How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Ride a Motorcycle

7 tips for tackling the tricky conversation.

Motorcycle Risks
Motorcycles can be rewarding, but new riders will need to be aware of the risks involved before talking to parents.Motorcyclist

Some parents are eager to place their infants atop a motorcycle before they’ve even learned to walk, and others swear on their ancestors’ graves that they’ll do whatever it takes to keep their children away from this “dangerous” lifestyle. My parents had firm roots in the latter of those two categories.

But here you are. You’re young, impressionable, and eager to throw a leg over a bike and feel the wind on your face and adrenaline pump through your veins. Maybe you’re frustrated after having just been told by your parents that you’re to never consider bringing a motorcycle home while living under their roof.

We were there once, so consider these tactics if you want to end up becoming one of us.

Step 1: Admittance

Before you go anywhere or do anything, first sit yourself down and learn to accept the fact that riding motorcycles can be very dangerous. Any way you twist it, you won't be able to get away from the fact that this sport requires agility, focus, and mental dexterity. Any other version of that truth you might try and convince yourself of is incorrect. The important thing to take away from this is that proper understanding of how and where a motorcycle operates and the inherent risks of its environment will help lower your chances of ending up a statistic.

Step 2: The Research

Yep, there's homework involved. Look up the statistics that surround motorcycle crashes. Do some searching and see what you uncover in terms of how much motorcycle technology has advanced in the past 10 years alone. Rider aids, ABS, it's all there to make the experience (and you) safer. You might be surprised to learn that motorcycles are also very fuel-efficient, thanks to their power-to-weight ratios—great for commuting back and forth to classes and finding parking at crowded college lots.

Learning Motorcycle Functions
Canyon carving might look like fun, but you’ll need to remember to take your time to learn how to motorcycle functions on a basic level before kicking your pace up.Motorcyclist

Step 3: The Ego Check

Here it is: If you're trying to ride in an attempt to show off or impress someone else, you're not in this for the right reasons. A bike can be a personality statement all by itself; it doesn't need you attempting to help it along by fantasizing about laying rubber down in your campus parking lot, or racing that Chevy Cobalt to the next stop light. It only takes one serious mistake, so if you're prone to throwing caution to the wind, learn how to properly keep a handle on your ego and shrug off reckless behavior.

Step 4: The Gear

One of the most common things I see while out riding is an ignorance of proper attire among riders. I get it, it's your choice, and if you want to wear flip flops, shorts and a tank top, be my guest—just don't expect your parents to be on board. Instead, try talking to someone at a motorcycle gear store about different types of helmets, gloves, jackets, boots, etc. The used market is full of great items to help keep you safe on a budget. You'll be amazed at the variety of what you'll find—and you'll definitely learn a thing or two. Having the correct gear and taking the time to research safety ratings will show that you're committed to making your experience a safe one.

Motorcycle gear
Even if it’s not your preference, parents will still feel more comfortable knowing you’re protected by the correct gear—and that means a jacket and gloves, too!Motorcyclist

Step 5: The Rider's Course

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The help is out there, and one of the biggest turning points in my pursuit was signing up for a motorcycle safety course. Here is where you'll learn the basics. Most all motorcycles have manual transmissions, which can be tricky to learn if you're not already familiar with how they work. The job of the safety course instructor is to help you understand how inputs from the rider affect the bike, as well as training in the safety of a closed parking lot. Even if you already know how to ride, a safety course can help you master some of the more difficult maneuvers and many of my colleagues came away much better riders after taking courses like these later in their riding careers. Often, insurance companies will offer unique benefits to those who complete the class.

Step 6: The Small Bike Dilemma

Here's where things get interesting. I know a lot of talented riders who started out riding a scooter or small motorcycle before moving up to something larger and more powerful. If you're allowing yourself to be swayed by your friend who tells you that you'll be "bored" with your 250cc, or that a scooter is stupid, ignore them. I don't care what their argument is, we're talking about you, not them. There are benefits that simply can't be argued with about starting small, and if it means you'll have to stick with a 150cc scooter while you're learning to handle a two-wheeled vehicle in traffic, then so be it.

Learn at own pace
If you let someone else talk you into a bike you’re not comfortable riding because the one you were looking at was “too small”, remember: just ignore them. They aren’t you, and it’s important to take everything at your own pace.Motorcyclist

Step 7: The Presentation

Understanding when to discuss this with your parents is key. You don't want to come off as imposing, aggressive, or spiteful. Take their feelings into consideration, and be sure to take what they have to say to heart. Sure, you've got a goal in sight and you won't stop until you make it there, but you need to understand that these things take time. Don't expect your parents to change their mind overnight. Seeing things from their point of view and being open to their feelings on the matter can help establish a stronger line of trust between you. It's similar to riding in traffic: Take a minute, breathe, and don't be in a hurry. Rushing very rarely yields positive results.