WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Mailbag: How to convince the parents to let me ride a motorcycle

By James - 6/3/2008

Seth has a problem that a lot of young people run into when trying to get into motorcycling.

I am very interested in learning how to ride and then buying my first bike. My parents are against it because they feel that motorcycles are too dangerous. I am trying to find information that will help them change there view. Can you point me in the right direction? Thank you for your time and help.

Bikes are dangerous. Let me start with the bad news. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to die, per mile driven, than a motorist. Add injuries and as a motorcyclist you are more than 80 times in danger than a cager. For comparison, horseback riding, sky diving, and jet skiing are more dangerous than motorcycling; do your parents let you do any of these?

The good news is that the chances of dieing on a US road per mile driven are minuscule. The chances of dieing on a motorcycle are 30 times minuscule, or still minuscule. You can also prevent most of the serious injuries with proper gear selection, like armored jackets and pants, boots, gloves, and most important, a full faced helmet. So unless you can afford to drop at least $1000 on proper gear, you need to start saving. Receipts for the gear I wear when I ride probably total around $2500. Insurance for a young male on a motorcycle can be expensive as well. It is recommended that you get quotes for potential bikes before you buy them so you know what you are getting into.

According to Progressive Insurance, the most crashed motorcycles are Suzuki’s GSX-Rs, Honda’s CBRs, Yamaha’s R series, and Kawasaki’s Ninjas. The least crashed bikes are the small displacement cruisers, like the 250cc Virago and Rebel, 500cc Vulcans and the 600cc Shadows. Starting on a small displacement cruiser might not impress your friends, but it will go a long way for your parents.

Take the MSF class. This will get you familiar with motorcycles and let you figure out what kind of bike you want. If you pass, it exempts you from the riding part of the motorcycle test. Then go to the DMV and take the written part of your test and get your motorcycle license. This will show your parents you are committed to doing it.

I had the same problem. It was not until after I was out of college, after I stopped living with my parents, paying my own rent could I get a bike. And even then it was hard for my mom not to be worried sick.

To sum up,

  1. Go to the MSF class
  2. Take the test and get your license
  3. Work on your parents. Show them you are responsible and make sure you don’t get any speeding tickets.
  4. Buy your protective gear
  5. Get a 250cc-600cc cruiser to learn on. Nothing scares your parents more than a “crotch rocket”
Good luck and I hope you are in the wind for many years.



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  1. I waited 32 years….
    Then it was easy.
    “look, my bike !”

    Comment by R — 6/18/2008 @ 11:04 am

  2. Seth, as a parent and newbie rider, I can see both sides of your situation. My advice: Take the MSF class, pay for it yourself, and then tell your folks how much your insurance discount is (mine is 10%). Save for riding gear, but don’t buy anything beyond the gloves and boots you need for the class till they relent–you may outgrow some of it before that happens. If you are underage and need their permission for the class, tell them it will make you a safer and more aware driver, which it will. You will only truly convince them by your behavior: Follow the rules they set, delay any rebellious tendencies until you are on your own, be patient. It won’t keep them from worrying, but your chances of getting a bike increase every time you show them that they can trust your judgment. Good luck!

    Comment by tiny — 6/26/2008 @ 5:16 am

  3. Seth, if you’re under 18, your parents know you too well, and that’s why they’re not letting you have a bike. But if you’re over 18, why are you worried about your parents?

    Comment by Steve Johnson — 7/3/2008 @ 2:36 am

  4. I can’t say enough about taking a basic saftey class and really showing some real responsibilty with all your vehicles and eventually your parents will be ok with it. It took my mom along time to realize that I would be as responsible as I possibly could and that in itself would cut down on the risk. Also I rode a cruiser and not a crotch rocket which helped a lot. Happy trails Seth and be patient you’ll eventually get what you want

    Comment by crash — 7/3/2008 @ 5:32 pm

  5. man, im 24 years old and my parents still even refuse the idea of talking about me buying a bike, even though its my own money. i just cant buy the damn thing without having their conscent! man, conscent? they always make it like im getting married to the bike ?! anyway parents will be parents

    Comment by Annonymous — 8/11/2008 @ 12:07 pm

  6. I also highly recommend the motorcycle safety class. I took it in 2001 and can still hear the instruction saying “keep you head up” Been riding ever since. Riding down for Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach in October…yahoo!

    Comment by Brenda Brinkerhoff — 8/15/2008 @ 11:14 am

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