just pointing your wheels in the direction you want to go. Driving is about self-control and obedience, both of which may not exist exist in a 16 year old. It takes time and experience before all immature driving behaviors and tendencies can be suppressed by a first time driver, yielding to common sense and safe driving practices. Some of these tendencies include the urge to stunt, race, speed, and in general, show off. There is no room for behaviour like this on a motorcycle because there is so little margin for error and the effects are usually devastating should something go wrong. At least a car gives you some protection should you screw up.

There is also the need to get used to driving in all kinds of traffic conditions and being adaptive to those conditions. There are things like road markers and signs that must be obeyed. As a new rider, you have to understand all the rules of the road and react to them accordingly. You also have to drive attentively and defensively, always being prepared for what the other driver may or may not do. There is also the issue of driving according to the environments, road conditions, and other random and uncontrollable factors. Driving is not a simple task and requires ample concentration. A young driver only has to learn how to drive a manual transmission car in traffic to understand the complexities of driving. A motorcycle is 10 times more demanding on your concentration than a car with a manual transmission. If you didn't already know, 99.5% of motorcycles only come with a manual transmission.

When motorcycling, all limbs of your body are being used to control the bike. Your left hand works the clutch while your right hand manages the front brakes. Your left foot changes the gears on your bike, while your right foot modulates the rear brakes. In addition, there are other controls that must be done by the rider at any given time which includes turning on the signals, turning off the signals, powering the headlights, switching the fuel reserve tank, and much more. Finally, a motorcycle is not enclosed in a metal cage. In a car, if you make a mistake and get into an accident, that metal cage will protect you. In a motorcycle, you get only one chance. Screw it up and you are done.

There have been many new motorcycle riders that have come up to me for feedback or opinion on riding motorcycles and selecting the right bike to learn. I have always turned young drivers away from motorcycles unless they have had at least 1 year or 15,000 miles of driving experience. I feel that this driving experience is detrimental to the survival of all motorcycle riders. You cannot shortcut this life lesson and in doing so, you would be unwisely taking a chance. Please spend at least 1 year on a car before considering a motorcycle. Bikes are not everyday vehicles. They should be avoided on windy, snowy, rainy days. They should be avoided when the roads are slippery due to sand, dirt, or gravel. You don't get air conditioning (A/C) on hot days. And finally, you cannot pick up 4 friends to go out for a night into town. If you are selecting your first vehicle, avoid a motorcycle for all the reasons stated above. As a 16 year old, you just do not have the self-control and common sense to ride a motorcycle safely.

By Melvin S. Tan

1 comment:

Patio Furniture said...

very informative, i love this article