It is great weather out, and you can hear the hum of motorcycles everywhere on the roads. You decide to take a ride and enjoy that special kind of freedom, which only comes when you are cruising on two wheels. You kid clamors to go with you, and you relent when you realize you want him/her to share in your joy. However, the addition of a little passenger changes things, and is now giving you a new perspective on the importance of motorcycle safety. There are rules that need following when you have a child sharing a motorcycle ride with you.
Is Taking Them along a Good Idea?
Every child loves to emulate their parents; the only thing he or she loves more would be trying new things. A motorcycle ride allows both, and when you think of it in terms of growth, it lets the child gain new experiences as well. Here too, parents’ discretion in the matter decides a child’s development and safety. You could take the route of a pushover parent and give the kid everything he or she wants, or be smart about it and let the child know that they will need to follow some unbendable safety rules.
Requirements under California Law
There is no specific law citing a minimum age for a child traveling on a motorcycle. While there are restrictions in place, the only stated requirement is that there need to be footrests on the vehicle, and that the child’s feet should reach them. That means you could make height adjustments, and it would still be legal. The bike should also be fitted with a secured seat behind the driver, where the child can sit.
Under the California law, children riding on bikes are required to wear helmets just like everyone else. To make the helmet effective, its fit must be perfect. It is important to have features such as good ventilation and a face shield as well. Helmets for children come in all shapes and sizes, so pick one with certification from the CPSC, which gives maximum protection. Some have padding, which you can remove when the child grows. Lightweight, approved helmets are easily available these days.
Tips to Protect your Child While Riding
- Deck the child out in protective clothing covering the arms and legs. If there is an accident, this should be some protection. It also effectively prevents sunburn.
- Make the child wear a well-fitting CPSC approved helmet.
- Make sure he/she is secure in the seat, and has both feet resting flat on top of the footrests.
- Make sure he/she holds the feet in that position at all times.
- Tell the kid not to let his/her feet touch the muffler, because those things can get very hot.
- The child should understand the importance of staying still and holding on close to the rider in front of them. Heavier children must be prevented from making sudden movements, which could affect their safety.
Tips for Carrying the Child
- Do not rush. Maintain a safe distance for passing, and remember throughout the ride that showing off is secondary to ensuring your kid’s safety.
- Since you are carrying a passenger, brake gradually so as to avoid sudden jolts, which could cause the child to fall.
- If your child is heavyset, this should factor into the turns you make with the vehicle, as well as the speeds you travel at. Start out slowly and then figure out how your bike is different from the times you ride alone. Adjust accordingly.
- Watch your speed and stay inside the prescribed limit. Major and constant focus should be given to the fact that you have a precious passenger with you.
- Do not ever drink while driving; this is illegal even when you are driving alone. When you have a child with you, this sort of conduct can prove even more dangerous because it impairs judgment and reflexes, both of which are things you need while on the road.
You need to focus on giving your kid a safe experience from which he/she gets to learn something new. This is one place where showing off or cutting corners is not an option. It is best to assume there are motorists on the road who may not see you before it is too late, because they themselves neglected to follow the rules. Whether it is you or they that cause an accident, you child could get hurt as a consequence.
If an accident does occur and the other party is to blame for it, then you are entitled to compensation of any injuries and losses. Hiring a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can raise your chances of achieving the maximum compensation allowed by law. Accident injury lawyers know how proper litigation should be done with a view of proving negligence on the side of a guilty defendant.