For those who don’t use motorcycles as a mode of transportation it may be surprising to learn that in the vast majority of states there is no minimum age restriction for passengers.
The states that do have a minimum age requirement are Arkansas (8), Hawaii (7), Louisiana (5), Texas (5 unless seated in a side-car) and Washington (5), according to the American Motorcyclist Association.
Safety helmets are required for young children in all but 2 states. Illinois and Iowa have no motorcycle helmet laws on the books. Additional common protections include proper passenger seating and passenger footrests that ensure feet secure comfortably on them.
For many, motorcycles are not only a mode of transportation but a way of life. On numerous message boards you find frustrated parents who feel that the authorities need to be educated on the rules after having found themselves being pulled over simply for having their young child riding along with them, even though they’ve followed all applicable laws.
In early 2011, a Virginia House Representative looked to pass a law making it illegal for children under the age of 8 to ride. Matt Danielson, legal counsel for the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists said at the time,”I think the parent can make a better decision about whether their child is ready to ride than can some legislator in Richmond.”
In backing up his position he provided statistics gathered via the DMV. Between 2005 and 2009, 23 children age 9 and younger were injured while riding motorcycles in Virginia. None died. In that same period of time three children ages 9 and younger died from bicycle accidents, and 238 injuries were reported, Danielson added. His conclusion was that, “It’s not a problem in the commonwealth of Virginia. What these numbers say is that motorcycling parents in Virginia are doing a very good job of making this decision for themselves.”
What’s your opinion on children of any age being able to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle? With the increased use of the more fuel-efficient means of transportation it’s an interesting question.