Parents should avoid riding a motorcycle

Driving license at 16: what to do if you are afraid if your child wants to ride a motorcycle?

When teenagers want to get a motorcycle license during puberty, many parents have an uneasy feeling. But what do you do when your youngsters want to experience motorized freedom on two wheels?

A ban is not a solution. Well informed is the motto - and accompany the children. With the A1 driving license, young people aged 16 and over are allowed to drive two-wheelers with a capacity of 125 cubic centimeters (ccm) and up to 11 kW / 15 hp. You can start driving license lessons at the age of 15.5, but you will receive the document on your 16th birthday at the earliest.

How high are the costs?

The so-called small motorcycle license costs up to 2000 euros, depending on the region and the number of driving hours. "That sounds expensive," says Kurt Bartels from the North Rhine Driving Instructors Association. But it is a complete training that also includes driving in the dark or on the motorway. One advantage: if you start to get your car driver's license (class B) a year later, you already have driving experience - and you usually need fewer driving hours.

Which driving school is the right one?

Students find the best driving school through personal recommendations from friends or acquaintances. On the other hand, there are a few objective criteria:

"It is an advantage if the driving instructor accompanies his student on his own motorcycle in the first driving lessons and does not drive behind in the car," says Bartels.

"Those driving schools that have a certain affinity for motorcycles are good," confirms J├╝rgen Bente from the German Road Safety Council (DVR). Young people usually only get this from their experience through reports from other learner drivers. Parents could ask friends or colleagues for tips on driving schools that their children might consider.

How do beginners achieve sufficient driving safety?

According to Bente, awareness of the dangers of road traffic only develops at a young age. "Young drivers must therefore be trained intensively so that they can always expect the stupidity of all other road users," says the expert.

The subject of driving safety should therefore be a particular focus in the classroom. This includes awareness of defensive driving as well as incorrectly estimated speed - and the risk of falling. "In a good lesson, the learner driver is taught the Indian look: see everything and recognize dangers early," explains Bartels.

Before students register for lessons, they should be shown the driving school motorcycle and try it out. "The sitting position has to be comfortable and the driver has to have both feet fully touching the ground," says Bartels. The ABS driving safety system for 125cc machines offers an additional safety factor.

What protective clothing is required?

The protective clothing should fit and be in good condition. These include helmet, boots, pants, gloves and jacket with integrated back protector. It is best if the driver already has it himself and brings it with him, says Bartels. "Because this fits perfectly." However, you have to calculate several hundred euros for this. If you don't have the money, the driving schools provide the equipment.

How high is the risk?

Despite the falling number of accidents, motorcyclists live dangerously, figures from the Federal Statistical Office show. In 2017, 3,180 people died on German roads, 624 of them motorcyclists - although they only make up a small part of the traffic volume. Preliminary figures already showed that more bikers had fatal accidents in 2018. Good training for young motorcyclists is therefore imperative.

Bartels advises parents to attend the registration interviews. Some driving instructors also offer them to accompany them during driving lessons. "But as soon as young people get on motorcycles, they have a natural respect," reports Bartels. "You sit on it alone, recognize the dangers and are usually highly motivated to learn how to ride a motorcycle properly."

Which motorcycles are suitable for beginners?

Typical entry-level machines in the 125ccm class are the Honda CB 125, Honda MSX 125, KTM 125 Duke, Yamaha YZF-R 125, Yamaha MT-125 and Vespa Sprint 125. The ABS anti-lock braking system is standard on newer machines, and traction control is added Expert opinion not required because of the low output. It reduces the risk of the tires spinning when accelerating, which can cause the rear to break away (highsider falls).

The most important thing on all machines is the seating position. The driver must be able to cope well with the machine and be able to drive in a relaxed manner, i.e. without fear and having fun with the thing.

How can fear be avoided?

If a learner driver is afraid of riding a motorcycle, he should either leave it alone or deal with it intensively. "Ignoring fears is bad because you can't suppress them. Anyone who drives a motorcycle is acting unreasonably," explains Daniela Rechberger, qualified psychologist and MPU consultant.

A healthy respect for motorcycles and traffic, on the other hand, is not bad at all. As part of their driving school training, learner drivers should talk to their driving instructor about this. "It is important to deal with the dangers in order to be able to assess them correctly."

Rechberger advises parents to also attend the driving school and maybe take a few driving lessons themselves. Your children could also support them by continuing to talk about the dangers and, for example, give them driver safety training after passing their exams. On the other hand, forbidding them to get their driver's license is of little help. (dpa)