Ride With Your Child

Ride with your child!

By Florida Night Train


Riding with your child is, to say the very least, an exhilarating and rewarding experience.  Needless to say, it fosters a unique bond between parent and child. From the freedom of the open road to the practical advantages of transportation, motorcycle riding can enrich both the parent-child relationship and family life as a whole.  

I was driving to New Orleans from Tampa a few weeks ago, and I saw a dad and daughter cruising. His daughter must have been about 12 years of age. All dressed in her softball uniform, her dad was obviously taking her to a game or practice. I could not resist giving a thumbs up to dad. His daughter’s smile was from ear to ear. Glowing, proud, happy, embracing the only man who truly loves her and obviously feeling safe; this little girl was the happiest little girl on earth.

It is not without a degree of envy I write that. You see, my children and I always rode my Harley in the neighborhood. That is, until fear took hold of their mom and ripple effect into their hearts. Sometimes I’m out there and I would do anything to have one of my children share in those moments.

One of the most compelling aspects of riding motorcycles with your child is the sense of adventure it instills. For many parents, introducing their child to the world of motorcycling opens up a realm of exploration and discovery that transcends ordinary experiences. Whether it’s embarking on weekend rides through scenic landscapes or planning epic road trips together, the shared excitement of exploring new destinations strengthens the parent-child bond and creates lasting memories. I can attest to that. My dad and I would go all day long on his KZ900. Those are memories I will forever treasure!

Riding motorcycles with your child encourages a spirit of teamwork and communication. As a parent, guiding your child through the fundamentals of motorcycle safety and riding etiquette fosters responsibility and mutual trust. Teaching your child to navigate the roads safely instills valuable life skills and promotes a sense of independence while reinforcing the importance of listening and following instructions. Besides, as a parent would you rather be the one to teach those skills to your child or have some newie crackerjack do it with a mindset to show-off?

Beyond the thrill of adventure, riding motorcycles offers practical benefits for parents and families. In today’s fast-paced world, where traffic congestion is a common concern, motorcycles provide an efficient means of transportation, allowing parents to navigate through crowded streets with ease. Whether commuting to work, running errands, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride, motorcycles offer a convenient and cost-effective mode of travel for families on the go.

Furthermore, riding motorcycles promotes environmental consciousness by reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption compared to traditional automobiles. As parents, instilling eco-friendly habits in our children is paramount for shaping a sustainable future. By choosing motorcycles as a mode of transportation, parents can lead by example and teach their children the importance of environmental stewardship.

Another significant benefit of riding motorcycles with your child is the opportunity for quality time spent together outdoors. In today’s digital age, where screens often dominate our children’s attention, engaging in outdoor activities promotes physical health and well-being while fostering a deeper connection with nature. Whether it’s feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise down country roads or stopping to admire a breathtaking sunset, riding motorcycles encourages parents and children to unplug and savor the simple pleasures of life.

Riding motorcycles cultivates a sense of resilience and adaptability in children. Learning to navigate various road conditions and weather elements teaches valuable lessons in problem-solving and risk management. Overcoming challenges together strengthens the parent-child relationship and builds resilience that extends beyond the realm of motorcycling into other aspects of life.

Riding motorcycles as a parent, with your child, offers a plethora of beauty and benefits that enrich both the parent-child relationship and family life as a whole. From the sense of adventure and teamwork it fosters to the practical advantages of transportation and environmental consciousness, motorcycle riding provides a platform for shared experiences and lifelong memories. By embracing the joy of riding motorcycles together, parents can impart valuable lessons, strengthen bonds, and create cherished moments that will last a lifetime.

But what about the dangerous aspect of it a mother will say? There are so many deaths and accidents by motorcycles. Sure there are. Did you look at cancer deaths? What about car accident deaths? And if you looked at stats comparing accidents with children in a car versus accidents with children on motorcycles, year after year according to Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), statistics reveal that more people are killed in car crashes than they are in motorcycle crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) regularly gathers car crash statistics specific to passenger vehicles, which includes cars, minivans, pickups, and SUVs. According to the IIHS:

  • Of the 36,560 motor vehicle crash deaths that occurred in 2018, 63 percent were occupants in passenger vehicles.
  • Thirty-nine percent of those deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes, and 61 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes
  • In terms of age, the IIHS reports that 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed that year were under 25.
  • Just over 6,500 died in rollover crashes

The latest data from the NHTSA reveals the following about traffic crashes involving motorcycles:

  • In 2017, a total of 5,172 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes
  • Of those motorcyclists killed, 94 percent were riders and 6 percent were passengers.
  • A majority of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes (91 percent) were two-wheeled motorcycles.
  • Motorcyclists made up 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 17 percent of all occupant (driver and passenger) fatalities.

It’s common knowledge that drinking and driving is a terrible combination. But for those riding motorcycles, the risk of fatality is even higher. Here’s a startling fact from the NHTSA from 2016:

Motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle types (25% for motorcycles, 21% for passenger cars, 20% for light trucks, and 2% for large trucks).

Want more stats? https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death.  That link will show you motorcycle deaths does not even make it in the top ten.

All that said, no parent in their right minds will ride with a child in heavy dense traffic in the middle of a major city. Point here is, riding with your child is healthy for the child, the relationship with the child and equips the child quite well with life lessons. So please, don’t cave into fear—ride on with your child!