Should u learn to drive in a car and then get a motorcycle?
September 15, 2008 at 9:27 pm #2098cgill20Participant
I’m 16 and I’m about to get my permit, and hopefully take the msf course here in town real soon. My parents think it would be best if I spent several months to a year driving a car before getting a motorcycle, do y’all think that’s true? I do a lot of road biking and so have some experience biking on the road, and I think there are enough differences between driving a car and a motorcycle that it’s probably ok to go straight into a motorcycle.
I would any and all educated (or uneducated opinions)
Great Site!!! btwSeptember 15, 2008 at 9:38 pm #12208BenParticipant
That’s a good question.
I would probably recommend to learn to drive a car first (a manual too, not an automatic) for at least 6 months to a year before hopping on a bike. That way you can get the rules of the road down before getting on something without a protective steel cage around you. Most road bikers I know (and I’m one of them) don’t follow all the rules of the road when they are peddling away, for example, I will often just coast through stop signs on my bicycle if I can see there are no cars or if I can piggyback on a car that had stopped and is now going. On a motorcycle I don’t do that at all.
I think it’s great you’ve started on bicycles though, I think that will give you an edge up since you already know how dangerous cars can be.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminSeptember 15, 2008 at 9:41 pm #12209AndrewParticipant
A year in a car would be of benefit. That way you can get used to driving and being in and around traffic with a cage around you. You want to be a competent road driver before you get on a bike IMO. Then when you ride the bike is new but the road and the idiots on it are not.September 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm #12211ranetteParticipant
In Vermont you need to have a driver’s license before you can even take the written test for a motorcycle permit. I guess it’s not that way in every state. Based on my very limited experience I’d say that a few months driving a car with a manual transmission before hopping on a bike would be great experience.September 16, 2008 at 12:53 am #12215RupmiscParticipant
Once you learn to drive a manual transmission, it is easier to use a manual on another vehicle. It is true that if you make a mistake with a Bike, there is no cage. You need to practice with either, especially uphill starts as if there is real traffic behind you. Even better, find an older car with a non-synchronized gear box. Hell, if you can heel and toe a double clutch downshift, you can shift anything.
Seriously though, you can start on either. If I had the option, I would have learned to bike on a dirt bike first. Lots of practice with no crazy car drivers on cellphones.September 16, 2008 at 2:54 am #12221smokeizfireParticipant
I’ve been riding the streets for 2 weeks on a permit. My 1st MSF class is in 1 week. Did driving a manual tranny first help with riding? Absolutely!!! My brother use to ride and said the concept worked the same. But, I don’t think that a clutch and gears are your parents fears.
Traffic is your enemy young Skywalker They want to see how you do in traffic in a car, first. Driving on a dirt road or trail is way different than moving in traffic. The biggest difference is there are no rules on the trails, but there are plenty on the streets. Maintaining steady speeds is 1. Not following too close behind the car in front of you. Looking out for pedestrians. Etc, etc.
Cars are far more forgiving if you make a mistake, and you young teens are prone to do so. Trust me I know. I use to be one myself. Years of driving experie…..hmmm…hmmm..good driving experience will help in traffic when you ride. Or at least for me anyway. Defensive paranoid driving is the best. If you drive a car aggressively in traffic, 90/100 you will ride the same way. The major difference between a car and a motorcycle is …..I don’t need to explain Mr. Educated.
HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINSSeptember 16, 2008 at 3:02 am #12222AmorylParticipant
the first year or so of being a new driver is the most dangerous time for both you and other people on the road. I’d strongly advise against going straight into a motorcycle for going on the road. no matter how careful you think you are, no matter how much you think you’ll be a safe rider, the fact is at 16 and new to riding you are the least capable to drive/ride responsibly, you don’t have the experience to properly assess situations before they become incidentses, the reactions to respond instantly when they become incidences, nor the skills to respond in the correct way. and very very few 16yr olds I’ve met, myself and my friends (16ish years ago) included are mature enough to handle the signifigant step up in risk from a car to a motorcycle. especially if you’re even remotely considering skipping the whole “car” thing. I was always a cautious kinda driver, timid even when I was learning, and I know now that thats likely gotten me into questionable situations that an experienced driver never would have. my friends drove like retarded lemur monkeys, and that got them into a LOT of problems. I see tons and tons of younger drivers not paying attention, driving too fast, ignoring rules of the road, or simply driving really really unpredictably due to being young, distracted, and inexperienced. all more reason to start with 4 wheels and a cage around you.
I may sound harsh, I may sound like some old fart complaining about “you darn kids” but history is on my side. start out in a car, learn how to drive, and deal with the idiots on the road in some level of protection, THEN start thinking about the bike. the same reasons we recommend people start on a smaller bike, but to an even greater extreme. most people here we assume already have experience on the road dealing with traffic, the rules of the road, and such. then start out on a small bike to learn the basic handling of a motorcycle, then move on to riding in traffic. but STARTING on a bike means you’ll be on the road learning how to handle your new bike, learning how to handle traffic, and learning how to implement the rules of the road all at once. this is more than just walking and chewing gum, my friend. this is walking on a tightrope while chewing gum and spinning plates on a stick balanced on your chin.
if you really really need to scratch that bike itch, like the guy above said, start out on a dirt bike, you’ll learn a GREAT deal of the basics of riding a bike (though not really road riding) such as throttle and gear control, breaking, and most importantly how to handle dirt/sand/gravel and once you get those down pat, especially since in the meantime you’ll be learning how to handle traffic in the car, you’ll be that much more ready to transition over to a street bike.September 16, 2008 at 3:57 am #12227cgill20Participant
I really appreciate all the replies, and will very strongly consider what y’all have said, it’s just that 65mpg and like $20 of insurance a month is sooo tempting, plus the great fun of riding a bike.
ChrisSeptember 16, 2008 at 4:25 am #12228AmorylParticipant
keep in mind that as a first time rider EVER, especially if you’ve no history of driving a car, you’re not going to get that $20 a month insurance rate, not even close. and there’s a very real possibility they won’t cover you at all. I’d not even considered the whole insurance thing (being as I’ve not had to worry about qualifying for insurance in years) in the end that might remove the entire issue.September 16, 2008 at 6:13 am #12230dcJohnParticipant
Count me in as another vote for learning first on a car. And, since you know you’re interested in getting a bike down the line, learn on a manual transmission. Really put some effort into getting good at driving, and maybe consider eventually taking a performance or autocross driving class. All the talk you read here about the benefits of the MSF course, well I’d say the same goes for a good performance driving school. The stuff you get in a basic driver’s ed class and that’s required to get a driver’s license really falls short on teaching you how to be an excellent driver.September 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm #12236WeaponZeroParticipant
Learn on a car first, wait until you’re a good enough driver to where things become “automatic” to you before you worry about getting on a bike.September 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm #12237WeaponZeroParticipant
Learn on a car first, wait until you’re a good enough driver to where things become “automatic” to you before you worry about getting on a bike.September 16, 2008 at 1:33 pm #12238MattParticipant
The reason I say car has nothing to do with shifting or vehicel control. It has everything to do with other drivers.
As a new driver you’ll be amazed at the raw unfiltered stupidity you encounter on the road. People will simply pull out in front of you (even when you are in a car) and do hundreds of things that defy logic. As a new driver you’ll be pre-occupied with a lot of different things. Learning to see and judge the subtle cues about what other traffic is about to do is not an instant skill. It takes time. And until you have it, being on a motorcycle is all the more dangerous.
I’d been driving for ten years before I got on a motorcycle. I’m not saying you need to wait as long, but certainly 6 months is the minimum in my mind.
If you can, I highly recommend a good defensive-driving-oriented driving school. One that has you alone in the car with the instructor (As opposed to 3 students at once) with an emphasis on learning to drive safely – not to pass your driving test.
Just like learning to ride, you will inherit all the bad habbits of your instructor. So having a verified ciriculum in addition to your parents teaching helps a great deal in making you a better and more aware driver.
The comment about taking an autocross course is valid, as it teaches you how to control your car in difficult situations, but I think learning how to cope with the dangers of other road users is more important than learning how to extract performance from your car.
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”September 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm #12239AndrewParticipant
I don’t drive a manual transmission car and before the MSF class my experience was a couple of lessons in a car. I’d be more concerned with you getting a year on the road becoming more comfortable with the idiots also on the road than with knowing how to shift.September 16, 2008 at 4:28 pm #12246RupmiscParticipant
Ben, take this one off if you want to, but I need a little comic relief from financial market disaster.
All the arguments for starting with a car are good. Also, just like bikes, get a small underpowered car to start. It can be good at crash tests, but shouldn’t encourage you to think that you can avoid trouble by hitting the throttle.
Still, if some new driver can’t wait to go fast, I suppose I’d rather see him/her on a bike than in an SUV. So maybe there is a an argument for not putting the new driver in something that is better at hurting other people? Think of this as “bike as self sacrifice for the greater good”. ?
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