Riding a motorcycle can be fun, exciting, and exhilarating. As a bonus, it can save time and money. The downside of motorcycle riding is the high risk of sustaining serious injuries in case of an accident, much more so with kids on a motorcycle. Motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities.
The safety concern makes it important to understand when it’s safe for kids to become motorcycle passengers. Each state has its own laws regarding motorcycle riding for children. No matter what the law says about age requirements for children riding pillion (back seat of the motorcycle), safety should be the driver’s top concern at all times.
What Age Is It Safe for Kids to Ride on a Motorcycle in Texas?
In Texas, children under five years of age can’t ride on a motorcycle.
According to Texas House Bill 537, “an operator may not carry another person on a motorcycle unless the other person is at least five years of age.”
Other laws to follow when carrying a child on a motorcycle, include:
- Malorie’s Law — the motorcycle carrying two people (regardless of their age), must be equipped with foot and handholds for the motorcycle passenger.
- Helmet law — all passengers over the age of 5 and under the age of 21 must wear helmets when riding a motorcycle.
- Passenger seat law– to carry a passenger, the motorcycle must be equipped with a permanent passenger seat. It’s also allowed to carry a child in a side-seat. However, putting passengers of any age in front of the driver is prohibited.
While the law allows you to carry a child over five years of age on a motorcycle, you should consider the following issues:
- Can the child reach the footpegs?
- Does the child understand the importance of using handholds?
- Is the child strong enough to keep himself or herself in place during sharp maneuvers?
In Texas, the law won’t punish you for carrying a child over 5 years old on a motorcycle if you follow all the necessary rules and requirements. However, it’s up to the driver to assess the situation and make the decision in favor or against putting a child on a motorcycle.
If a motorcycle accident occurs while a child is riding a pillion, call your motorcycle accident lawyer immediately. By accessing proper legal assistance timely, you can receive maximum compensation.
Making it Safe for Kids on a Motorcycle
While you follow the laws related to children riding pillion, it’s important to remember a few extra safety tips:
- Perfectly fitted helmet — choose a high-quality and well-fitting motorcycle helmet for the child. Since children grow quickly, a helmet you purchased last season may be too small to keep a kid’s head safe during a collision.
- Safety gear and protective clothing — besides knee guards and motorcycle gloves, kids should wear a durable jacket (e.g. leather) and heavy pants (e.g. jeans). They can protect the child from abrasions and the wind.
- Motorcycle safety belt — a safety belt or harness can keep the child safely attached to the driver. It’s an excellent option for smaller kids, whose hands aren’t big and strong enough to hold on to the handholds or the driver. Additionally, it can protect a child when they fall asleep during a long ride.
- Safety skills — before putting a child on a motorcycle, it’s imperative to teach them basic safety skills, including the art of holding on to the handholds and the importance of not creating a distraction.
- Practice — before going to a busy street, practice driving around with a child in low-traffic areas.
- Defensive driving — when you have a child riding pillion, make sure to drive defensively. Always assume that drivers of other vehicles can’t see you. While this could take some thrill out of the ride, such driving can maximize your child’s safety.
- Warnings — warn the child about the upcoming road surface defects, sharp turns, and plans for acceleration.
If you take all the necessary safety precautions, you can minimize the number of injuries during an accident.
Injuries children often sustain during bike accidents include:
- Friction burns
- TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Bruised and/or cracked ribs
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken kneecaps and ankles
- Road rash
If you and your child get into a motorcycle accident, contact your motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you have the chance. You could be entitled to compensation even if it seems that the accident is your fault.
What Should You Do If You Get Into a Motorcycle Accident with a Child?
In 2019, 412 motorcyclists were killed in Texas and 1,800 received serious injuries. The majority (60%) of motorcycle crashes occur between May and October. If you and your child get into a motorcycle accident, don’t panic. Follow these steps to minimize damage:
- Stay calm and take deep breaths. Try not to get angry.
- Check your child and yourself for injuries.
- In case any of the people involved in the crash are injured, call 911 immediately.
- Call your motorcycle accident attorney to get further advice.
- Try to preserve the scene of the accident (don’t move your bike).
- If possible, take as many photos of the accident scene and bike damage as you can.
Drivers who carry children with them often panic after an accident. To make sure you don’t make any costly mistakes after getting into a crash, call your motor accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Thompson Law is Here to Help
While you are doing everything in your power to make it safe for kids to ride a motorcycle, accidents can happen. If you and your child get into a motorcycle crash, we are only one call away.
Our team of experienced motor accident attorneys can take over your case and help you get due compensation for financial and health-related damages. Call us at 866-293-4768 for a free case evaluation.