Whether you are a rider or not your teenager has come to you and has expressed an interest in riding a motorcycle. You want to support your child and help him realize his goal, and you want to make sure that he stays safe. You can achieve these goals by having four very important conversations with your child.
First, Talk About Illinois Motorcycle License Requirements
The Driver Services Department of the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State may issue a motorcycle license to a rider who:
- Is at least 16 years old.
- Has a valid driver’s license.
- Has obtained a learners permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles, if such a permit is required.
- Is mentally and physically fit to ride a motorcycle.
- Has completed a driver’s education course and is enrolled in a rider’s safety course, if the rider is under the age of 18.
- Has the skills necessary to operate a motorcycle. This will be proven by taking a test.
- Has paid the required fees.
These requirements must be met before an Illinois motorcycle license will be issued.
Next, Talk About Riding Safely and the Rules in Your House
The motorcycle license requirements are the minimum standards set forth by the state of Illinois. However, as the parent of a minor child who wants to ride a motorcycle, you can do more to keep your child safe. Specifically, you can:
- Talk about how to ride safely. This includes watching closely for other drivers who may not be watching for motorcyclists.
- Explain the dangers of distracted riding, drunk riding, and drowsy riding. Any of these things can result in a dangerous bike wreck.
- Set and enforce the rules of your home. You need to establish the boundaries that are right for your family. This may include a curfew, only using the motorcycle in good weather, and other rules that you believe will teach your child good habits and help prevent a crash.
It may seem like your teen is not listening to you. However, many teenagers hear more than you think and listen more than you would expect—especially when there are consequences, such as losing your permission to ride a motorcycle—attached to the rules you establish.
Then, Talk About Potential Biases Against Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are not always treated fairly on the road and after a car accident. Unfortunately, many people who do not ride have biased views and harbor unfair views about those who do ride.
You can’t change the way other people will think about your child if your child chooses to ride a motorcycle. However, you can prepare your child for the reality that drivers of cars and trucks will automatically—and wrongly—assume that motorcycle riders are irresponsible and dangerous. Your child needs to know this information so that he can be careful in any discussions with other drivers, especially after a crash has occurred.
Finally, Talk About What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash
Sometimes motorcycle accidents happen. You may not be with your child with the crash occurs, and your child may be terrified. Accordingly, even before a crash occurs it is important to make sure that your child knows to:
- Call the police. The police will come investigate the accident and help prevent secondary accidents from occurring.
- Accept medical help. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. It is important that your child be seen by a doctor to make sure that any injuries are promptly diagnosed and treated.
- Not talk about the cause of the crash at the accident scene. Anything that your child says at the scene of the crash can be misconstrued and used against him later.
- Call you. That way you can advise your child about what to do next.
Then, together, you can decide on the next steps to take. If another driver’s negligence caused the crash, then it is important to contact an experienced Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Our lawyers are also riders. We believe in everyone’s right to share the road safely and we will work hard to protect your child’s rights. To learn more, please contact us at any time to schedule a free consultation in any of our Illinois offices including Bloomington, Gurnee, or Rockford, or at another location that is convenient for you.