This has been discussed several times and there have been numerous suggestions. The only thing that was uncontested was the motorcycle safety course. Look in you local phone directory and/or call motorcycle dealerships to find one. It will cost you $200-$300 dollars but will be completely worth it. You'll most likely learn on a very small cc bike (250) and depending on your state laws you can either get a general license for any cc bike or you may be offered the opportunity to test on a larger bike that will allow you to ride something bigger than 650cc.
The course will teach you the basics of riding, how to control a motorcycle and evasive manuvers that will prove invaluable on the streets. The most important thing it will teach you is if you are actually fit to ride a motorcycle. Example, my daughter wanted a motorcycle badly; she took the course, it scared the crap out of her - it cost me $300 and possible saved her life. Motorcycles aren't like cars, if you're nervous in a car you can get over it but if you're nervous on a motorcycle you're an accident waiting to happen.
This is where the disputes normally start. If you must buy a bike I suggest buying a cheap small bike, 650cc would be best. It will get you used to riding and save you money. Dropping a $600-$700 bike will not have near as much impact as dropping a $14K bike. When you're ready for a bigger bike sell your started bike to someone else that is in your situation.
Retired USAF, IYAAYAS!
2008 V-Star 1100 Custom Bobber project
2011 Crimson XR with Forged Highway Bars / Hard Bags / Passenger Backrest, Ness parts including Smooth Layback Plate Frame/Mount / Rad 3 Mirror / deep cut grips / drivers floorboards /shifter peg / brake peg / passenger pegs. Witchdoctor black rack, Lloydz filter / timing wheel / VFC III, 7Jurock windshield, Drag Specialties seat.