They say you should crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run, but what about skipping a few steps and riding before you can drive? Whether inherited from a two wheel addicted parent, or born with an innate desire to ride, it’s not uncommon for children younger than 16 to want to ride a motorcycle in the form of a dirt bike. Parents may find themselves in quite the dilemma, is it too dangerous to buy a child a motorized dirt bike? Or is it actually safer for them to start learning how to ride at a younger age? Every parent will find themselves arriving to their answer in their own way for their own reasons, but here are some things to consider to help you find your answer for your child.
Step one, how is your kid on a bicycle?! Let your child develop balance, steering, and coordination skills on a pedal powered bicycle before diving into fuel injected motors. Explain to them that they need to know more than just how to ride a bike too. They need to put in some hours just riding their bikes around, so they can get the feel of being on two wheels that can only come with experiential practice. Even the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends riding a cycle before their safety training courses to prepare yourself, it may not seem like it but there are a lot of similarities between the two. This will also prevent buying a dirt bike too early. If your child is younger than 10, he or she is still growing rapidly, and that fun little 50 cc or even 35 cc bike will be quickly outgrown. If you have the resources for this then great, but look into waiting until your child can fit on a 70 cc bike, it will save you from an unnecessary upgrade, and give your child a bike they can better grow into and learn from.
Speaking of learning, the bike for your child doesn’t have to be like the 1000cc racer in your garage. Smaller sized bikes come in a variety of options. These include fully automatic, semi-automatic, or of course completely manual transmissions. Choosing the right configuration here will allow your child to safely develop the skills needed while having fun and exploring what motorcycling has to offer.
Now you may have read this and are still shaking your head, how can anyone ever let their child do that! Well, this still isn’t for everyone. You may want to wait until your child is even older and demonstrates responsibility and understands the risks. That’s fine too. And your child may turn out to not like riding a motorcycle at all once they own one. Search for friends or rental tracks where you can try out the sport before diving into it. Lastly, whether or not you get your child a dirt bike the important thing is that you get your child into something. Whether it’s motocross, soccer, or even chess, encourage your children to pursue different hobbies and activities. Studies have shown across the board that children who partake in hobbies, sports, or other activities, perform better in school and are less likely to engage in risky/illegal behavior. So do it for your child’s future, buy them a dirt bike!