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Old 04-09-2010, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default I need advice... How can I convince my parents a motorcycle won't kill me?

Okay, well, I'm in a situation that I'm sure a lot of you can empathize with. I'm 16 years old, and basically for as long as I can remember I've wanted a motorcycle. Now that I have my driver's license, this dream is in the throws of reality. The only problem I have is that my parents vehemently oppose the idea, and have told me repeatedly that they're too dangerous and that I can't drive one. I've offered to pay for everything -- I have a good chunk of money saved up from various summer jobs, and I plan on working this summer to get even more of the stuff (I'll have like $6k) -- but money isn't even the issue. Now, I know that motorcycles are dangerous. I have a hunch they're not as bad as my parents are convinced they are, but they've still got to be at least a little less safe than cars. I've heard all the accident horror stories, but I'm willing to accept the risks, and honestly, I'm a responsible kid. I don't want to cruise at 140, I just want to have fun driving to and from school. Do you have any idea what... points, I guess, I could make to possibly turn my parents around to the idea? Arguments, suggestions, etc, I'd be glad to hear any of it.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:16 PM   #2
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You can't - it will. But who wants to live forever, eh?

Take the MSF Beginning Rider Course (BRC), it's for sure offered somewhere near you. I'd get on that right now - it's probably booked-up through July already.

Use at least a $1000 of that six to finance good-quality gear - helmet, armored jacket, gloves, back-protector, over-ankle leather boots at a minimum. I'd seriously consider a set of armored riding pants, too.

Only after all that, can you look for a bike. Start with something used - no bigger than a 250 or 500 for a sport-type bike, not a cc over 800 for a Cruiser, look around 400cc for the dual-sport type. Buy used; you WILL drop it. In fact, buy pre-dropped whenever possible.

Invest in Track Time - that's probably the easiest way to make friends (both local and long-distance) of the type you should want to cultivate - people that are not only responsible themselves, but are actively seeking to improve their own riding skills in a controlled environment.

Stay the hell away from the Stunters - much as you might be attracted to what they do, you should keep your distance from stupidity for a few more years, lest you absorb it yourself. Stunting itself isn't particularly stupid - it just has this tendency to degenerate into stupidity, and you really, really, really don't need that at this point in your learning curve. As well as the fact that most "Stunnaz" tend to show-off in the middle of traffic - if one gets the itch, every ass hole in the pack is wheelie'n and stoppie'n at about a buck-ten in rush-hour traffic.

Convincing the 'Rents will be particularly hard - quite likely impossible. But a demonstration of responsibility in committing to the BRC and the purchase of full-gear could go a long way toward easing their fears. One step at a time - work on getting permission for the BRC, then go from there.

Before anything else, and I mean ANYTHING else - you need to get yourself into the BRC. You may find that Motorcycling is not your bag. Or that you're such a klutz that nobody should allow you within 100' of a moto. Best to spend only a few-hundred to find this out now, rather than many thousands only to discover it later.

I've had friends killed on bikes - but I've had a FAR greater proportion of friends killed in car crashes. Probably as many people that I grew up with have been killed on a bike, as have been killed OD'n on some illicit drug. Far less than have been killed drinking and driving.
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Last edited by The_AirHawk : 04-09-2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:56 PM   #3
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Having been in a similar situation myself I can certainly empathize with you. The reality of it is that for the next two years your safety and wellbeing are the legal, not to mention moral and parental, responsibility of your folks. As such, and as a parent myself, I can tell you that there really is not much that is more troubling than the thought of your child in harms way. Now we can argue all day about how riding is or isn't risky or dangerous, and the various merits of accepting those risks, but the truth is that it really doesn't matter. Your parents thoughts on this will have been long ingrained and it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to convince them otherwise. Generally, if your parents don't ride, they won't let you.

The good news is that in just a couple short years you will be significantly more independent and if you still have the financial means, you can then buy your bike. This is basically what I did. That said, you should absolutely take the MSF course now and if your state supports it, you'll get your license at the end. You may not even need to buy gear for that if you have reasonable boots and gloves and your local MSF provides helmets for the course. If you take it and are convinced that you still want a bike, then start collecting what you'll need as you can afford it and find good deals. Craigslist is great for some gear - but buy a new helmet. I would never trust my skull to someone else's lid.

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:07 PM   #4
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Are there any family members who ride? Friends of your parents or co-workers that your aware of? Church members, neighbors or anyone else in other social circles? There is bound to be a rider in the woodpile somewhere who you maybe can use as a mentor. If said cyclist in the woodpile is not a good example of a responsible rider, make known what they're doing is wrong. Demonstrate your good common sense and willingness to learn the correct and safe way to ride & you may win them over.
My parents were the same way when I was 16, cira 1988, and I had $3500 saved from moving lawns & delivering newspapers (on a moped none the less), now 20+ years later Dad has seen me come & go for 15 or more of those years on a bike, and is curious about getting one now himself. I'll hope for your sake, a faster earning of the trust, but most importantly. DON'T PROVE THEM RIGHT.
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Old 04-10-2010, 04:41 AM   #5
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"Okay, well, I'm in a situation that I'm sure a lot of you can empathize with. I'm 16 years old, and basically for as long as I can remember I've wanted a motorcycle. Now that I have my driver's license, this dream is in the throws of reality. The only problem I have is that my parents vehemently oppose the idea, and have told me repeatedly that they're too dangerous and that I can't drive one."

Boy can I empathize! No set of parents were against motorycles more than mine were. I doubt anything will convince your parents that motorcycles are OK. Forget 'winning them over'. It isn't going to happen. People either hate or love motorcycles. You will have two choices: One is to obey your parents and not get a motorcycle. Two, is to learn how to ride on the sneak, and then just buy one and bring it home. I went that route. You will take a hammering initially, but once you don't back down, that will end eventually. The key is to stand your ground and hang in there. Remember, you can always stress that you aren't doing anything illegal, and that motorcycling is more risky than driving a car, but you are willing to take the risk. Point out that riding a motorcycle will keep you away from drugs and alcohol. That wasn't true in my case, but hammer that home and I think you will be in.
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:23 AM   #6
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Just be glad that it's not 1960 and you have to wait until you are 21.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:02 AM   #7
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Geez my parents gave me a motorcycle.

They never even asked where the hell I was going.

I think they wanted to get rid of me.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:13 AM   #8
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Yeah my parents were totally into motorcycles, my dad and his brother used to ride ISDT type Enduros, Motocross, Trials, you name it. He even drove in a few World Rally Car type races in the family Vauxaul Victor. Never was a question about me riding.

If I was in your shoes I'd do what the other guys have mention, take a class, gear up and just do it. If worse comes to worse you may have to wait till your 18. Some people just don't like motorcycles so you're not going to change their minds, instead you have to change your situation to where they can no longer stop you.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:00 PM   #9
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Well, motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than cars, and cars can kill you. You are 16 and likely have very little experience behind the wheel of a car, no matter how mature you are, the inexperience can get you. Your parents love you, they are responsible for you, and it is their job to worry about you. You won't be changing their minds about motorcycles. Until you are 18 you are absolutely under their rules, after 18, they still have significant control if you need them financially or you live with them.

Get training (if you can without their permission, if not, do the MSF course after you turn 18 ). Buy gear and show them that you will be responsible enough to use safety gear. Do not buy a bike now without their permission. That would prove just the opposite of what you want to prove, it would be highly irresponsible. Further, until you are 18, you cannot legally enter any contracts (including purchase contracts), and technically anything you own belongs to them- they could take your bike from you and sell it and even pocket the money themselves if they were so inclined.

One possibility, how wedded to the idea of a motorcycle are you? You might do better trying to convince them to get a scooter. You will be on two wheels, it will still be fun, it will be cheap transportation (a 50cc scooter from the big names, new, will be around $2K, a 150-200cc around $2500-3000, and you'll be near 100MPG). A 50cc usually is limited to around 30mph so you may find it easier to convince the parents, and with mods you can make it go faster. A 150cc will probably go around 50-60 so it will be less limiting, but still something that your parents may not fear as much. Get that, have fun, learn to control it at slow speeds, and when you don't need their approval in a few years you'll be even more ready for the motorcycle (several years experience on the roads in a car and a scooter aren't a bad thing).
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