In the continuing catalog of useful informational and safety guides that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) put out, here’s one directed specifically at parents with children with regard to off-road dirt bike riding safety.
The purpose of the booklet (available as a free download) is entitled Parents, Youngsters and Off-Highway Motorcycles. The booklet is broken into four parts; Determining your youngster’s readiness to ride an off-road motorcycle; Pre-operating procedures; Operating procedures; and a readiness checklist.
Although the MSF likes to encourage the fun aspects of family motorcycle riding, they also take it as their responsibility to ensure parents, as well as youngsters, understand exactly what’s involved with youth off-road dirt bike riding.
The youth booklet emphasizes that the parent must take the role of teacher and coach, therefore stressing how important it is for parents to be up to date and competent with all aspects of the youth motorcycling (operation, maintenance, safety, riding gear, laws, etc.).
The manual goes deeper, delving into deciding if your child’s social and emotional development are ready (as well as their physical abilities) for the responsibility that comes with operating a motorcycle. Part of this section focuses on youth awareness of the potential dangers involved and their ability to reason and for making decisions.
I was impressed with the motorcycle manual’s addressing of this, as so many parents may push their kid into riding too soon or with too little thought about their mental and emotional state of mind. Ultimately you want your child to have the best, most fun, and safest possible experience with motorcycles to ensure a long and enjoyable hobby.
Following this first, and most important part of the booklet, the content then turns to straight ahead prep and operational procedures; such as choosing the proper riding gear, knowing the controls, first phases of riding, then progresses into riding tests and challenges.
The youth motorcycle booklet contains an evaluation test with places to score your youngster’s progress. The checklist is a good way to ensure you’re covering all aspects of dirt bike riding and allows you to consider where your child may need improvement.
In addition to helpful services such as providing these various safety operational manuals, the MSF offers both street and off-road training. Their Dirt Bike School (dirtbikeschool.com) is available to kids as young as six years old.
You can grab a free download PDF copy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Parents, Youngsters and Off-Highway Motorcycles here.