Teens on wheels

Published November 11, 2023
Illustration by Faraz Ahmed
Illustration by Faraz Ahmed

Over the past few years, I have been shocked at noticing how young kids, not more than 14 years old, confidently ride bikes on the streets of our city. Not to mention, they were so thrilled that they often zoomed past me, leaving me bewildered. This situation, exemplifying their excitement, underscores the pressing need to educate our young riders about age-appropriate driving and riding. It serves as a clear signal that focusing on road safety and responsible riding among teenagers is now more critical than ever.

The growing number of teen bike riders

There is no doubt that when kids step into their teens, they are bursting with excitement and energy. It’s the feeling they get that they are finally old enough to hop on a bike and explore the world on their own terms. The thrill of freedom and independence is simply irresistible for most young riders. The rush of adrenaline that comes with the first few rides can be addictive and make the mindset of many teens.

While it’s natural to be excited about riding, it’s equally important to remember that with great power (or, in this case, a bike) comes great responsibility.

Lack of formal training and inexperience

More and more kids — yes, kids whose feet can barely reach the bike’s pedals — often believe that merely achieving this feat means they are ready to learn and conquer the world of riding. Unfortunately, lots of kids and teens learn how to ride from their friends. They don’t get formal training that covers all the safety guidelines. They often think it’s cool to learn from their buddies who, in turn, learn from their friends. It’s like a chain reaction. This means that many young riders haven’t had the chance to learn how to drive properly from a responsible adult. They don’t know traffic rules and other important skills needed to be safe on the road.

Motorcycling requires a unique set of skills and knowledge that is different from driving a car. Brimming with excitement and thrill, teenagers’ lack of experience often leads them to errors and to anticipate and respond to unexpected situations on the road. They might not be fully aware of how different road conditions, weather, or traffic situations can affect their ride.

Risky behaviour

Young riders might be tempted to engage in risky behaviours, such as speeding, not wearing helmets and disregarding traffic rules. These actions dramatically increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries. It’s very important to understand that road safety rules exist for a reason — to protect us. And if there is a set age for riding a bike or driving a car there is a solid reason for that.

Age-wise biking

Remember, there’s an age for everything. As kids and teenagers, it’s crucial to focus on what’s most important at your age. That means embracing the thrill of learning and growing, while also understanding that rules and guidelines exist for a reason. These rules aren’t made randomly; they’re designed to keep you safe and help you make the most of each stage in life.

There are numerous learning opportunities and experiences that come with being young, and it’s best to seize those opportunities before fully immersing yourself in motorcycle riding. So, prioritise learning and enjoy the journey of growing up safely.

Published in Dawn, Young World, November 11TH, 2023

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