Children as Pillion? WORTH THE RISKS?

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

  1. DiabloADV

    DiabloADV Semi-Occasional

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    When I first returned to riding last year (after a 15 year no-bike phase), my 12yo son would hop on for short rides with me. Doing errands and just cruising around. His 13yo brother would just wave me off...

    Then at some point, the younger one wouldn't ride either. I pestered them both -- "What's the problem?" Turns out their too-cool-for-middle-school friends told them that the back seat on a motorcycle is for girls only. The "bitch seat."

    Bums me out because I had some camping trips in mind for the summer. I've started getting the older one interested only because I have offered to ride up into the Sierras with his downhill skateboard strapped on the Pelican case. He can do some long downhill runs with me filming him with the GoPro on my front fender. This kinda stuff...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY4G_KAL-lo

    Momma started doing her worry-routine over the idea of motorcycling, so I reminded her how she packs them up in the SUV every weekend and lets them out at the top of steep mountain roads where they bomb down weaving in and out of traffic with plastic cereal bowls on their heads.

    I did recently buy them full face BMX helmets and they are now wearing those on the skate runs.
    #41
  2. car94

    car94 What's this Box for?

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    I rode on the back of my dad's bike back as far as I can remember so did my brother. I have pictures from before I was 5 and we never had a problem. I can tell you we never had properly fitting helmets or gear. Fast forward 20 years as I was coming down the street with my oldest son on the back of my CBR the middle son runs out in front of the bike, clips the bar end, bike flips both me and son land high side style on our head and right shoulder. Broken collar bones for both of us, luckily we had Helmets. Then when we healed up we went riding again. I also continued to ride my Daughter who was 7 years younger than the boys. I also never let any one else's kid ride with me. Even relatives kids.
    Because this can happen! St patricks day this year in Kansas City Mo,
    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/17/2732003/man-and-girl-died-in-kc-motorcycle.html
    #42
  3. trustme

    trustme Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    We recently completed almost 2000 km touring with Miss 10 on the back , no probs

    1/ ATGATT no ifs, no buts
    2/ Ride sensibly & carefully
    3/ Stop often
    4/ Keep daily distances short or they will hate it
    5/ Keep them warm

    Well worth the risk. Miss 10 had a holiday she will never forget.
    You have to tailor what you do around the kid.
    #43
  4. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    Yep, ATGATT.

    However, I, unfortunately, had to go to the funeral of one of my eldest boy's football teammates.... he was on the back of his Dad's bike - and the old tyre on the back blew and the kid hit a tree. Incredibly sad.

    A boy in my other son's team was killed by a dingo around the same time.

    Shit happened - twice. Once on the road, once camping. Shit won't stop me doing things... but it makes me more aware

    btw... I reckon checking the age of vehicle tyres should be a compulsory part of registration renewal. Anything over 6 years old... replace it.
    #44
  5. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

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    To me, it's all about risk versus reward. I can't see taking a young child (under 6) on the bike unless it's around the neighborhood for just a couple of minutes AND they're sufficiently protected. Young children are especially fragile. Even up to 10 or so I have to wonder if they have the physical strength and mental discipline to hold on if one has to take evasive action on the road. Maybe they do... but is the risk worth it?

    Most of you have been riding a lot longer than I have, but I've been alive as long or longer than most of you. What most people thought was acceptable risk when I was young is far more than most of us will accept now... at least in the developed world. I was in India last week; the craziness I saw in traffic, on motorcycles, was unbelievable. I had a man pull up to me with his three-year-old son riding on the tank... in a cotton outfit with no shoes and no helmet or eye protection... on a main arterial in a major Indian city during rush hour. If ANYTHING goes wrong, that child is dead.

    My sense of acceptable risk certainly has changed since I've gotten older; some of the things I did as a teenager or young adult seem unbelievably stupid now. It's good that God looks after fools.

    I've been riding as an adult for a couple of years now, but I still won't take my 10-year-old son for a ride on my bike. However, I did buy him his own XR70 for his birthday, and we took the MSF Dirt Bike class together. Like most children, his common sense can be lacking at times, and he is still developing the ability to think ahead a little. As a parent, one of the hardest things for me to accept is that he will have to make many of his own mistakes... and my job is to try to minimize the consequences of those mistakes because I can't prevent them.

    I can accept the risk of having my son ride, with protective gear, in off-road situations (trails, etc., but not racing). I feel that I can control the risk so that it is acceptable. On the street is another matter. You can do everything right, and still get killed by some idiot who isn't paying attention (my only serious injury/accident was caused by that). I'm hoping that riding off-road will expose my son to motorcycling in a safer, more controlled environment... and I hope he DOESN'T get a street motorcycle until he's past his 20s.

    I guess it all comes down to looking at the worst that can reasonably happen, and then asking yourself, "Is it worth it?"
    #45
  6. douglasgraham

    douglasgraham This is my car

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    I think ObiJohn had a good thoughtful response and I have a 6 year old daughter so Im there. She has asked and I dont think she is ready. Each kid is different go with your gut and use your judgment of your children. My dad gave me a ride on the back of his bike when I was 4 or 5, I had a minibike when I was 6 and I was winning AMA flattrack races at age 14 against adults. Everybody is different.
    #46
  7. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    Its amazing. Folk who are aghast at the thought of children aboard a motorcycle may have no problem with letting a 6-12y.o. girl ride a horse.

    Statically for the time involved, horse riding presents a risk TWENTY-times greater than does motorcycle riding.

    The Dangers of Hog & Horse Accidents
    #47
  8. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    My kids.... no way. I won't even take a passenger anymore.

    Deer infestation around here has made it a lottery to ride. I've hit 3 on a bike and 3 more in cars they represent 90% of my close calls with either. My favorite time of year to ride is Nov - April, with the foliage down you stand half a chance at seeing the dumb forest kamikazes coming.
    #48
  9. ride everything

    ride everything Been here awhile

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    Agree, and up to this point, I've taken my kids (7 and 6) on quite a few rides. It was my dad's wing, which has since been sold, so now I'm back in the market. I'm thinking about getting another 1150GS, but I can't recall if they'd be able to reach the pegs. Anyone know of a good bike that has a shorter reach to the pegs for pillions of this size?
    #49
  10. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Pegs are easy to modify. Buy the bike you want and make it work. :deal
    #50
  11. Rufjeep

    Rufjeep Been here awhile

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    My daughter (now seven) and I have spent alot of great days putting through forest service roads. I think we started doing that when she was four. I had an XR650R, and I would let her sit between my legs and hold the bars. We would just idle along; every once in a while I would gun it a little and she would giggle away, always saying "Go fast, Daddy! Go fast!".

    Being a dad is awesome.:D
    #51
  12. Iwantabikesobad

    Iwantabikesobad Long timer

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    Took my daughter (6 yrs old) to gymnastics class yesterday evening. After class she wanted to go for a ride. We rode to the park along the river about 10 miles away. On the way back I could feel her helmet visor touching my back repeatedly and then it felt like she turned her head and crouched down. I tapped her leg and yelled to her. I thought she said she was cold and we were only a mile from home so I kept going. At the light she said she was FO:DUFH:SDUHF:KSJDFH or something like that. Its hard to hear with the bike and both us wearing full face helmets. I turned the corner and at one block from home I felt her go limp. I tapped the brakes and I felt her straighten up. Her grip on my jacket stayed good but It happened so fast If I would have been cornering it may have gone bad fast.
    Next stop is intercom store. Need to keep better tabs. We have ridden farther before but she wasnt tired from class.
    Be very aware of this, I sure am now.
    #52
  13. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    i take my gf on the back of my bike and she seems to be ok and i got her in all the gear and told her keep her body in line with mine so i can lean the bike over with out any problems when i go in to corner .

    plus i dont have a car so i will all ways take my gf on the bike rain or shine.
    #53
  14. aaronrkelly

    aaronrkelly Been here awhile

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    Personal choice for sure. Ive made mine....I have no problems with my kids on my bike. Rain or shine.....around the block or on a week long trip.

    Maybe its the fact I live in a farm community where everyones kids ride dirt bikes and atvs.....maybe its "little town" syndrome.....but I never get any flak about it. In fact I get alot of smiling and waving.

    My kids were "riders" long before I was. They had ATVs and dirt bikes 2 years before I owned a motorcycle (or my own ATV for that matter).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    They ride almost daily in the yard. Im not a HUGE stickler on safety gear in the yard. Yes I know you CAN be killed hitting the ground at a mere 10mph in the soft grass of a yard. Its all about acceptable risk. My sons on a larger ATV (10 year old riding a Honda TRX250) so I require he wear a helmet even when moving it around. Its heavier....its faster. When he rides his TTR90 if he forgets his helmet I dont make a big deal about it. My daughter (5 years old) moved up from her Kazuma 50 (pink ATV in the pictures) to a Suzuki LT80. Shes getting the same treatment.....she MUST wear a helmet when riding it. For a 5 year old its a faster, bigger machine.

    When we ride anywhere but on flat level ground in our yard - helmet use is required - no matter what the machine. In the yard.....on the smaller machines that arent capable of faster speeds - Im not that concerned.

    My kids dont wear helmets when riding bicycles.

    They absolutely, positively wear helmets when riding on the street with me now. Before, I made an exception for my daughter. She was small enough that even the smallest helmet was very large and heavy for her. She had trouble holding it up. I was MORE concerned she would break her neck wearing the helmet then I was of injuring her in an accident. So she did not wear a helmet. Now that she older....helmet all the time.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    #54
  15. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    good to see your kids on your bike but not a good thing to see then in no gear on the back of ur gold wing.
    #55
  16. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    Personally I don't ride with my kid on the back nor will I ever...

    My reasons....motorcycling is a risk that I take on for myself, I am not prepared to take that risk for my daughter, as a minor she does not have the ability to make those types of life choices. I would not be able to live with myself if I had an accident with her on the bike and she was seriously injured or killed.

    So if you ride with a child ask yourself if your prepared to be responsible for both lives....
    #56
  17. Street R

    Street R Adventurer

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    I've road on the back of my father's many motorcycles for as long as I can remember. It's the reason why I have a passion for motorcycles today.

    Was it risky? Yes, of course. But I think we (as a society) has grown way too paranoid about the dangers in life. Enjoy life, don't fear it.
    #57
  18. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

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    My thoughts exactly. Well, that and my ex would raise my child support if she ever found out about it.:amazon
    #58
  19. McHaven

    McHaven Been here awhile

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    My dad had me on the back from a young age. I always wore a full face, gloves, jeans. Can't remember if I had a real jacket or boots. I must have been 7 when we started, I think.

    I had problems with getting too comfy. The bike was something we rode all the time, so it wasn't exciting after awhile. I wound up falling asleep on the back of his 1100GS a lot! Eventually he had to tether me to him to make sure I didn't fall off.
    #59
  20. trustme

    trustme Long timer

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    I happily take my 10 year old , started taking her at 9 but I think 6 is probably a bit young. At 6/7 their thought process is too erratic for my liking, at 9 or 10 they can recognise how they feel, they are more aware of what is going on.
    One of the bits I enjoy is bimbling along through the bends with daughter on the back singing at the top of her voice, no idea what she sings bit it always makes me smile :D:D:D
    #60