When is it Safe for your Children to Ride?

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some quality time with my two boys while home on vacation. We took a great hike, got muddy and climbed some trees. The day could not have been better! Often I have thought that I would love to take one of the boys on a cycle ride. Heck, my wife used to ride with me all the time, but now she refuses stating, “If we got into an accident then the boys would have no one”. Her logic is clear enough, and it stems from her love of our children, so who am I to judge. Now my oldest child is turning 9, and I would love to include him in my love for anything motorcycles. I am not talking about a two-week trek. What I am talking about are just quick jaunts to local hiking trails, the park, the lake and the ice cream stands. The quality time we could spend together would be immeasurable. The argument is moot because my wife will not allow it, but I still wonder about the question “when is safe for a child to ride on a motorcycle?” I believe ultimately that it must be the parent’s choice, but I know that there must be some individual state laws that say something about it. Any thoughts on the subject?

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About twotiretirade

Keeping the faith of fanatics who feel fired up for anything motorcycles. It’s all about the journey and the philosophy of riding on two wheels. Let’s bring alive the truly unique culture of motorcycling and never let the ride leave the fibers of our being. View all posts by twotiretirade

6 responses to “When is it Safe for your Children to Ride?

  • eamallory

    I’m part of a forum for my model and year of bike, some of the guys talk about taking their kids all the time on the bikes. I don’t believe there are age restrictions for passengers, at least not in my state (Kansas) where we let people do what they want and let God sort ’em out. (Not really in fact we have a state wide indoor public smoking ban) But to the point, you and your wife are both right. It’s dangerous, and it would be a great bonding for you and your son. Chris Pirsig was 10 when he went across the US with his Dad, Robert Pirsig on a 1964 Honda SuperHawk, in 1968. So it depends on the child, the rider and of course, the mother.

    • twotiretirade

      It all very true. There are consequences for our actions and one must weight the safely factor involved but when can you ever guarantee your kids safety. Its a risk vs reward scenario. Well I guess I will remember what my dad used to say, “if mama aint happy then no one is happy”. With that said, it looks like I wont be riding with my kids any time soon.

  • BigRed

    This is all so true. I could never bring myself to introduce my kids to motorcycling (do as I say, not as I do!). That is why I took a 20 year hiatus from riding. But I just couldn’t put my life on hold any longer. However, if my adult kids decided to ride on their own and would not listen to my admonitions, I would make it my mission in life to raise their skill levels to the highest I could, and in the process, ride all over the place with them (if they would let me).

  • notjust4girrlz

    When I took a learn-to-ride class to get a motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license I remember my jaw literally dropping as the teacher mentioned that although the state regulates in detail the specifics of car-seat requirements for children, there are no laws whatsoever regarding taking them as passengers on a motorcycle. When he reminded us that motion causes a lot of children to get very sleepy, I may have winced. He wasn’t being judgmental, but he asked if occasionally reaching back to tap a child would really keep them alert and safely on board. I’m sure the sleep factor varies by age and child, and not having kids, it’s not a decision I need to make for myself. But even when the passenger on the back is an adult I am painfully aware that they have placed their life in my hands. I am a worrier, but there is a balance that has to be reached. Another thing that motorcycle teacher mentioned was that riding was about managing risk. Applied to this situation for me it meant the question was not whether or not to carry a passenger in an absolute sense, but under what circumstances. For the time being, I never travel any roads with a passenger where I’d have to go over about 40 mph, since higher speeds tend to cause more grievous injuries. I avoid riding with them at night, because the reduced visibility hampers my ability to anticipate many types of potential accidents, because I can’t see them as far in advance as I could during the day. I also have gear for my passenger, and although I’ve yet to convince them to wear the armored pants, I’m happy that armored jacket and gloves are being worn every time we go out (the helmet goes without saying). Lastly, having been a passenger on many rides myself, I also try to keep in mind that although we are sharing pleasant experiences and creating memories, the ride on the back isn’t quite the same as the ride in the front. The magic of controlling the flight of my own dragon puts me in a whole other world where 5 hours goes by in an instant. Long rides are something I will only gradually work up to with my passenger, and during that process I am trying hard to be honest with myself when assessing how much of my passenger’s enthusiasm for spending quality time together on my bike is about being on the bike, and how much is just about being with me. Good luck with reaching understanding that works for both you and your wife.

    • twotiretirade

      Great Comments! Your totally right about the passengers experience compared to the drivers. In early spring I drove my cycle 1500 miles to Florida and back. The trip was like a blink of an eye. For me the ride was total bliss but I bet a passenger would think differently. Why is it that a long trip for us can seem like such a short distance? Well something to ponder. Let the ride continue.

  • notjust4girrlz

    Just came across this link about riding with your kids, so I thought I’d pass it along. If you scroll down a little, there are 2 or 3 belting options mentioned to fasten the child to yourself (or maybe the bike – not sure, didn’t read them): http://bikingwithkids.com/2009/08/18/first-and-second-motorcycle-ride-with-my-son/

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