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The infantilization of teenagers

Apparently our government is now testing ideas that young people should be further restricted in their ability to drive, and should have to wait longer before they can get a driving licence.

A long while ago, when I first left school, I wanted to get a moped. I know, they are so uncool now, and have largely been superceded, but, because of an accident of road traffic law, they were, in the seventies and early eighties, the key to freedom for young people like me. Just a few years previously, they had been astonishing devices, capable of up to 50 mph. The government legislated to restrict engine power, in a bid to reduce casualties. At the same time they made the driving test for bikes tougher, and restricted the power of the sort of bike you could take your test on, to outlaw the ‘superfast’ 250cc learner bikes like the RD250LC and KH250 that were all the rage with lads. (Incidentally the most dangerous thing about the KH250 was not its top speed, but its air cooled triple design, that made it prone to the central cylinder seizing on long runs – if you didn’t detect it happening and grab the clutch you were thrown up the road…)

We are once again at risk of falling into the same trap as successive governments fell into with bikes, of succumbing to the cry of something must be done whilst not actually knowing if what we do will work, or be workable. And in the process we will infantilize young people ever more, telling them that we, as their parents, who know best, don’t trust them. Then, no doubt, we’ll wonder why they trust us and respect us less.

Incidentally, I bought my moped when I was 16.  I swapped the restricted inlet manifold and barrel for one from an older model, and lived to tell the tale.

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2 comments on “The infantilization of teenagers

  1. jemima2013
    October 11, 2013

    I see parralells with the row that prompted my pearl clutching post, and remeber when mopeds were cool! I still want one 🙂

    Like

  2. pww (@pwsw4)
    October 15, 2013

    This is also discriminatory. I grew up in New Jersey, in the greater New York City Metropolitan area. You didn’t have to have a car to get places, because as a great city NYC had decent mass transit.

    Now I live in Florida. There is no mass transit, attempts to build any mass transit is actively resisted by the Republican party and their voter base. Also, it’s very, very rural. Vast wilderness areas full of wild dogs, giant snakes, allegators, wild boars and swamp monsters. (Ok, I made the last one up… I think.)

    If you don’t have a car? You aren’t going anywhere.

    Like

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This entry was posted on October 11, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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