Dave Sears Explains When and How to Introduce Your Children to Motorsports
Introducing children to motorsports can be fun and exciting. Starting at a relatively young age, children are able to handle dirt bikes and other small vehicles. However, safety regulations need to be followed at all times. Dave Sears, the manager of Alamo Cycle Plex, explains how and when parents can safely introduce their children to motorsport and describes some of the great activities that children and their parents can participate in when the children are capable of riding on their own.
At What Age Should We Start?
A three-year-old child can handle a small electric dirt bike in the yard or in another safe area. Gas-powered 50cc dirt bikes are safe for children at age 4 if they use training wheels. By age 5 or 6, children should be able to handle a gas-powered dirt bike with no training wheels and even take some small jumps. In most states, in order to ride an ATV, a child must be at least 6 years old.
Starting Out with a Dirt Bike or ATV
Often, the early months of learning to ride a dirt bike are filled with minor crashes and spills. Some children will not want to ride again after they have fallen off too many times, but many children will want to stay with the activity until they have mastered it. Practicing on a long, straight road rather than in the yard with many turns is probably a better idea at the beginning.
Parents should be aware that while falling off a dirt bike is more common at the beginning of the learning process; ATV riders are more prone to serious injury and hospitalization because the vehicles can tip over and fall on the rider. Victims of ATV accidents are 55 percent more likely than dirt bike accident victims to be admitted to the ICU.
While many kids want to jump right on the dirt bike or mini ATV and get started, it is absolutely necessary to give them safety rules right from the start. The most important rule is to always wear a helmet. Over 1,200 children were killed in ATV accidents over the past decade. This number could be significantly reduced if children were required to wear helmets at all times.
Children should also wear other protective gear when riding a dirt bike, since the risk of falls and scrapes is so much greater than while riding an ATV. Children should wear full motorcycle pads that can protect them from injuries if they fall off the bike. These dirt bike pads are widely available throughout Canada both in stores and online.
Kids and Motorsports
Children pick up motor skills much faster than adults, and if they start riding early, they are likely to build a significant amount of talent and expertise. Parents may be alarmed at first to see how fast and how daring their children are, but motorsports are a fun and exhilarating way to spend time with friends and family as well as getting outdoors.
Children who participate in motorsports have a relatively safe way to burn off their energy and experience the thrill of adrenaline. Many parents who rode dirt bikes or ATVs as children are eager to share their experiences. Families who ride ATVs in particular are more likely to hunt, fish, and camp together. ATVs are also used on farms for necessary work like herding, so children who live on farms are more likely to learn to ride at a young age.
Early Motorsports Lessons
As previously mentioned, the best place to start riding an ATV or dirt bike is on a long, flat, straight dirt road. The surface should be firm and not sandy or muddy. Training wheels can be dispensed of when a child is 4 years old.
It is best to start with a 50cc dirt bike from a dealership like Alamo Cycle Plex because a small child can handle it easily. Choosing a bike that is small enough for your child is important, even if you feel that the child will outgrow the starter bike quickly. It may be better to buy a smaller bike secondhand than investing more money in a larger bike that your child will grow into.
Each training session should focus on only one skill. On the first trip, focus on going in a straight line and stopping. On the second trip, start working on turning around. Progressively add skills as your child’s coordination grows.
Encouraging Children in Motorsports
While motorsports are a great deal of fun, safety should always come first. Making sure that your child has the proper protective gear and does not learn to ride recklessly can go a long way toward preventing injuries. Parents should know that children who are not properly taught to ride may be more likely to be injured or even hospitalized, but there are ways to mitigate this risk.
When the sport is handled safely, it is a great deal of fun. Dave Sears reminds parents that children who participate in motorsports are likely to continue well into adulthood. This can provide a fun family bonding activity, and it may even lead to a youth racing career for your child. As your child grows up, you can share your love of motorsports with them and enjoy the adrenaline rush of riding with your child.