Can a Child Ride on a Motorcycle?

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There are no age requirements to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle.  A minor of any age is permitted to ride on a bike. However, the bike must have certain things to make it legal.


California law does not demand that children need to be a certain age to ride as a passenger. 


California requires that a child must be in a seat securely fastened to the bike behind the driver.  This requirement is similar to the law that mandates the use of seatbelts in cars. Also, the bike must have footrests for the child.  The law requires that a child keep his feet on the footrests while the bike is moving.  The footrests on a bike should be modified to fit the child. Many seats have footrests built into them. 


Children riding on a bike must wear a helmet. The helmet must fit properly. It must also be one that meets all federal safety standards.  The standards discuss what a helmet must have to protect the head in a collision. The federal government conducts tests on helmets to determine if they are safe. There are certain things that one should check for to see if a helmet is safe. A helmet should have an inner liner that is about one-inch in thickness. A helmet should have a sturdy chinstrap. A helmet meeting the safety standards generally weigh about three pounds. An unsafe novelty helmet weighs typically one pound or less. A safe helmet has a sticker on the back with the letters “DOT.” The label shows that the helmet meets the standards. 


Insurance companies look for reasons to deny a child’s injury claim, even if the other driver was clearly at fault. The insurance company will argue the child was not in an appropriate seat. The company will further argue the child was unable to keep his feet on the footrests because of his size. The company will also challenge the safety of the helmet. It is therefore essential that the bike has an appropriate seat and footrests, and that the child wear a safety helmet, to defeat those arguments.


It is not illegal for a child to ride on a bike. However, the bike must have a securely fastened seat and footrests for the child. Also, the child must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards. The failure to have those things puts the child at risk. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with experienced attorneys.