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? (written by Cyril Huze, 2/10/12)
Taking your child for a motorcycle ride is one of the things that we look forward to as an adult rider. At first, this seems like a great idea. However, without the proper protection and knowledge, both you and your child are at risk. By taking simple steps to ensure safety, you two will have a fun ride.
•A proper fit helmet. It might seem obvious that your child needs to wear a helmet, however, a proper fit is key. A loose helmet can fall off during an accident. A proper fit should fit comfortably; not too loose or too tight.
•Protective Clothing. It’s also important to dress your children in protective clothing. Several leather companies have started to sell children’s sizes. Having your children properly dressed means “they have long pants (denim or chaps), long sleeves (denim and leather jackets work best), full finger gloves, good sturdy shoes, and a properly fitted D.O.T. helmet.” Proper eye protection such as sunglasses helps prevent damage from the sun.
•Children ride behind. Another important aspect of riding with your child is having them ride behind you. It can be dangerous for your child to ride in front because they don’t have a safe place to hold on to and they also can slide off easily during an accident. One solution is to purchase a belt that fits around the rider and has handholds for the passenger. There are several models to choose from and allow your child to hold on with ease.
•Communicate. Knowing when to let your children ride should be made with an informed decision. According to the American Motorcyclists Association, the decision should be made with your head; not your heart. Also talk to your children to see if they are ready and to discuss any concerns. Riding with your children can become bonding for the two of you, but it is important not to rush. Many parents will wait until their child can reach the foot pedals before taking them on a ride.
A few people think motorcycling is too dangerous an activity to involve kids. If you take a long sober look at the risks and prepare yourself for them, then, if it’s safe enough for the parent to do, it’s safe enough for kids as well, provided you consider their needs.
BEFORE YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT TAKING YOUR CHILD WITH YOU,
ARE YOU PROPERLY INSURED?
LESLIE KAY’S INSURANCE: FOR BIKERS BY BIKERS
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