Enjoy Pocket Bikes But Also Embrace The Responsibility

by : Jerry Johnson

Remember going to the circus and seeing some 6 ft tall clown riding into the center ring on a mini-bike with his knees hunched up around the top of his head. Everyone laughs at this sight because it seems so ridiculous. What a sight: Grown man and women riding around on such a tine vehicle.

Well, it isn't funny anymore with the introductions of the pocket bikes or as some refer to them as pocket rockets. Whether you are an adult, teenager or a young adult, it will draw the same response...Wow! These small versions of full motorcycles weigh between 45 and 90 pounds and seat their driver about 18 to 24 inches off the ground. These are not something to laugh about. They are serious machines. They are not toys even though looking at one; you are tempted to dismiss the pocketbike as a toy.

Pocket bikes or pocket rockets can be deadly since they aren't toys. It is easy to get in the mindset that because the pocket bikes are not only small and fast but they can be ridden anywhere--on sidewalks, in bicycle lanes, and on the street. Get rid of that though immediately. These gas-powered models have been modified can reach speeds up to 45 mph or even faster.

The bikes are usually imported without your typical safety features for motorcycles. They don't have brake lights, mirrors, turn signals, right kind of tires or even reflectors. They are fun pocket rockets but they don't meet current federal safety standards for street-legal vehicles. Because of their size, adults will let their children operated them unlicensed and many times underage. Unfortunately there have been reported deaths operating these pocket bikes and unless responsible adults step up to the plate, the fatality rate will on increase.

There is a lot of debate going on whether these pocket rockets ought to be ban. Both sides have put a lot of energy into their arguments. The ones who are in favor of allowing these motorcycles to be ridden are faults who blame the parent who failed to supervise their child.

Responsible adults need to take the horse by the rein and assume responsibility for their children safety. They need to make sure they understand beyond any doubts that their pocket bike is not a toy but a vehicle that could cause them serious body harm.

"You're a lot safer putting a 13-year-old on a full-size motorcycle than on one of these things," said Steve Gibbons, a plaintiff attorney from Kansas City, KS. Steve believes they should be banned. As any experienced motorcycle ride knows, the real danger riding a motorcycle is that car drivers don't see you. With these pocket bikes sitting so low to the ground, the problem is going to be greater."

Admit it! You know when you see one of the pocket bikes, you can't help but grin and think about giving it a ride. The risk of the pocket bike is the fartherest thing from your mind. You combine how cheap they are, the coolness factor, and the fact they really are fun to ride, then it makes it hard to keep your mind clear about potential dangers lurking if you start riding one of them.

Stop, clear your mind before you go buying one. Ask yourself are you responsible enough to ride this thing? Do you have the protective gear you need? Are you aware of the characteristics of the handling of the pocket bike? At high speeds, fast turns can cause the pocket bike to overturn. Is your child old enough to understand that this is not a toy? Are you going to spend the time to supervise your child on a pocket rocket?

All of these questions are very important to ask. If you are willing to spend the time instructing your child, drilling them over and over about safety and most importantly you will physical be there to watch them ride, then go buy this entertainment. If at anytime, you can't do any of them and I mean "any", then buying one is not the responsible thing to do.

What will happen if I'm caught riding my "Pocket Bike" on Public Land? Recent legislation allows for peace officers to seize the bike and hold it for a maximum of 48 hours. The violator shall be responsible for all costs associated with the removal, seizure and storage. Additionally, new legislation requires the manufacturer of the pocket bike to place a sticker on the bike that reads:

The pocket bike you have purchased or obtained is strictly prohibited from being operated on a sidewalk, roadway, or any other part of a highway, or on a bikeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian trail, hiking or recreational trail, or on public lands open to off highway vehicle use. A violation of this regulation may result in prosecution and seizure of the device.

I am not trying to put a damper on your fun. Just take a few minutes to think about the responsibility of owning a pocket bike or as some like to call them "pocket rockets". For me, I love them but I am afraid if I get down on one, I might not be able to get up again. If you buy and there is nothing wrong with that, just remember, your responsibility requirements have now increased significantly.