Riding Your Motorcycle With A Child Passenger

The issue of motorcycle passenger safety, specifically where it concerns children and the regulations regarding helmet use and passenger age requirements, is always a hot topic. To reignate the debate, last weekend, a Tampa, Florida dad was charged with felony child neglect for riding with his 3-year old held front of him. In Florida, like in many other states (except 2), there is no restriction or legal regulation based on a minimum age to be authorized to ride as a motorcycle passenger.

As the opposite, Florida has very strict laws severely enforced regarding children traveling in cars. It includes a separate approved carrier for children 3 and under and child restraint until age 5. Florida law regarding a child passenger on a motorcycle only requires this passenger to be properly outfitted, wearing a helmet if under 21. And of course there is almost no way you can practically attach a child restraint device or special carrier seat on a motorcycle.

New York State, like Florida, has no restriction regarding age of a motorcycle passenger. Statistics from these 2 states show that motorcycle accidents involving young children are extremely rare and insignificant. Doing a little bit of research, I found out that the Florida laws applying to children traveling in cars are described as applicable to all motor vehicles. So, regarding children safety, Florida doesn’t consider motorcycles as motor vehicles… Sometimes amusing what our legislators are able to write. So, what do you think?. Should legislation be enacted or only just common sense should apply regarding young children as motorcycle passengers? (Zefa credit picture)

24 Responses to “Riding Your Motorcycle With A Child Passenger”

  1. 1 Brett Feb 10th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I’m not positive, but I believe Wisconsin law is that the passenger must be able to have their feet rest on the passenger pegs. None of the laws for children are all that clear when it comes to vehicles. Many of them list a weight as the restriction…..however, depending on the feeding of said child, it is possible for a 2 year old to weigh the same as a 5 year old.

    This story also doesn’t say what the father was actually doing. Was it a ride around the block? Was it 75 on a highway?

  2. 2 Luis Feb 10th, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I waited till mine was about 8 and able to hold onto me properly as well as reach the pegs. Took her around the block. Full helmet no skid lid.

  3. 3 Jason Hallman Feb 10th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Here we frickin’ go…Florida the: “Republican Welfare State”. I literally grew up clutching the tank of my father’s Bonneville chopper. Back then they didn’t sell youth helmets…I wore a football helmet. It shaped who I am today. These laws are B.S.

  4. 4 CafeSportyTC Feb 10th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I agree with Luis , until they can hold on and reach the pegs my kids are staying off the bike. love them to death , cant wait to share this with them, but they mean to much to me to chance it.

  5. 5 Chopper Dan Feb 10th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I’m pretty sure that the only thing Michigan law says is that the passenger must have footpegs. I’m not sure that it says the pegs must be used. My buddy installed a grab handle and foot pegs to his gas tank so his kid can ride. My kid is 4 and I’ve taken him for short rides around the block, on my lap. Whenever he is comfortable, and mom is ready, I will make the necessary mods to my bike so that he can ride… Always use some common sense in this area

  6. 6 Drake Feb 10th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Just use common sense. Initiate your kids but don’t put them in danger.

  7. 7 Kroeter Feb 10th, 2012 at 11:58 am

    +1 to Luis and CafeSportyTC.

    I make my teenage daughters wear full-face helmet, jacket, shoes, and pants even when it’s 85 in July. Dealing with their complaints is better than the alternative. The complaining usually stops when we hit highway speed 😀

  8. 8 BrotherTiberius Feb 10th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    “extremely rare and insignificant…”

    Maybe, least till it happens to *your* kid.

  9. 9 Seven Feb 10th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I saw guy at the beach with a baby carrier strapped to the passenger seat of a Harley. I wanted to throw up. You just can’t fix stupid….sigh.

  10. 10 Toby Feb 10th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    A few facts of this case to consider:

    -The kid was wearing a bike helmet (not a DOT lid).
    -The kid could not hold on without dads arm around him.
    -The charge of “failure to restrain” does not necessarily refer to a seat belt. It also means that without some other apparatus that the kid could not hold on (or be self-restrained).

    Not opining either way. Just more information.

  11. 11 Nabubba Feb 10th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I like Jason grew up riding in front of my Dad. I took my girls on rides that way till I felt comfortable with them on the back. Now both can reach the pegs and hold on and know how to shift their hips in the corners with me and the bike.

    Even took my oldest on the Tail of The Dragon for a ride and she rode like a champ.

    Common sense is no longer a prerequisite for our lawmakers.

  12. 12 Knucklehead Feb 10th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I took my 3 sons for rides. Private road across the street. When their feet could ride the pegs I’d take them for a bit of a longer ride. Never too long.

  13. 13 Ken Feb 11th, 2012 at 8:16 am

    There are harnesses available, 5 point and neck nut (helps with weight of helmet) for the child attached to a large belt (double latch system) for the rider. The child is behind, a set of their own handlebars, as a parent, its like riding without a passenger, meaning you feel confident your child is safe. I was led to these by an RCMP officer, actually offered a loan of his. Law here states, must have foot pegs, so you have to make set for their feet to reach. Know the law, don’t fight it, remember cops don’t like looking bad in court.

  14. 14 Shaz Feb 11th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    My son has is 12 and has been riding since he was about 1.5 yrs old. Now common sense applied, it started as in front of me up and down our private side street with him holding onto the tank and being cradled with my legs at a whopping speed of about 2.5 mph maybe an exhilarating 7mph in bursts.

    Then at about 2.5-3 I made a set of clip on bars (mounted to the frame in front of the tank) and a set of clip on pegs that mounted to the highway bar location. We rode again, side and back streets in the neighborhood.

    When he was about 5 we got pulled over 2 houses down from us and harassed by a paddy-wagon cop screaming at me. When I explained “NH has no law other than helmet under 18. and he had a helmet and look we live right there ” he continued to tell me how much of an asshole I was and I was going to kill my son, mind you all while he was with me on the bike. My son was in helmet, boots, and jacket and going 5mph in front of our own house.

    It’s BS, they don’t take into consideration the situation. We were not on a main road, highway, or doing anything reckless, we were cruising up and down our street to give my son the same sense of freedom we all crave.

    At about 6 I made a set of rear pegs for him and arm rests that were welded to the backrest and all issues with the law went away.

    Just use common sense and if harassed tell Johnny-Law to step off and read up on the laws their supposed to enforce. Most of them don’t know the particulars of the law just the common ones.

  15. 15 Rick Lossner Feb 11th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Only one kid? In Mexico they get the entire family on a moped;)

  16. 16 Robert Filla - Thunder Press Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    In Texas, the kid has to be at least 5 years old unless they’re riding in a sidecar or if a motorcycle is the parent’s only means of transportation. Don’t know how you’re suppose to prove that one while being detained on the side of the road.

    I’ve got two 4-year old grand daughters that are already checking out helmets, jackets and boots. They already have their goggles.

  17. 17 hawghugger Feb 11th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    My fondest childhood memory: Snuggled up next to the tank with my dads long legs cradleing my hips. Wind in my hair. I was FREE! I felt so safe and NOone was gonna bother me! My dad had my back 😉

  18. 18 Stephen Feb 11th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve been riding with my children since they were 4 years old. I have a harness system that wraps around my waist (very similar to a large kidney belt) and attaches to a 5 point harness that lock my kids to me. It has a foam pad and little handle bars between us for them to hold on to. They are completely secure, they can sleep, look around, play on an iPod (get a wrist strap). I am even able to get off the bike and walk around with them if need be… good for when they are asleep and you need gas.

    check it out:


  19. 19 izadore007 Feb 12th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    All of the above comments bring great memories to me riding my Kids around on my Honda 250R 3 Wheeler and my Artic Cat El Tigre 6000 Snowmobile or my Honda BlackBird and my RoadKing. You are all forgetting about 1 thing I wasn’t dealing with the CockSucker Florida Cops.

  20. 20 Red Feb 13th, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I have been riding my 6 year old daughter to school for the past two years everyday the weather permits. She started in a side-hack then an eglide. Used the crash bars for pegs until she could reach the boards. She has her own lid.

  21. 21 Tuttle Feb 13th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    During my divorce, (just to F with me) my wife added to our custody agreement that I was not to ride my children on my bike until the age of 12… i agreed to make things go a little smoother

  22. 22 nicker Feb 13th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    A….. “Riding Belt”…….how-zat work?

    What happens during a Get-Off… ya flop onto your kid….like an air-bag???
    I’d like to see the “Product Tests” on this one.


  23. 23 glenn Feb 14th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    about `84/`85 my son about 1.5 yrs gear w/helmet harness straped in front of me,to me app.20mph regional cop younger than me tries to give me shit.tell him thats his opinion,takes 30 min.to find in- proper foot pegs forget how many $$$ start job day before court day pay fine hes 29yrs now and his girlfriend rides a fatboy he rides a custom hotrod w/117s&s it stuck w/him &his 1yr kid will be riding soon. ride on and just use that rare thing called common sense & dont let that cop w/opinion have his way, front better than behind ????? you want to land on your back not your face given the chioce in 1 of five crashes {solo} i had the choice be safe but have a good time.later

  24. 24 Sinisterr1 Feb 21st, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Let’s not worry about where our child rides on a motorcycle , that’s why we are called parents, responsible!! Let’s worry about drugs that kill our kids, Florida, hello!,,,

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Cyril Huze