Children as Pillion? WORTH THE RISKS?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Lunatik, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. 74C5

    74C5 Long timer

    Aug 7, 2008
    Butterfield Canyon, UT
    It is, without a doubt a function of size of the child but,......
    Times have changed, there's lots of lawyers with nothing to do.
    When it isn't your kid, you aren't parent and child. You are the future defendant and plaintiff.
    When it is your kid, now you have to worry about child endangerment.
  2. Phineas

    Phineas Joe Lunchbox

    Oct 18, 2006
    My two daughters grew up around motorcycles. Once they were four or five if they wanted a ride I'd give them one (totally geared up) but always went out of my way to make it seem no big deal either way. I took MSF dirtbike training with the youngest and her boyfriend. The boyfriend dug it but she wasn't all that excited after the class.

    Deep down inside I felt like one of my successes as a parent was that neither kid was all that interested in bikes.

    When the youngest moved to Oregon the first thing she did was sign up for the Oregon rider training program. She was saving for a Ninja 250 when she decided to move to New Zealand where she now rides a friends scooter and is saving for her own.

    I have always been horrified at the very idea that I would crash and a loved one would be injured. I hate two up with any of them. I don't care who's fault it was I don't believe I'd ever get over it. Everybody in the family enjoys some sort of high risk sport but we all do it on our own.

    Everybody has to make their own decisions on this one.
  3. Mistress of the dual

    Mistress of the dual Some say....

    Jun 22, 2009
    Ramona CA
    Do not believe this guy for a minute. All future children of SteelRain will know how to operate a motorcycle before they can walk. It will be in their blood.

    When it comes to kids someone will always criticize how you parent them. It would be a shame to not let your kid ride and have them miss out on some serious family bonding time.
  4. sthoerner

    sthoerner Adventurer

    Feb 24, 2003
    My son rode his first bike (a PW50) at 4 years old. He's messed with bikes since he could walk. You have to be careful and wear gear, but everything has some risk.
    Here's my son in 1983:
    <a href=";current=Jawa.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    Here he is with his son last week!
    <a href=";current=DSC00001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    It appears their having fun & I wouldn't want to take that away....

    It works when you get old too. Here's my wife's grandma :eek1 with me in 1983:
    <a href=";current=JawaSC.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Grandma"></a>

    Have fun!
    Steve in KY
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Jan 9, 2005
    Über Alles,California
    It really depends on the kid. My oldest was terrified at 11 and didn't ride much with me growing up, he was happier on his own dirtbike.

    My youngest boy loved riding at 8, he'll do anything to this day..jump off bridges, bungee jump and stuff, great passenger on a bike.

    When my daughter came along I tried her on the back seat at 4, but she was too scattered and couldn't pay attention, stuck her in the sidecar with something to do and she was good at that..she got good at riding on the back around 11 or so.
  6. tastroman

    tastroman Long timer

    May 9, 2009
    Collinsville Va
    When it all boils down, you are the only one that can answer your question. You know what the risks are. Do the risks outweigh the rewards? It's not what anyone else thinks, it's what you think.

    I've chosen to take my daughter along. It's great bonding time for us and something I'm sure she will carry it with her long after I'm gone. At 12 she doesn't understand the risks or the rewards. One day she might wake up and say "how could my father be so reckless with my safety" than, she might wake up and say, " I'm glad my father did not leave me at home watching TV every time he went exploring".
  7. capt_enduro

    capt_enduro tool whore

    Sep 23, 2008
    NW Georgia
    My son has been riding with me for years. AGATT of course. Now that he's 14, he has his own dirt bike and will probably ride the KLX to high school when he's old enough.

    Between now and then, he rides pillion with me quite a bit. It's a great opportunity to get him thinking about riding proficiently. Our conversations go a lot like this, "Hey bud, where do you think the threats are?" He's learning to see that car at the light in front of us that might turn left, or the chick in the SUV yacking away on her cell phone in the next lane.

  8. Sparrowhawkdesign

    Sparrowhawkdesign Been here awhile

    Mar 13, 2011
    This is a favorite topic for me. I took my 8yr old nephew on a three week coast to coast trip in my sidecar. We camped all the way and it was one of the best rides of my life. He is now 36 and still talks about it. Things like this are too important to miss out on.

    My son was on the back of my motorcycle at three but not until I had custom built a special seat similar to the plastic seats you sometimes see on the back of bicycles. Full wrap around like an arm chair and foot rests built in to his size. This was bolted to my bike. Once he was seated in that with me in front of him he could fall asleep without falling off and I always new when that happened because his helmet would clunk into my back. Despite the fact that these were at best no more than 20 minute rides we didn't do it until I finally found a helmet that he could wear without being too heavy and fit properly. Finding that was the hardest part.

    I can't say enough about the fact that almost every child will eventually get bored and fall asleep and I will not strap them to myself or the motorcycle. I don't want to be strapped to my motorcycle for obvious reasons and they shouldn't be either. I watched my Niece falling asleep on the back of her dad's motorcycle and it was too scary for words. She was about 12 at the time. I was able to come along side and sound the alarm. It still gives me the shakes thinking about it.

    Bought my Grand Niece a JR50 for Christmas but she likes her electric start ATV better so I guess my Grandson will get the JR. Besides myself nobody else in the family rides but most of the parents grew up riding with me so they understand. Lots of great memories.

  9. onaXR

    onaXR Druid

    Jul 28, 2005
    Dont think I would be into bike like I am if Dad didnt have me on the back.
    I toured the back roads of my state when I was young as 4. Dad used to hook two of his belts together and strap me to him:D. Then I remember the Kaw H2 it had a sissy bar and a place to hold on.
    To this day Dad and I will ride somewhere cool and he will say you were here in 1976:lol3 I was born in '70.
    Mom tells stories of prying my hands from the handlebars so she could change my diaper.
    Yeah I think its worth it.
  10. Iwantabikesobad

    Iwantabikesobad Long timer

    Jul 2, 2007
    Bakersfield Ca. USA
    Friday was my daughters 6th. Birthday. Twice earlier she rode on the DR-200 out to the river and back. She has gear and a very nice DOT Helmet and goggles. She held onto the waist strap of my jacket and had some armrest bars around her. We never topped 40 Mph. She is pretty much fearless at this age. She has been riding a PW-50 for a year now and is pretty good.
    For her birthday I made some higher footpegs and transferred the handles/armrests to my bike. The look on her face was priceless when she realized she could ride Daddy's bike was one I won't forget.
    The thought of something bad happening scares the crap out of me and it dictates where I will take her. Only the back roads and no freeways. It has been a great bonding thing for us as its her special time where she gets my full attention.
    So friday was the first big ride about 40 miles total. She had to pee and it was a little cold at the end but she smiled the whole way. She did say she was getting tired when we got home, so this is something to watch out for.

    I must mention taking a little girl with a pink helmet and gear on around town will get you a lot of waves and winks from young ladies at stop lights. Much like taking a labrador puppy for a walk.

    To me its worth it to take her, I also rode with my son when he was 10.
    They were storebought so I didnt have the chance when he was younger.
  11. Joe3

    Joe3 Been here awhile

    Aug 25, 2010
    Motor City
    I first rode with my dad when I was 5 or 6. He gave short rides to me and my sister on a bike he got for basic transportation in grad school. My sister was probably 4 or 5. It was all good until he crashed with my sister and mom decided the family had enough money for two cars instead of a car and a motorcycle. :wink:
  12. Reverand Roadblock

    Reverand Roadblock Where are my pants

    Oct 13, 2007
    Long Island

    Me on my Dad's bike in '79 I think. Big brother would be on the back. If I remember right the bike is a rd350.

    He used to let me "steer". :D:D:D
  13. Reverand Roadblock

    Reverand Roadblock Where are my pants

    Oct 13, 2007
    Long Island

    The cop in the background was a neighbor. We didn't get pulled over.
  14. mneblett

    mneblett Professional Lurker

    Jul 13, 2004
    My son has been riding with me since he was 8, always ATGATT (big kid -- could reach the passenger floorboards on my K12LT at 7 1/2). Rode with me (spouse behind us on her R1150GS) from VA to Arkansas and back for a rally. The keys for us were an intercom so I could constantly check on his state, and the KLT's trunk and armrests -- between those and my back, he was physically locked in place. Made it through three Harry Potter books on CD by the time the trip was done. :D

    I cannot over-emphasize how important the intercom was, both for safety and for permitting "bonding" conversations (as well as discussions of right/wrong driving examples we would see).

    Here's the reason(s) we introduced him to riding young: I learned how to ride by buying a CB360T when I lived in the dorms at college in the '70's. I somehow survived riding it from the seller's house back to the dorm, and then proceeded to learn how to ride by somehow not plastering myself against the many cars/trucks/roadsigns/buildings in the area over the next year or two of running around campus or downstate a couple hours to my grandparents' on the weekends.

    Fast forward a couple decades: Our son lives in a house with 5-6 motorcycles and two former MSF instructors as parents. There has never been any question that he would want to ride. So we started training him at a young age about ATGATT (great to hear a 9 yo over the intercom talking about how stupid the non-ATGATT t-shirt/shorts/sandals riders were :rofl). We figured he stood a better chance of survival by living through several years of instruction under watchful eyes than by buying a bike when he's living at the dorms at college and ... (see above)

    I have to say it's paid off. He's 18, a graduate of the MSF course, his learner's permit was recently replaced with an M class license, and I have to say he's safer and more awake/aware/thinking about "what ifs" than 90% of the riders you see out there on the weekend. I also believe it has been good for helping us get though the teen hormones/impending separation period with everyone's sanity basically intact -- gave us a common "safe" ground from which conversations could develop. Whether it contribued to the current straight A's and extraordinarily responsible behavior, I can't say; I doubt it hurt any, though.

    Do I literally shudder at the thought of what could happen to him someday? You betcha; always will until they close my lid and light off the over-sized Bunsen burners. But I'd rather see him live life than watch others do it.
  15. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi
    Did you take separate cars and airplanes, too? :lol3
  16. Alton

    Alton Been here awhile

    Feb 21, 2008
    St. Louis, USA
    I grew up on a CB750. I remember sloppy used helmets and pillows strapped to the gas tank to sleep on when I got tired. My parents took my brother and I on day trips all over the place. When my first sister came along, Dad upgraded to a CB900 and we got a side car. Of course, I also remember Dad picking up all three of us kids from little league on Mom's Magna too. Pretty sure he came from the bar.

    I wouldn't give up those memories for ANYTHING. But times have changed. Looking back I wonder how we survived. My kids get rides around the neighborhood at <20 right now. They have to have solid tennis shoes, pants, jackets, and their bicycle helmets. When they can reach the pegs and show interest, I'll get them full gear and take them on short rides. I know my daughter is looking forward to getting rides to school.

    As for the neighborhood kids, thats a no-go. I'll let them sit on the bike with parental permission (parents have to be standing there), but no more. Actually, there are enough Harley and other cruiser riders in the neighborhood that most of the kids aren't interested in the Tiger anyway, which is OK by me.
  17. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

    Dec 17, 2009
    Southern Appalachians
    It's probably stupid, but so are most other things parents do.

    If you really want them to have an appreciation for motorbikes, I'm pretty sure they can "catch up" once they're old enough for their own bike without having spent much time on one - it isn't like they won't already be culturally programmed to think they're cool.

    At the least they should be tall enough to reach the passenger pegs.
  18. sacto929

    sacto929 Been here awhile

    May 22, 2002
    Huntsville, AL
    That picture reminds me of how my Dad used to take me to and from Kindergarten and early elementary school on his '73 CB750F. Once I have the room, I'll restore that bike....:evil

    My girls are 6 and 4 and neither have been on the bike with me yet, while moving. They love to climb on and sit, but no rides yet. Like others have said, gear up and take it slow.

    Ride on.
  19. frag

    frag I support single moms

    Apr 24, 2009
    Detroit, Michigan
    by all means get the kid on something. A tractor, riding mower, motorcycle, anything with wheels and an engine....

    My first experience on two wheels was with my uncle on a yamaha 175 at about 7 years old. At 9, I was running a briggs and stratton mini-bike.

    You have the power to shape future generations, and a quick trip up and down your road will go a long way toward rearing a healthy, well adjusted young adult.
  20. dinsdale

    dinsdale Adventurer

    Sep 8, 2009
    Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada
    2 daughters, now 19 and 20, with their own bikes.
    They had their own dirtbikes at 4 and 5 and were riding pillion with my wife and I at the same age. Full protective gear and strapped to us, due to being so relaxed that they fell asleep.
    Took both of them on California coast trips around the age of 12; they loved it.
    Both of them have now talked their boyfriends into the pastime and I'm very proud of them.
    My own first photograph is of me as a baby in a sidecar with mum and dad (1947) I was always encouraged by them to develop my bike interests as I grew up.
    In my view, it's a wonderful way to develop self confidence and a degree of independence in kids.