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Convince my parents to let me get a motorcycle license

  1. Aug 17, 2010 #1
    Now that I've got my drivers license, I've been trying to convince my parents to let me get a motorcycle license. The only problem is they think they're too "Dangerous" for me to ride. Unfortunately it looks like I wont be able to go for my motorcycle license until I'm 18 :frown:


    I've tried to tell that that bikes were in fact less dangerous that cars, but they wont buy it (I got desperate, I don't even know if it's true).

    I know some of you guys on here must ride, any advice?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2010 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Motorcycles

    I used to ride until about the third time I almost died. Most people sell their bikes when common sense takes over due to age.

    Dirt and trailbikes, no problem. Street bikes? Forget it! You are highly exposed and vulnerable on a motorcycle. What would normally be a minor traffic incident, can mean life or death, or a life in a wheelchair, to a biker.
     
  4. Aug 17, 2010 #3
    Re: Motorcycles

    :rofl: What kind of bike did you ride?
     
  5. Aug 17, 2010 #4

    berkeman

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    Re: Motorcycles

    I think that the single most important thing about getting your motorcycle license is to have a mentor to help you learn to ride, and to help you learn survival strategies on the street (and to help you understand and control your urges to go fast and stunt).

    I'm soon going to be in this position with my son. He's been riding motocross with me since he was 6 or so, and is a very good rider in the dirt. He just turned 16, and is very much wanting his streetbike license, which will happen sometime soon based on his grades. I've always planned on mentoring him in his first few rides on the street, and hope to get 2-way radios that we can use as we ride together.

    Honestly, no, streetbike riding is quite dangerous, even with a careful rider and lots of experience. And with a newbie rider, it is even more dangerous. It's a little bit like the old fighter pilot saying from WWII -- if the pilot survives the first month in theater, they will mostly likely survive their tour. You learn so much in the first year or two of riding streetbikes, and it's real imortant, IMO, to have an experienced rider that you trust to help you learn how to ride well.

    BTW, a big part of streetbike riding, IMO, is to take part in racetrack classes and track days, to give yourself the thrill of speed that can be a great part of riding, but to do it in a controlled, racetrack environment. Riding fast and stunting really has no place on the public roads, and having access to racetrack riding really does help you to stay mellow on the public roads, while having the time of your life on racetracks. Here are two schools that I really like:

    www.classrides.com (Reg Pridmore)

    www.starmotorcycle.com (Jason Pridmore)

    Do you know any experienced/responsible riders who your parents trust to mentor you?
     
  6. Aug 17, 2010 #5

    cronxeh

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    Re: Motorcycles

    I've been saving for a Harley Davidson Fatboy (the bike from Terminator 2) for a month now, and I think I'll pick up a used one sometime next March. Personally I don't like sport bikes. I rode my friend's (he has a kawasaki ninja zx-6r). My legs get cramped and its very uncomfortable to ride one
     
  7. Aug 17, 2010 #6
    Re: Motorcycles

    Well, my dad has a friend who used to ride bikes a lot in his youth. the problem is that he lives 45 minuets away from us, not to mention that he is usually busy.

    Edit: I forgot about another family friend (kinda of a family friend at least) who rides, bu he rides Harleys, I want a sports bike, would that suffice?
     
  8. Aug 17, 2010 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Motorcycles

    I rode a Honda 750, and a Suzuki GT 380 cafe racer [3 cylinders, two-stroke!].

    Once, a car had stalled in my lane, in the dark, in the rain, on a curve, on the freeway. I managed to avoid hitting the car, but I started fishtailing wildly with traffic right on my tail. It was a very, very close call, and there was no way to prevent it.

    Another time, I hit what must have been diesel fuel on the freeway. My tires suddenly lost traction! I only managed to stay up by slamming my feet down on the ground at 60 mph; left side, then right, then left, then right, and nearly going down each time. Again, I came very close to meeting my maker as traffic was right behind me.

    Another time, I had a fuel line plug just as I was cutting across lanes at an interchange. The woman behind me [who was moving across lanes in the opposite direction] had to slam on the brakes, which in turn sent cars spinning out all over the freeway, with me sitting right in the middle of the action. It was nothing short of a miracle that neither I or anyone else was hurt. And again, being that this was on the freeway, going down or getting hit carried a high probability of serious injury or death.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  9. Aug 17, 2010 #8
    Re: Motorcycles

    I got my motorcycle license before I got my car license, and I used a motorcycle as my primary means of transportation for about 6 months. Probably wasn't the safest move. Since then, I put 15,000 miles on three bikes. Some thoughts:

    - Without a doubt, it is dangerous, much more so than driving a car. IIRC, the fatality rate per mile traveled is 30 times higher for motorcycles than for cars.

    - Start with a slow bike, preferably a cruiser. The power in a 600cc crotch rocket is way more than any newbie can handle. It's easy to end up on the ground with a flick of the wrist.

    - Know your limitations and never, ever, let emotions overcome common sense. Act like you're a boring old man. Personally, with my years of experience, I never ride in the rain, I very rarely split lanes, and I try to avoid traffic altogether. The idea is that you do not want to be in a position where you're at risk of going down, because going down is likely to lead to injury or death.

    - A few years of experience driving a real car can reduce the risk, because you learn by heart (a) that other drivers sometimes do stupid things, and (b) that cars can appear out of nowhere. And both of those things can hurt you. For example, if you're riding down a calm residential street, you instinctively learn to stay in the lane furthest from the curb and to scan the side of the street for stupid drivers who decide to pull out in front of you out of some hidden driveway, and to drive slow enough to be able to stop if such a driver materializes. Whereas a 'newbie' might just go 10 over the speed limit without paying much attention ... and 364 days a year he'll be just fine. And on the 365th day he'll learn a very costly lesson.

    On freeways, I try to make sure that I have no cars to either side, 3 seconds in front of me, and 2 seconds behind me. If it can't be achieved, I feel that I probably shouldn't be there. Because I know from experience that cars in front of me can suddenly hit their brakes, cars to the side can change lanes without using their turn signals. And they are more likely to not to notice me on a bike than in a car.

    On the other hand, some people can drive cars for decades and still fail to learn anything. So it's really up to you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  10. Aug 17, 2010 #9
    Re: Motorcycles

    The absolute best resource for a new rider is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (http://www.msf-usa.org/). The "Basic RiderCourse" is 15 hours (2 days) -- 5 hours classroom, 10 on the bikes. Motorcycle and helmet are provided.

    They also offer one-day classes for experienced riders and dirt bikes. I took the Experienced RiderCourse about 15 years ago. Even though I had some 10 years and tens of thousands of miles experience, I still learned quite a bit. Things that I still use every time I ride.

    Another bonus: Most insurance companies offer a discount for completion of the MSF class.
     
  11. Aug 18, 2010 #10
    Re: Motorcycles

    Do be careful! Even for the most careful rider, it's the other guy you have to worry about.

    I stopped riding after my aunt and uncle were killed when another vehicle ran a red light. They had on full riding leathers and top of the line full-faced helmets.

    The impact occured at 32 mph.
     
  12. Aug 18, 2010 #11

    wolram

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    Re: Motorcycles

    It is a sad thing to say, but after riding for 45 years bikes just are not safe on today's roads.
     
  13. Aug 18, 2010 #12
    Re: Motorcycles

    Sounds to me Ivan that its freeways you have a problem with.
     
  14. Aug 18, 2010 #13

    turbo

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    Re: Motorcycles

    Bikes are definitely more dangerous for you than cars, in part because you can do something that places yourself in danger without knowing it, and people in other vehicles can maim or kill you quite easily. I sold my last bike recently, but rode Harley cruisers since 1985, after over a decade of playing with over-powered light Japanese bikes.

    Some situations are very counter-intuitive, and if you don't do the right (but non-instinctive) thing, you're not going to come out of it well. For instance, one day a couple of years ago, a state trooper was overtaking me at a high rate of speed. I hit the front and rear brakes and the clutch and slid into the breakdown lane to let him pass. Since I had both brakes on pretty firmly, I unloaded the rear wheel enough that it slipped on the painted line of the breakdown lane. I was still going plenty fast, but now with a locked-up rear wheel. The instinctive thing would be to let off the rear brake (which would probably have made me flip the bike at a high rate of speed), but luckily I knew enough to keep the rear brake locked up and ride out the fish-tailing until I could safely regain control and get back into the travel lane. A newbie would be a wet, red patch on the pavement.

    I can't tell you how many times I have been put in mortal danger by uncaring/ignorant people driving cars and trucks, including tailgaters, people who pass inappropriately, and people who are just plain "out of it" due to distractions like kids, cell phones, etc.
     
  15. Aug 18, 2010 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Motorcycles

    More specifically, Los Angeles freeways. But something like a diesel spill can happen anywhere. That was really bad as it was like hitting ice. Suddenly, I had NO control. If I had been on the 750 instead of the 380, I probably would have gone down. I was only able to power through it because the bike was relatively light.

    The funny thing is that I did a lot of crazy stuff, but the close calls all happened when I was riding safely.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  16. Aug 18, 2010 #15

    turbo

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    Re: Motorcycles

    That's another thing that bike newbies often don't get. Sometimes mass and good braking can get you out of trouble, and sometimes a light bike with a high power:weight ratio can do as well. For a while, I rode a Yamaha RD350 - the fastest 2-stroke in its class, and I often found the throttle to be as important to my well-being as the brakes.
     
  17. Aug 18, 2010 #16
    Re: Motorcycles

    Well after you basically insulted them for thinking they'd believe that, no wonder they won't let you have one.
     
  18. Aug 19, 2010 #17
    Re: Motorcycles

    I only said that in reference to high speed, I thought as long as I didn't get run over, it would be safer on a motorcycle because of the not so sudden stop.
     
  19. Aug 19, 2010 #18
    Re: Motorcycles

    So it's safer to hit something and fly off the motorcycle than to hit something and have your body stop instantly? I see where that would make sense, but whatever you hit has to be lower than the height at which you fly off the motorcycle. If you hit something, then fly forward and your body still hits it, then that's no good. You would have to hit something really low, so when you fly off your motorcycle, you go over it. And really, unless you have a stack of hay to land on, that landing on the street will probably be worse than if you were strapped to a car, especially if you have an airbag.
     
  20. Aug 19, 2010 #19
    Re: Motorcycles

    As a new young rider I would suggest learning to ride in the dirt to start. I would not let my boys ride a motorcycle on the street until they were 18, just to give them a couple of years of learning traffic in the safety of a cage.

    My thoughts on riding are simple, ninety-nine percent of the drivers out there don't see you and the other one percent are actively trying to kill you. :surprised

    I have just returned from Sturgis and everyone in our group of eight can tell you a story of our ride, highlighted with a close call. Things that in a cage of steel would be no big thing, on a bike can kill you. For example; while traveling home I was riding south on I-25 just north of Cheyenne, when a oil line on my 1980 shovel came lose and covered my rear tire with oil, my first thought "this is going to hurt", but keeping calm and using only the front brake I made it to the side of the road. In a car a lose oil line is no problem but as I can tell you on a bike it could be a death sentence. o:).

    If you want to ride, for sure, find someone to teach and travel with you. Learn to control your bike at slow speeds first, less than 20 mph and take all the riding classes you can which is place you can find riders like you. Good luck. :wink:
     
  21. Aug 19, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Motorcycles

    I think that is an excellent idea. In fact, I was going to say the same thing and never did. A couple of years on the dirt allows one to really get comfortable with the machine under the worst conditions. And there is nothing like an 80 mph power slide! :biggrin: Fun in the dirt, but you don't want to do that on the street, ever.

    My cousin flies over from France almost every year for that. I always wanted to go but have never made it. It also happens to be very near where my family homesteaded around the turn of the century. Much of the land in that area once belonged to someone in the family.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  22. Aug 19, 2010 #21
    Re: Motorcycles

    For once, I agree 100% completely with leroy. There is no possible way of selling the idea that a bike is in anyway more safe than a car.

    There was an old 'in joke' from some friends that worked in a hospital that motorcylists are mobile organ doners, especially when it's raining.
     
  23. Aug 19, 2010 #22

    berkeman

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    Re: Motorcycles

    There's a reason that streetbike riders who crash and die are not considered for organ donation. Brutal EMT humor. Any guesses?

    So don't crash folks. There's a lot that goes into that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
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