Your teenager sharing that they want to learn how to ride a motorcycle can strike fear in a parent’s heart. Whether you ride motorcycles yourself or stick to four-wheeled vehicles, you know that motorcycle riding presents a heightened risk of injury (or worse) to the riders.
Should you exercise the parental veto power that you still have? Let’s explore your options.
Teens have mandated safety training
Here in California, no teen under 18 can get a permit to ride a motorcycle until they have taken and passed a motorcycle rider’s training course that is approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and which must be taken at a training site for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP).
There is an incremental system of motorcycle riding privileges in place for teenage riders. They must first pass the aforementioned course before they can even take the written portion of the DMV exam. Teenagers should focus on studying the agency’s motorcycle handbook to pass and qualify for their motorcycle instruction permit.
Those under 18 also must abide by all restrictions of the permit for six months, including:
- No motorcycle riding after dark
- Can’t ride with passengers
- Must stay off the freeway system
Only then they can receive their Class M endorsement for motorcycles on their California driver’s licenses.
Incentives to drive sober
Students can’t participate in the motorcycle training courses if they have convictions for impaired driving that restrict their driver’s licenses. To enroll, all restrictions must have been lifted and terms satisfied. Further, the teens must legally attest their driving privileges are not restricted to enroll.
If your teen is chomping at the bit to ride a motorcycle, that clause alone could keep them sober behind the wheel even when peer pressure to imbibe alcohol is strong.
Removing the forbidden fruit
Parents may want to consider the benefits of the tiered system and restrictions in place when teens learn to drive safely rather than by illegally riding with friends or otherwise riding unsupervised by authorities and parents.
If an accident occurs
Your teen could be the safest motorcycle rider ever and still wind up injured in a motorcycle accident. Parents can step in and help them get the medical treatment and legal guidance they need.