How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes | Motorcycle accident
Florida has strict guidelines about where a child can sit in a vehicle and the type of child safety restraint the child is required to use based on age. However, there are no age restrictions for children to ride on the back of a motorcycle.
Although the state does not put an age restriction for children riding on the back of motorcycles, children must still obey the Florida motorcycle helmet laws. All motorcycle riders under the age of 21 years must wear a motorcycle helmet.
Therefore, you need to purchase a child’s motorcycle helmet if you intend to let your child ride on the back of your motorcycle. The motorcycle helmet must comply with all state and federal laws.
Make sure that you choose a motorcycle helmet that fits your child’s head correctly. If the motorcycle helmet is too large or loose, it will not provide as much protection if your child is involved in a motorcycle wreck.
The Type of Motorcycle Might Prohibit a Child Riding on the Back
Florida motorcycle laws prohibit passengers from riding on a motorcycle that does not have a passenger seat and dedicated footrests. The child’s feet need to touch the footrests. Also, the seat must be built to accommodate both the rider and the passenger.
Some children may be too small to reach the footrests or hold onto the rider tightly. Motorcyclists should consider whether the child is ready to be a passenger on the motorcycle. If the child does not understand the rules for riding the motorcycle, they may be too young to ride.
Some parents and guardians choose to use a sidecar instead of having the child ride on the back of the motorcycle. You need to ensure the sidecar meets all requirements and you follow the manufacturer’s instructions related to child passengers.
Motorcycle Safety Gear for Children
If a child rides on the back of a motorcycle, they should wear protective gear. Leather jackets, boots, denim pants, and other protective gear can reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of a motorcycle accident.
Some riders use special passenger belts to help a child balance and stay on the back of the motorcycle. The strap fastens around the child and rider so that the child is secured to the rider’s back.
If a special carrier is used for the child, the carrier needs to fit securely on the motorcycle’s passenger seat. Therefore, it is wise to have the seat inspected by a certified inspecting station to ensure the carrier is secured correctly to the motorcycle.
What Should I Do if My Child is Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
You might take all steps to keep your child safe as a passenger on a motorcycle. But, unfortunately, you cannot force other drivers to use good driving behaviors on the road. Therefore, you could be involved in a motorcycle crash with your child.
The first priority is your child’s health. Motorcycle accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and paralysis. Thus, seek immediate medical attention for your child.
Seeking Financial Compensation for Damages
As soon as possible, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer for your child. Child injury cases are complicated. The damages a child might suffer may not be immediately known. Therefore, you may need medical experts and other professionals to determine the extent of your child’s injuries.
Damages that your child might recover for a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Medical bills
- Personal care costs
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
A motorcycle accident could result in conditions and injuries that impair your child’s development. However, you may not see evidence of the impairment right away. It could take years to detriment the level of cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments caused by motorcycle accident injuries.
An accident attorney understands the challenges of valuing an injury claim involving a child. For example, your child’s injuries could limit their ability to work when they grow up.
Your child deserves compensation for future loss of income and loss of earning potential. However, placing a value on future damages often requires the assistance of financial experts and economists.
Keep in mind that a judge may need to review the settlement agreement to ensure that it is in the child’s best interest. In some cases, the court may restrict the use of the funds or require the funds to be held in a special account until the child reaches 18 years of age.