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Taking the Plunge

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by Roar2Life, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Hi all. I'm new here and this is my first post. I'm a 16 year old female and have just got my learners for both car and motorbike(restricted) classes. I really want to have a motorbike as my main transport mode mainly due to the lower costs in comparision to a car and the fact that I love the feeling you get when riding on a bike(I ride as a pillion on my brother-in-laws bike). The only thing is both my 28 year old sister and her husband ride motorbikes. They didn't get their motorbike licences for quite a few years after their car licenses and they both say I should wait a few years and get 'road experience' before I get a bike but i'm not too keen on this idea as I really want a motorbike. What I want is other people's opinions. Do you think it's important to have 'road experience' before you ride a motorbike? Also, i've thought about this matter more since I read about TAZMAN's and Grrrl's accidents. But then I think, hey the same thing could happen to me in a car.

    Sorry for such a long post.

  2. Hey chicky welcome to the madness xo :) dont listen to any of them there all crazy................ apart from me :)

    Seriously. lots of good advice here, ride safe and be carfull

    you WILL have less chance of a prang if you spend some time driving the car first. listen to lots of advice, than we can bung shit on you for listening to us :)
  3. As a parent, I have recommended to my newly licenced son to wait until he is off his P plates before getting a bike licence.

    There are lots of factors to consider here and the statistics for accidents are not encouraging for young drivers, or bikers of any age. You would have more chance of walking away from an accident in a car than on a bike.

    I think you need to learn to be a competent driver first and get your road experience before jumping onto a bike. It will be a lot easier to anticipate the actions of other drivers, road conditions etc etc if you devlop these skills before risking it on a bike.

    Just my 2 cents worth :wink:
  4. I reckon if you're going to go and ride first before getting around in a car then that's fine - you'll have fun and enjoy yourself. But, roadcraft is really important, most especially when you start from scratch so I would urge you to stay focussed at all times on the road, give yourself room from other road users and constantly observe your surroundings. The more you ride / drive, the better your situational awareness grows and situational awareness is a commodity like gold ~ everybody wants it but it takes time to gather it.
    Don't trust anyone on the road to have your best interests at heart because they pretty much will only be concerned with their own. If you have the opportunity to drive a car then grab it because that's just more road experience under your belt and you can never have enough.

    This is just my opinion but after half a million kays of road experience, I can still make mistakes and I see people almost everyday behaving like idiots.
  5. If you were my 16 year old daughter, I'd want yo to get a little car, learn to drive it and some roadcraft, and then get your bike. I'd sleep a lot sounder, if it was me.

    But I'm not, and you're you, and plenty of people have learned their roadcraft on a bike as their first vehicle...

    Just be careful, please....
  6. As someone who's just come out the other side I can say it's definately worthwhile getting some road experience in a car first.

    I got my car Ls when I was 16 and have now been driving for 5 years. I got my bike Ls 2 months ago and have just bought my first bike.

    The thing is that in those 5 years working out what traffic is doing around you becomes almost instinct and your reactions become very fine tuned.

    Now it's still a learning curve on a bike but I'm less concerned about wondering what traffic will do.

    The truth is you WILL have near misses in your first years of driving, and you want those to be in a car not on a bike. I've never had an accident but I've come close a few times and I've been very glad for the tonne of metal surrounding me.

    5 years is probably pushing it, but I'd say 2 years of driving regularly and in all conditions will give you a good traffic sense that will make you much safer on the bike.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! It's certainly great fun having a bike!

    P.S. Training courses are the best! Do as many as you can afford.
  7. I think this is all that need be said realy
  8. I am a better driver now after riding motorcycles than i am a rider after driving cars. However the tools i gained from driving a car certainly made it easier to learn to ride. Learning the tools such as predicting the traffic and interprating the ever increasing number of roadsigns was a distraction i did not need when i was learning the mechanics of riding a motorcycle. So i was glad i had those tools pretty sorted when i hit the road on two wheels for the first time.
  9. Roar2Life, I agree with everyone else about learning to drive on the road first. Here's just one example from my early days of driving which shows that everyone elses advice is spot on.

    The first time I was driving by myself at night time in the rain, I went a little faster than normal around a tight corner. I ended up losing the back end and stopped facing sideways. There still would have been a margin of safety/grip in the dry. Luckily for me there was nobody around to hit me. Despite knowing how slippery it is when riding a pushbike on a wet road, that incident still woke me up. These aren't the sorts of things you want to be learning for the first time (or again in my case) on a motorbike.

    Additionally, a lot of people can be a bit unsure when new to the road. If you do that a bike, you may confuse motorists (eg. putting your indicator on to make it look like you're going to turn or change lanes then cancelling if you then decided not to) and they may hit you.

    Learn about being on the road in a car first because there's a lot less margin on a bike.
  10. Netrider's a pretty conservative bunch.

    I've been riding for two and a half years now, and after a while of owning the bike I was commuting to and from work every day up until about three months ago. I (touch wood) haven't had any accidents apart from knocking a mirror clean off whilst lanesplitting (oops). Don't have a car license, don't drive.

    That said, I'd only suggest this method if you think you can keep your focus - not for the easily distracted. If you pace yourself - the usual, keep it to your immediate neighbourhood and roads you know at first, there's no reason why you can't learn roadcraft without even getting into a car. You just have to treat learning seriously.
  11. dont you hate it when the answer you want is the opposite to the good advice being given?!?
    I know I do.
    I ignored my friends advice about throwing knives. I've got stitches in my leg reminding me that I should have listened.
    :? :(

    I totally agree with everyone here.
  12. Being 18, I'm part of the younger group of riders so I can give you some insight into how lack of driving experience contributes to riding skill. From riding with a few other people, who've had their Ls about the same time I have, but their car license much longer, there is a huge difference in confidence, skill and general 'road knowhow'... I guess you could just call it roadcraft...

    My parents also urged me to wait until I was off my Ps or at least had more driving experience (I got my L plates 6 months after getting red Ps). But when you get that (sexual) feeling, it is really really hard to wait. But I had been pining for a bike for a year already so I guess in the end I did wait a while.

    The problem with a bike is that you have no one to guide you through what to do on the road. So without the knowledge before you hop on a bike, you're going to have problems when you hit the road. Having driven for about a year and a half (including Ls) before I bought my bike, I felt confident enough in my road skills to be able to go on a road without being distracted with the basic 'driving' stuff, and simply transition my skill into riding. But without much driving experience, you'll have to learn both at the same time. Getting some driving skill before you ride is kind of like driving a auto car until you get the hang of it, then going manual. Its less to concentrate on when you're learning, which on a bike, can save your life.

    Knowing what I know now, if I was in your position I'd wait until I got my red Ps (its not that long). But you probably have a strong urge to ride so consider having a bike but only using it on the track, learning centres, other nonpublic roads, etc. which seems possible if you have older siblings who could take it to places for you.
  13. Roar2Life - My sixteen year old daughter has expressed interest in getting a motorbike licence. After some discussion we've (I've ;) ) come to the conclusion it's best for her to wait till she's had a couple of years experience driving.

    She seems cool with that. :)

    I like your whole approach to this. Well done on seeking out others opinions. :)
  14. I have been driving for the last 7 years, and just got my L's a few weeks ago. The experience in the car has deffinatley helped with my riding. The general roadcraft you pick up driving a car, and getting used to situations that do happen on the road help you settle into riding without having another lot of issues thrown in too. 7 years is probably more than you need, but a year or two would deffinatley be an advantage.

  15. hi and welcome!

    i'm 50:50 on this one...i rode first but i spent time growing up on property riding bikes daily.
    if you do get out on a bike first, i suggest you go to all the riding courses you can afford. there is a wealth of knowledge that you can learn there, and its all about keeping yourself as safe as possible.

    good luck either way :)
  16. I'd have to say that having rolled a car, I'm glad I got my car license first. An accident on that scale probably would have seen me dead on a bike.
    Really if you can handle it, go for the bike. The thing to remember is, you won't have as much sense of security while learning, and that may make it difficult for you. I know that having been driving for 6 years now and only just getting my bike license, doing things like keeping a good situational awareness come as second nature to me. Of course, 6 years of riding would give you the same awareness, but the chances you'll have an accident in that time are pretty high.
    A bit of experience on the road to understand that other road users are morons, and you'll be a better rider for it, and it'll make it easier for you to concentrate on learning the bike, rather than having to learn it, and roadcraft at the same time. Cars are slightly more forgiving of your mistakes.

    But I know if i'd had the choice I would have had a bike right away. damn parents.
  17. If you already ride (motorcross, dirt bikes, ag bikes etc) and are VERY competent, then maybe, just barely maybe you'd get me siding with you to get your bike licence.

    It's easy for youthful enthusiasm to understimate the size of the challenge!

    Riding is so much more than just gears, clutch and throttle... your first time on a road, shouldn't be your first few times on a bike.

    Personally, I'd wait.

    There is a reason why young DRIVERS have such high insurance premiums and feature clearly in crash stats... now place that YOUNG person on a mistake intolerant device like a motorbike... now do the sums... you are right to consider Tazman and Grrrl's stories.

    How about getting some pillion time from a friendly NR or your family, while you get your driver's licence and road skills up... at least this way you'll appreciate what two wheel joys and challenges lay ahead for you??

    BTW, welcome to NR. Even if you're not riding it's clear you're a biker in spirit.


  18. Hey there,

    Just thought I'd put in my 2 cents worth as I'm a relatively new rider...

    I just turned 25 and only just got my P's (got my L's 5 months ago). I've been driving since 16 and truly believe that it was beneficial to buy a bike after lots of driving experience and I would definitely recommend that route.

    The main reason would be because by then you have a thorough understanding of all the relevant road rules, etiquette and general dynamics of traffic and road-use. This is then one less thing to worry about when learning to ride because all that is left to learn is how to operate the motorcycle in traffic conditions but not have to focus on road rules.

    Furthermore, I feel that by waiting until I was more 'mature' has allowed me to go about it more sensibly and treat the whole motorcycling idea a lot more sensibly.

    I consider myself a good driver with no accidents/incidents but that does not mean a whole lot - most importantly, all the driving experience has shown me what it's like to be a considerate road user as well as how inconsiderate and incompetent some other road users can be. It can be good to have 'cage' experience for this reason as you know the psychology behind driving and this should theoretically help your anticipation and observations skills on the bike.

    Now that I've taken up riding, I think I am even better driver and more aware road user. But I most definitely think driving and general road experience does help before tackling the challenge of riding a motorcycle. Plus, after lots of driving experience, taking up motorcycling can be even more exciting in contrast to the world of cars!

    Hope I made sense, just my opinion though. Good luck with your decision, and stay safe! (whether it be in a car or on a bike)