Many kids love to pretend they are real drivers. Race cars speeding around the track are exciting. The noise of revving engines, the possibility of danger, and the hero status of drivers bring many newcomers to the sport and keep them for life. Perhaps your child is one of these fans. He or she may also want to enter the world of motor racing at a very young age. Some riders begin their careers as young as two years old.
As a parent, you naturally have concerns and reservations about allowing your preschooler or primary school-age child to ride a motorized vehicle. The sport of off-road motorcycle riding and racing is not without risk, let’s be honest. However, no sport is completely safe. Peewee football, swimming, and gymnastics are just three examples of other sports where an injury is a possibility. As in any sport, following safety rules is crucial and parents must be aware of and follow each of them.
Motorcycle safety tips for kids & parents
1. Is motorcycling right for your child and your family?
If you want your child to enter the racing world, here are the crucial deciding factors.
- Are there safe local riding sites and trails?
- Can you find room in your budget to buy safety gear and to enroll in rider training?
- How will you transport the bike from home to the riding sites?
- When you aren’t supervising the use of the vehicle, how will you secure it?
- Is either parent knowledgeable about motorcycle riding or maintenance?
2. Buy safety gear to protect your child
Whether your child will be riding around the backyard, a neighboring farm, or a race track, parents should never allow them to do so without a full set of protective gear
- Knee and elbow pads
- Jersey and pants
3. Limit the power of the vehicle
Children should begin driving a vehicle with a 50cc motor, the smallest size engine available. If the engine size is higher, the bike should be throttle-limited to 50cc power.
4. Choose riding sites carefully
Don’t ask private owners to use their property for riding unless you know they approve and have adequate property insurance. They can be held liable for injuries even if the owner didn’t know anyone was using the property to ride. There are public recreation areas that are dedicated to riding. These are far safer to use. Rocks, sticks, and trees are injuries waiting to happen. The track needs to be clear of all obstacles and regularly maintained.
5. Choose riding sites carefully
You might find a suitable course or an instructor through your local motocross dealer. Classes in motorcycle riding will begin paying back the investment almost immediately. Unless you are an experienced rider, don’t try to do this yourself. A basic rider’s course will make the sport enjoyable from the start.
6. Make plans for supervising access
The temptation to take the bike out for a little spin will be strong. Don’t let your child give in. Lock the bike so well that there is no way for the bike to be taken. Prevention and pound of cure are at work here.
7. Don’t let them race until they can ride
Becoming excited about the races is natural. It’s a great idea to travel to some of the races held in your area before your child decides on racing or not. Let them get a feel of the noise, the activity, and what racing the motorcycles around a dirt track is all about. Racing is for when they are entirely competent at riding.
8. Join a riders’ club
If there is a local or regional club for young riders, joining is a great idea. They will often hold meets, are an excellent resource for educators and coaches, and introduce your kids to others in the sport. These organizations are quite attuned to safety and are useful resources.
9. Keep a first-aid Kit near the rider
Children will fall off a bike, be burned by the motor, may get sick from the heat, or any of a thousand other potentials for injury. A first aid kit should be carried by an adult supervising the racer. Fanny packs are easily accessed and out of the way.
10. Always supervise all the time
Don’t fall into the trap of talking with other adults or children while your child is racing. Only pay attention to the rider. You will need to be able to quickly react in case something goes wrong.