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I am 48 years old and have been riding on and off for over 35 years. Five years ago, I rediscovered how much fun I have riding large motorcycles and taking to the highway. My son has taken one cross country trip with me a few years ago but hasn't been as active as I have due to football, summer camp, etc. (I ride every chance I get on the weekends). My son is now 18 years old and really wants to buy a used but well kept 2004 Shadow Areo 750 as his first bike that we checked out last weekend. He has taken the MSF course at the local community college and he currently has his motorcycle endorsement. I think it is OK to get the bike and ride with me on weekends (I'll ride my Goldwing) untill he has more experience and confidence.

The problem is my wife (his mother) doesn't want him taking the risk as a new rider at 18. She is worried something could happen to him that would be out of his control and she told me she will blame me if he gets hurt as I am endorsing him getting a motorcycle. This is a entry level bike and I think he is a level headed kid that won't take stupid risks. However, he is mad at his mom for getting "in the way" when he truly thinks this will be a passion of his that he and I can share riding experiences together. I don't need the threat of being blamed forever by my wife and her family if my son should get hurt or killed on a motorcycle...something none of us have total control over. What are your thoughts on how to approach this very delicate situation. Thank you.
 

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In my opinion there is not more risk as an educated rider of a motrocycle that there is that he will ge significantly injured playing football that you mentioned. He is better off doing anything with you than he is doing the variety of things he might do if he is not with you. Try to make your wife comfortable, but do it.
 

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One of the things we have to teach our children (and seldom do a good job at) is how to take and manage risks. When one gets down to it, life is a series of risks. In fact, one of the ten top competency factors I recall the Navy looking for in senior petty officers were those willing to take moderate risks. When you allow your child to drive a car, there is a certain amount of risk involved. When you allow your daughter to date singly, there is a certain risk involved. All of life has its risks.

Riding a motorcycle certainly has its risks. However, those risks can be to a great degree mitigated by careful analysis of all factors involved - not only those he will have to address, but those you will have to take responsibility for. It appears to me that your son has done what he can to mitigate the risks of riding a motorcycle by taking the required safety course, getting a bike that is managable for his age and size, and having a father to both enoucrage him in safe practices.

There is little you can do to ease your wife's concern. She believes riding a motorcycle is a risky business, and she is correct. However, you don't want to stand in the way of your son's development in learning about life. Time for her to cut the apron strings and turn the boy loose.

Mesquite Bob
 

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I can somewhat relate to this. My wife didn't threaten to blame me, but she rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. My son is 20 and is on his fifth bike. First was at age 6. I have regretted putting him on a bike many times. Running flat out thru the woods on a dirt bike, passing me on his shadow at 95. I must of been crazy. I would do it again though. Don't think that he won't do anything crazy. He's a kid, they are all nuts. If he gets hurt you will hate yourself for the rest of your life. Maybe your wife will too. But how can you deny him one of the best pleasures in life. I figured that it was better for me to teach him the right way, rather than learning on his own later in life. It will be great to ride down the road with him, but just wait untill you are following him and somebody pulls out in front of him. You will never have been so scared in your life. I say let him ride, but prepare yourself to handle it.
 

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On the subject of close calls. A car pulled out in front of him when we were doing 65. He made a panic stop with feet to spare. Looked like a pro. I was a couple hundred yards behind and from my perspective I thought he was dead. I pulled off the road and threw up. Prepare yourself.
 

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I just turned 54 and I have two sons. Both who have motorcycle licenses. When my younger son turned 20 he bought a Honda 750 Magna. Yes, both the wife and I worry about him. But him and his brother also picked up some of my other bad habits. Both are hunters. Both have a wide variety of fire arms.
If your son is 18 either he is a freshman in college or will be soon. He will start drinking and having relationship with young woman. Both which are also risky.
At this stage of your life all you can do is sit down with your wife and explain that you can no longer control his life. Hopefully he learn his lessons well from the both of you and will apply good judgement in his decisions. That being said think back on you own childhood.
At this point all you can do is reinforce the good habit and leave the rest in the Lords hands.

Mike
03ILB
 

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I have three sons, all of them watched me ride motorcycle for their entire life, they also wanted to ride. They all stated riding the Honda Ace or Areo 750's...I insisted they take the MSF course and so far have been good riders. Do Mom and I worry, of course!!! They're kids, we worried when they went out in a car in high school too.....and I venture to say more kids are hurt in car accidents than motorcycle...and I know the percentages are different as for drivers of the respected vehicles....

I guess what I'm saying is as parents, we try and teach them right from wrong, how to be safe in vehicles, motorcycles etc...where to go and what area to avoid....but, the bottom line is, they have to do what's right because they KNOW it's the right thing to do, not because mom and dad said so...

You say he's a good kid and has taken the MSF course, rode dirt bikes, so I'd say he's ready for the street...

Your wife must understand, if he wants to ride a motorcycle, he's going to ride, with or without her permission...If she wants to force him to go behind her back and ride, shes headed for that path.

I feel a better choice would to be part of his riding, encourage him in the safe riding skills, make sure he wears protective clothing and has a good time. He'll be proud of his mom's decision and respect her wishes for him to ride safe, he won't want to disappoint her and mess up...

Last year, my three sons and I rode to the Honda hoot, what a blast!!!!There is no better feeling than riding in the Smokey's, the Dragon with you sons, showing them all the neat things you have seen over the years, watching the smiles on their faces, buying them their first " I survived the Dragon" T-shirt, it just doesn't get any better that that. Those memories will last me all my life, it was just too cool!!!!! They're already planning for next year and I can't wait either...

Try and talk to the wife, explain that he's going to ride and we ( you and her) can be a part of it.....
 

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A teenage girl pulled out in front of my son on his 151 mile old VStar 650, his first bike. He only got a bruise or two, and a new set of V&H pipes out of it. Didn't stop him, but nearly gave his Dad a heart attack.

Buying that bike was the best therapy for dealing with the way his wife, now ex-wife, cheated on him.
 

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The mother bear will always protect her cub. However, at 18 the cub is out of the mother bears control and as such if he can pay for the bike and can pay for his own house, cloths, education and feed himself momma is out of luck. Mother bear has nothing to say about it. The pappa bear is screwed no matter what. "when momma isn't happy no body is happy". If the baby bear lives at home "tell him to suck it up show respect for mother bear wishes and get on with life. My MSF course was taken on my 37th anniversary. My first 750 Shadow was purchased by my wife for my 59th birthday.
 

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Feel damn lucky he doesn't want to start out on one of those 180 mph crotch rockets.

Too many of them show up back at the dealers within the year, all scraped up. Have to wonder how the kids ended up.

Chances are he is mature enough to handle it, if that is his choice of bike.

Nice bike. I had one for a day and never once rode it. Won it and traded it toward an 07 Wing. Did get to sit on it, though.
 

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Do it

Time spent with my son's while riding has been the best times of our lives. My oldest son was riding a sport bike at 14 and was riding with me as soon as he got his license at 16. My youngest went more for the cruiser style. I taught both of them and we have had many countless hours of quality time. When my youngest went away to be a Marine, my oldest was living 1100 miles away, I thought I would surely fade into oblivion from not having one of them around to ride with. When my youngest got back home from the Marines (1 year ago) he was riding a 1800 VTX. Having not ridden with him for some time, we took an experienced rides course together, after watching him manuever that bike, I washed away any worry about his ability to ride (he put me to shame) My sons are their own men and they both love to ride. Their mom was originally aprehensive about them learning to ride but soon realized that they could get hurt in other activities as well. My oldest served 5 years in the Navy, the youngest did 4 years and 2 hitches in Iraq as a Marine. In my opinion, they have endured and survived, let them now enjoy the things that make them happy. The areo 750 is a great starter bike. My wife has one and simply loves it. I have ridden it a few times and it handles really well under all conditions, not to mention it will run very well (85 is no problem). Good luck on making everyone happy, Frank
 

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I knew a top Merit Scholarship student who died a few years after taking a severe hit in high school football. Kidney failure.

Personally, I'd rather be out on my Wing where I can control the situation and avoid hits.

Having a father carefully school his son after the MSF training means that you will be looking out for your son, taking the roads less traveled and building up skills.

I'd still have your son move up through the ERC and read the books by David Hough on 'Proficient Motorcycling'.

What would be really nice: Easy & small family motorcycle trips that include your wife!
 

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My opinion = No person is mature enoough to survive on a street bike until he or they is well over 18 years old. Well over 18 is somewhere around 22 and anything earlier than 22 is hanging it out there. Kids with skulls full of mush just don't get it. Thats my opinion. It worked for me, my Dad's the reason I'm still alive. He made the rules, I'm still here.. I guess it worked. I know too many kids that didnt make it because they rode bikes too early on the street.
 

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I can not share a personal experience as my little one (and only one) is only 7. Yet I can share a story of a colleague of mine from work:
His son was 26 when he purchased his Goldwing. His wife was not that thrilled ("my baby is at danger") so to help balance her fears, he treated himself to touring bike too.

After a while, mommy got envy of the quality time the father and son were spending together and she went ahead, took the MSF class and bought a trike.....
 

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My son is now 15, but he has been riding dirt bikes since he was 13,I have been riding since i was 10 and i am going to be 50 in Jan...He rides on the GW with me alot. I teach him things,talk to him about what to look for and how to safely ride..There is constant talk between us about the road and things around us, including the do's and dont's,,and the law. We looked at new motorcycles for him today, and the wife is okay with him riding. If they are taught well and understand to be as safe as possible, then I say to let him ride with you,,As stated above,he could become injured or killed playing football too, or even run over by car,,we can't go about life worring about those sort of things. Your son did good by going to a rider safety course. My son will attend one too when he is old enough...SO teach him to ride, look with 4 eyes everywhere, but be alert of your surroundings!!!...So saddle up the two ponies and get going!!!!!!!Take pictures along the way for those days down the road when you want great memories!!!!
 

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Let him get the bike and express your concerns openly.

My #2 son got his first bike in high school after taking a motorcycle rider’s course and when he got the first bike, a motorcycle safety course. In the past 5 years he has had three bikes, two of which he crashed beyond repair.

If you and your wife 'forbid' him to get a bike now he'll just get one when he moves out. And if he has more money then it will probably be a bigger, faster model.

You never stop worrying about your kids.

If you are fortunate you’ll only have to worry about the other drivers on the road (e.g. one caused the 3rd crash and put my son in hospital).

If you are less fortunate you’ll have to worry about your son. Over drinking, doing drugs, riding recklessly, showing off, or, if you have really unlucky, all of these at once.
 

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I am 66 years old with a 17 year old grandson. I have been riding dirt bikes with his mother (my daughater) over 30 years and with my grandson and granddaughter for over 10 years. They are all very good dirt bike riders. Now, last year my grandson asked his Mom for a street bike to ride to school and his job. I had to use all my pursuasive powers and a little arm twisting but I finally got an agreement to hold off until he is on his own which may be 4 more years. There is no way that a 17 year old boy can pick up the survival skills required to stay out of trouble. This has nothing to do with reflexes or ability to use all your brakes or even about being able to stay in control when sliding. He has these skills from all the dirt riding years. This is about lack of concentration, failure to notice hazards, and poor judgement all of which can be mastered much more effectively if older. This is one very big risk that my family is not willing to take.
When he was fourteen we started to do family dual sport rides where we mainly stay in the dirt with some pavement connecting the dirt sections. I have also offered to take him road riding with me once he gets his motorcycle indorsement where he can ride my adventure tourer while I ride the 1800. This is reasonable risk IMO. But no way would I just turn him loose at 17 years old.
 
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peteguy,

First, How's things in Charlotte? My son lives down there, and my wife and I fly down 2-3 times a year. Great area.

Your post about your 18 yr. old son riding, and your wife's disapprovel is a tender subject.
I don't feel she has the right to tell you up front you will be held responsible if something happens to your son while riding.

My wife and in-laws in my life completely disapproves on any cycles.
But I'm fortunate, my wife sees how much I enjoys riding, that she's welling to put up with it, and not make me feel guilty about my passion to ride.

Enjoy your son, with or without his own ride.
 

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I have a 17 year old son. He and I plan to ride to California next summer. Right now he is working on his MSF and license. I am buying a second bike FOR ME! (I think it will be the new Connie NX14). We will ride the wing and the connie. I have told him I will not buy a bike for him, that when he is responsible enough to buy his own, then he might be responsible enough to ride on his own.
 

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advice from fathers

I ride a wing my 17 year old and his 19 year old brother both ride FJR 1300s. We started off riding together and they were relegated to following me, except for those times when it was necessary for me to assess their skills by me riding behind. If your son accepts that his learning only begins after he gets his endorsement via the MSF class, then you be his teacher, and ride along. On Nov 18 we did a SS1000 and will do a BBG1500 on DEC 16. How about that for teaching the young ones?.
 
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