Now that summer is here to stay, along with warmer weather and safer road conditions,  you can expect to see more motorcyclists taking to the streets for long rides throughout California and across the country. Though a relatively small proportion of motorcyclists are under the age of 18, teens are often the most susceptible to motorcycle injuries and fatalities. If you’re a parent or a teen thinking of getting a motorcycle, it’s important to review the safety statistics related to teens on motorcycles. In addition to taking the safety courses required to get a motorcycle permit, all teens should obey all laws and wear the appropriate safety equipment. Most states, for example, have passed motorcycle helmet laws for all teen riders. But first, take a look at the following statistics for teen motorcyclists, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports from 2005 and 2009.

Teen Motorcycle Statistics

  • 205 young motorcycle riders 15 to 20 years old were killed, and 5,000 were injured in 2009.
  • 26 percent of the motorcycle riders between 15 and 20 years old who were fatally injured in 2009 were not wearing helmets.
  • Of the young motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2009, 39 percent were either unlicensed or driving with an invalid license.
  • 326 young motorcycle operators 15 to 20 years old were killed and 9,000 were injured in 2005.
  • 32 percent of the motorcycle drivers between 15 and 20 years old who were fatally injured in 2005 were not wearing helmets.
  • Of the young motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2005, more than one-third (40%) were either unlicensed or driving with an invalid license.

As you can see, the statistics of teen motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities have improved a great deal since 2005. In 2009, for example, there were 37 percent fewer teen motorcycle deaths and 44 percent fewer injuries than only four years before. But while the trend is encouraging, 200 teen deaths and 5000 injuries are far too many, and state governments should take serious steps toward improving motorcycle safety.

California Minors’ Motorcycle Permit Requirements

The statistics are daunting, but they do not mean that teenagers should not automatically stay away from motorcycles. In fact, if teens drive cautiously, obey all traffic signs, and wear the appropriate safety equipment, they can ride just as safety as adult motorcyclists. So if you or your teenager is still interested in getting a motorcycle here in California, follow these steps to fulfill the requirements to get a teen motorcycle permit. And visit the California DMV for more information.

  • Be 15 ½ years of age and bring proof you have finished both driver education and driver training. (Certificates of Completion of Driver Education and Completion of Driver Training are required) or be currently licensed.
  • Complete the application requirements.
  • Have your parents’ * signatures on the application form.
  • Provide a Completion of Motorcycle Training Certificate (DL389) from an approved CHP motorcycle rider training course. Applicants under 21 years of age are required by law to provide a DL 389 before issuance of an instruction permit. Motorcycle training courses are located throughout California. For more information and to locate the nearest training site, call 1-877RIDE-411 or visit

California Minors’ Motorcycle License Requirements

  • Complete the requirements listed above.
  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Hold a Class M1/M2 permit for 6 months prior to the issuance of a motorcycle license.

So if you’re a teen who’s planning to get your motorcycle permit this summer, be sure you follow all traffic laws, wear a helmet, and share the road with other cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Photo credit: futureshape