Kids on Motorcycles: Is It A Good Idea?

You just bought a brand new motorcycle and, understandably, you’re proud of your new purchase. You wheel the bike into your driveway and your child comes running out of the house with a look of awe and excitement.

“Can I ride with you?” asks your child.

Now, you’re faced with an extremely difficult decision. Do you let your child ride on the motorcycle with you and share in the joy of your brand new bike? Or do you spoil the party and say no to your child’s request?

This conundrum is a common one for bike owners. After all, what kid isn’t excited by the prospect of riding behind their parent on a motorcycle? While the decision you make is all yours, there are some important things to keep in mind before taking the kids out for a bike ride.

On the heels of Motorcycle Awareness Month, we thought it would be an appropriate time to look at the safety – and the legality – of children riding on motorcycles so that you can make an informed decision.

What does Texas law say about children riding motorcycles?

While many states do have laws against letting children ride on motorcycles, Texas is rather lenient on the issue. All children who are at least five years old can ride on a motorcycle, provided that they wear a helmet.

Non-Legal Concerns…

Of course, just because it is legal doesn’t mean it isn’t frowned upon. For example, one Texas mother recently became the target of social media shaming after pictures were posted of her 7-year-old daughter riding on the back of the mother’s boyfriend’s motorcycle. The pictures were taken by another driver and quickly went viral, prompting several commenters to pass judgment on the mother and her boyfriend for bad parenting.

Other concerns stem from motorcyclists who allow children to ride on their bike even if the child is not their own. This is precisely what happened last year in New York, when a 12-year-old boy was critically injured while riding on the back of a motorcycle when it collided with an oncoming vehicle. The boy’s father spoke out about the need for age limits on motorcycle passengers.

Factors To Consider

Motorcyclists understand the risks of riding their motorcycles. Many bikers are aware of the fact that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in an accident than other motorists. But children may not be aware of the dangers facing motorcyclists. A child will generally trust that the adult they are riding with will keep them safe.

Safety is the top priority, and the best way to ensure your child’s safety is to keep them off of the motorcycle entirely. If you feel the need to take your child for a spin on your motorcycle, consider taking them on a short ride around the block as opposed to a 20-mile run on major roads. And obviously, make them wear a helmet no matter what.

For non-parents, it’s wise to refrain from letting children ride on your bike altogether. If you have the permission of the parent, it certainly makes a big difference, but you still have to be aware of the responsibility you’re taking on.

Whatever the situation might be, don’t forget to ask yourself – does the reward outweigh the risk?