While parents work hard to protect their children, even going so far as to use a child locator device, sometimes accidents do happen. Many parents have motorcycles and enjoy taking their children for rides on these machines. If you take your child along with you while riding a motorcycle, there are some important child safety precautions and procedures to remember.
Where to Ride
Your child should always sit behind you. This is the safest place your child and the safest place for you to be sitting while driving. Although it’s tempting to let children “ride in the front” so that they can see what’s going on, it is extremely unsafe for you and them. When a child sits up front, the easiest place for them to put their hands is on the handlebars and/or controls with you never want your child to mistake as toys.
Rules of the Ride
Teach your child how to sit on and ride on a motorcycle properly. Make sure they know what and where to hold on to while riding. And let them know that sudden movement can throw your ride off, making it dangerous for both of you. Make sure they know to stay sitting down throughout the whole ride. You, of course, understand how exhilarating riding can be, but standing up on the back of a motorcycle is never safe.
Long sleeve shirts and long pants (denim if possible) are best. Leather is always great for motorcycle riding as it provides the best protection. Leather pants (or chaps) and a leather jacket is ideal for your child. Gloves are also recommended to help keep your child’s hands safe. Properly fitting and sturdy shoes or boots are also a necessity. Perhaps most importantly, your child will need a DOT helmet and protective eyewear. Polycarbonate plastic lenses are the most shatter-resistant. Another option is to have your child wear a full face helmet which can protect not only their eyes but their face as well. Dust, road debris and sunlight can be very irritating and harmful to young eyes (and your own).
Floorboards and Pegs
Most floorboards and pegs are designed for an average height adult passenger. You may need to alter yours or install adjustable floorboards or pegs to properly fit your child’s height. Otherwise, the highway bars on the back of the bike may be used as footrests if they match up to your child’s height appropriately.
Rules of the Road
Despite how you ride when alone or with adults, always obey traffic laws, especially the speed limit. Although your child may beg to go “faster, faster,” keep in mind that you’re the adult and you need to do what’s best for your child’s safety whether you’re at home or on the open road.
Lap Time, Not Nap Time
The sweet sounds of your motorcycle’s engine and that steady vibration may be enough to lull your child to sleep. Even if you have a sissy bar on the back of your bike, it’s extremely dangerous for your child to sleep while riding. The potential that they could fall off is far too great to risk it. Be aware of your child’s posture and body language while you’re driving. If you suspect, even for a second, that your child is getting sleepy, it’s best to pull over and take a break before continuing your ride.