Encourage Kids to Ride Motorcycles

Tips #98-99 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

kid riding motorcycle with dad in the background
Encourage your kids!Cycle World

Kids are the future of motorcycling. Get them started early, and you’re ensuring the future of the sport. Better still, riding is good, clean fun.

Riding a motorcycle is all about personal responsibility, and the sooner a kid learns about that concept, the happier he or she will be.

If you have a streetbike, put them on the passenger seat and take them for a ride. If they’re old enough, getting them on their own dirtbike is even better.

And you know what? Someday when you’re in the old-folks’ home, that same kid may show up to visit you. Or better yet, spring you from that place for a couple of hours and take you for a ride. Ain’t payback grand?

Ride Safely with Your Kids

When is a child old enough to go for a ride? It’s really less a matter of age and more about size and strength. Junior needs to be able to hold on securely and put his or her feet on the footpegs—you may need to improvise some peg extensions or blocks. And depending on your girth and the child’s arm length, holding on around your waist may not be an option. A belt for you with handles the child can grip is a better option if your machine lacks handholds that are kid-friendly. Here are some other things to consider.

  • Check all local and state laws and guidelines. Some regions restrict the age of a child passenger, or have other rules. This information should be easily available online; if not, call your local department of motor vehicles or other similar agency.
  • Never carry a child in front of you.
  • Make sure the child wears the same level of protective clothing as any other rider, especially a helmet and eye protection.
  • Keep the rides short and fun. If a child falls asleep, you may not notice until he falls off.
  • Choose a bike with a passenger backrest if possible.
  • Make sure the child is mature enough to understand and obey instructions.
  • Make sure the child is enjoying the ride. If you frighten him now with excessive speed or scary lean angles, he may dislike bikes forever.
  • Provide positive feedback—take photos, tell them how well they did, ask if they had fun.