What Age Can a Child Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle?
David Muñoz | May 25, 2022 | California Law
Motorcycles are one of the most fun vehicles on the road. However, they are extremely dangerous, and riders must take great care and caution to be safe, even more so when children are involved.
Continue reading to learn more about California laws that affect children riding motorcycles.
Children and Motorcycles in California
A child must be at least 16 years old to operate a motorcycle in California. However, how old does a child have to be to legally ride on the back of a motorcycle? In California, there is no minimum age requirement.
However, there is a requirement that any child under the age of eight must be placed in safety restraints when riding in an automobile. However, this does not apply to motorcycles, although there are restraints available that can bind the child passenger to the driver. These restraints keep the child from flying or falling away from the motorcycle in an emergency.
Other Safety Requirements to Consider When Riding a Motorcycle
Although there is no minimum age for a person to ride on the back of a motorcycle, other minimum requirements must be met. The Motorcycle Handbook groups these requirements under the term “proper precaution,” which is what any motorcycle passenger must take — especially when children are involved.
Proper precaution for a child passenger includes:
- A motorcycle equipped with a passenger seat and footrests
- A passenger that can comfortably reach the footrests without discomfort
- A federally approved helmet that fits snug
- Comfortable and durable motorcycle clothing, including long pants, closed-toe shoes, and a thick jacket
By following these safety guidelines, you increase the odds that your child will be safe while on the back of a motorcycle. However, California law enforcement and transportation officials agree that adults should avoid riding with children as passengers because the potential for catastrophic injury is extremely high.
In late 2020, a young boy who was a passenger on a motorcycle was killed in Bakersfield after the driver lost control of the machine. And in 2013, a four-year-old passenger of a motorcycle died when the driver of the motorcycle was forced to slide under a big rig that had suddenly made a U-turn in front of him.
In both cases, the adult driver survived, which is evidence that children are at a particularly high risk of serious bodily injury or death when riding as passengers on a motorcycle.
Driver and Passenger Awareness Will Keep Your Child Safe
Whether you’re driving a car or a motorcycle, awareness of your surroundings will help keep you safe. If you want to allow your child to ride as a passenger, and they can take the proper precautions, you are within your rights to do so. To make the ride even safer, teach your child to be aware of their surroundings.
As the driver, you should also be aware — even hyper-aware — when a child is your passenger. No matter how many rides you’ve taken or how small your child is, the weight difference with even a small passenger can cause some disorientation. This means you need to focus on the ride, your passenger, and your surroundings.
Speak to a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney if You or Your Child Were Injured While Riding a Motorcycle
If you or your child has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you’ll want to speak to an experienced San Diego motorcycle accident attorney. You have legal rights and may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries or those suffered by your child. A seasoned attorney can help you get relief from those injuries.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.