Saturday, 3 May 2014

The great motorbike debate

The great motorbike debate
3 May 2014

It’s probably quite natural that my sixteen year old has been priming me to buy him a bike for at least two years.

Now though he intellectually knew that he would not be able to legally ride a motorbike until the age of sixteen, he saw it fit to start priming the parental pump way in advance.  Laying the ground work.  Stating his case.  Envisioning that a lengthy and protracted period of cajoling us into getting him a bike, would eventually bear fruit.

I’m happy to report, that he has been terribly disappointed.

I fear, I won’t budge.

And there are quite a few reasons.  I’ve explained these to him diligently.  With great kindness.  Expressing compassion for his disappointment.  And ensuring him, that I most certainly understood his point.  And could see where he was coming from.  But it still remained a NO.

Rather conveniently, I can’t afford one in any rate.  And so that takes care of a huge motivating factor for not getting him one.  It is something he can’t argue against.  If there simply is no money for a bike, then a bike can’t be bought. 

But this is not my biggest reason.  Part of the whole teenage experience, is the fact that for any person, your teenage years, are your experimenting phase.  Enough said.  Now he is not old enough to drink.  And I’m not saying he does.  But drinking and driving are a deadly combo.  Strike one.  He doesn’t have to be the one drinking even – he can simply be in a collision with someone else who was drinking.  Strike two.  A motor bike offers very little in terms of protection.  There is no metal framework protecting you from harm.  Nothing to cushion or soften the blow of an impact.  Strike three.  It is a sad fact, that reckless driving by many road users has increased.  Strike four.  It is an undisputable fact, that there is a blatant disregard for road safety rules.  This phenomenon is most definitely on the increase.  Strike five.  Though Grant technically had a bike in his youth, there were far less road users, back then.  And the traffic police were far more visible.  Roads were quieter.  More cars were roadworthy.  Strike six.  Teenagers are not known for their caution.  They tend to think they’ll live forever.  And even the most cautious of teens are prone to risk taking.  Especially if given the freedom of wheels.  Strike seven.

And actually given more time, I could list even more reasons why I wouldn’t like him to have a bike. 

I have also pointed out to him, that it would really suit me if he had a bike.  It would be a pleasure, not having to chauffeur him wherever he had to be – a fact he delights in pointing out to me regularly.  Life would be simpler, if I only had two kids to cart around.  If neither he, nor I had to consult one another about every little trip I needed to undertake on his behalf.  I would save so much time, not having to wait for him when sport’s practice is running late.  He wouldn’t have to wait for me, when he finishes gym early.  To name but a few examples.  He could get himself to and from school, sport, extra-murals and friends. 

It is more painful for me that he doesn’t have a set of wheels.  But I take on the task of driving him around with a fair amount of pleasure.  And heap loads of love.  Especially when he shows gratitude towards me.

Mainly because I like him.  I’d like to see him turn seventeen.  Even eighteen.  Flash forward into the future – see him enjoy his life, hopefully get married one day and start a family of his own.

And that’s the main reason.  I love my son, and I’d like to keep him.

Now I understand that this is a bit unfair on my behalf.  And selfish too.  Not all motorbikes are bad.  I’m not against bikes.  Nor bikers.  Motorbike riders are fabulous people.  My family is filled with many, many bikers – men and women alike.  I don’t have a problem with bikes.  Nor am I prejudiced against them.  The odds just don’t do it for me.

Yes, cars are dangerous.  So are airplanes.  Being attacked by a swarm of bees too.  I know that there are no guarantees that my kids won’t come to any harm, if I prevent them from getting a motorbike. 

But holding out, offers me a small measure of control.  Or at least the illusion thereof.

Sorry, Luke!  I suspect that one day you’ll understand.  When you’ve got a sixteen year old, begging for a bike.

And I somehow think that by then, you’ll even take the same stance that I did all those many years ago.  Why?  Because chances are, you’d like to see your sixteen year old turn seventeen.  Maybe even eighteen, or more.

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1 comment:

  1. Aww. He must get Uncle Dan to argue on his behalf.

    Actually, same thing happened to me when I was 16. I really wanted a bike as all my friends, who were a year or two older had them. Got given a bicycle instead.