Being outdoors riding brings real adventure to a child and teaches them responsibility and respect for nature as well as for machines. All youth sized models need to be respected and not treated like toys. There is an obvious injury risk with the activity if not used properly, so it is important to start them out right. There is no way to know for sure if your child is ready for the responsibility of riding, but here are some commonly asked questions to ask yourself to help you make that decision.
- Is the child big enough and strong enough to easily reach all of the controls. Are they strong enough to use the throttle, hand brakes, etc. Are their arms long enough to turn the model's handlebars all the way to the left and the right? When the rider stands on the footrests, is there at least three inches of clearance between the model's seat and the bottom of the rider?
- Does your child have good judgement and good coordination? Riders of all ages need good hand-eye coordination and a good sense of balance. Riders need to be able to think and react quickly to fast moving situations. Do they know the difference between right/wrong, left/right, safe/unsafe, their own limits, etc? Maturity plays a big part in whether a young rider is ready to roll or not. You are the best judge of this. Be sure they are ready.
- What safety gear and clothing should your child wear? Do they need special stuff? THE MOST important piece of safety equipment is a top quality motorcycle helmet (must be approved by the DOT....the Department of Transportation). Make sure the helmet fits right and that the child learns to wear it EVERY single time they ride. Other important safety equipment would include goggles, sturdy boots, and riding gloves. Also be sure the child always rides in long pants and sleeves.
- Does the child need special training? It is always smart to start by reading the manual with your child and going over the parts of the machine to get things started. A period of hands on training supervised by the parent is essential to learning the basics. A good rider needs to practice. ALways be sure the young rider has adult supervision. We like to always suggest new riders of all ages to train with an official riders training program.
- Which ATV or Motorcycle size should we pick? Using common sense it imperative with this decision. There are guidelines from the government that dealers volunteer to comply with when selling youth models. The guidelines are that: any ATV with an engine size less than 70cc are recommended for youngsters 6 years old or older. Engine sizes 70-90cc are for youth ages 12 or older. And Engine sizes greater than 90cc are recommended for ages 16 and older. The final choice is always up the the parents, but the guidelines take a lot of the guess work out of it.