Children as Pillion? WORTH THE RISKS?

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

  1. Glowplug

    Glowplug Been here awhile

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    I'm seriously thinking of taking my 4 year old into the Pine Barrens on my xchallenge. It's not a matter of if but when. We would trailer there, start with really short rides with lots of breaks.

    2 things:
    1. My kid would be way safer riding between me and the tank bag, in front. We've tried this in the neighborhood, and he gets wedged in there and has an easy reach of the bars. The bag gives him a measure of support, and I'm going to fabricate some footpegs that will attach to the upper motor mounts and stick out like frame sliders. The question is, how will the law view this (passenger in front)? New Jersey.
    2. Anyone have a great source for kids riding apparel? Or opinions on street helmet vs dirt helmet for a kid? I would think goggles could be a challenge.
    #61
  2. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

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    I don't take my wife - too dangerous to have both of us on a single bike. I do take my daughter who is 11. She has all the gear - easier to get kids gear here in europe.

    Anyway - while it is of course dangerous, at 11 and with an intercom, it is great. What she (and i) get out of it is definitely worth the risk (easy to say right now). But i has been a big benefit to our relationship.

    Conversely, she fell off her ripstick the other day and hit her head on the ground - got a concussion. Scary.
    #62
  3. Josh69

    Josh69 Uhhh

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    It's all about risk-reward.

    Personally, my daughter is too young but I'm coming around to the idea that an occasional trip may be acceptable but regular trips are too dangerous for cumulative risk. Look around on this and any other motorcycle forum. They ALL have memorial threads for experienced riders who have been killed on their bikes. You can minimise your risk and ride safe but biking is still a high-risk pasttime. I'm also concerned about both me and my wife being on the same bike at the same time; I do not go out of my way to suggest lots of 2-up trips although there are limited numbers of shorter trips. Limiting the time of loved ones on the bike is my way of limiting the risk.

    I'd be quite happy if my daughter decided she never wanted to own a motorbike.
    #63
  4. Hockley Boy

    Hockley Boy Been here awhile

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    I have never taken any of the kids on the back of a bike for similar reasons also I think a lot depends on where you live, the traffic in the SE of England makes the whole thing a lot more hazardous than riding on lightly used roads in open countryside.
    #64
  5. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    i all ways take my girlfreind on the back of my bike as i now there is a risk in scotland but as i only have a bike and cant afford to run a car as she will all ways be on the back, in all the gear. the bike is a fun and cheap way to get about as cars are boring and cost a help of a lot more to run
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  6. manshoon

    manshoon Been here awhile

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    Depending on the child, I would set them in the front of me, holding a xbar pad. If you're going to go for the 300 mile cruise then that would be a little different.
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  7. EastSideSM

    EastSideSM Isn't that dangerous?

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    Exactly. I think the level of "what if's" and all the paranoia of everything that could possibly go wrong prevent people from living.
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  8. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

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    The 'what if's' have served me really well in nearly 50 years of riding, one crash, not my fault, a woman made a u-turn in front of me, '71 i think it was. I started to take my daughter as a pillion when she was 13, any younger, i wouldn't anyway, but you know how it is, telling someone what they should or shouldn't.
    #68
  9. Silver King

    Silver King Maita'i roa ae!

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    I used to take my oldest (9yo now) on the bike until we almost became the hood ornament of a redneck racing diesel (lifted Dodge 4X4) on private property. Shortly after, my boss' 19yo son (also a friend of mine) died in a motorcycle wreck.

    I don't think I'll let her on unless the circumstances are ideal....but even then??? She loves riding on motorcycles though. Even after a good, 10 yard, gravelly low side.
    #69
  10. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

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    The pictures are great, I love those big smiles on the children's faces!!

    My son is 18mo at the moment and he has the bug, I think his first cognitive sound was "vrrrr, vrrrr"... I keep changing my mind over this, thinking how great it feels and letting him experience that greatness as well, but then a sleepy cager makes me realise how easily things turn real bad on 2 wheels...

    A child's dirtbike is in the plans but urban riding with him on the back? hmmm... I will try to limit that as much as I can...

    The president and the vice-president (that's me and my wife) ride regularly on the same bike (she has raised concerns but then rides along happily when we get to it) but it's completely different with the child, as others have stated on this thread...
    #70
  11. Storm Shadow

    Storm Shadow Thread Ninja

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    i have a now 4 year old whos been a pillion since birth, i kid you not, around the back yard, she started sitting in a tank bag and rack bag stationary when watching me work on the bikes. then when she was about a year old, she wanted to ride, and sat on on this hump between the frame of a scooter i had, legs wrapped around her, all strapped in, then she progressed to sittign between the tank and the bike, nwo shes on the back, shes confident, and holds on well. I now have a Pillion belt i brought from starrider.com this belt with handles, so she can hold on properly. she wears ther ight gear all the time, my rules, helmet gloves, boots.

    She turns 4 soon, and im considering buying her her first bike, and all the propper armour.

    be safe, be smart, i ride, at a walking pace around a big back yard. making sure she is safe and confident, she has always wanted to do this, i was relutant at first, but my daughter gets what she wants, shes grown up with me loving bikes.

    i grew up with my dad on bikes too, use to get taken to preschool on the tank and then ocky'd to the back.

    my dad grew up with the family side cart, with my pop a bike racer...

    bikes in the blood, hell yes
    #71
  12. stevets32

    stevets32 Adventurer

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    A most excellent topic...For me, not getting my daughter on the bike from a young age was not in the cards. I was raised by a fearful mother, even to the point of sitting in the car during lightning storms, yeah I know. The kid's first ride was in front and around the neighborhood and now she has full armor, except boots (still working on that one), and a rider's harness. We are still working on pillion etiquette, but we will be out on the mean streets eventually. My wife and I decided that the we want her to live a full life and that doesn't mean never doing anything dangerous. EVERYTHING is dangerous, when you choose to really think about it. I was able to overcome my anxiety ridden childhood and picked up riding, rock & ice climbing and sea kayaking. Each activity has its own risks, but the rewards are immense. Both Grandma's have expressed their "displeasure" at the thought of their granddaughter on the bike but have chosen to keep mostly silent.

    I think metaljockey covered the reasoning very well when talking about taking his daughter on his adventures. It's unfortunate that I had to order gear from England (THANKS!, babybiker.com) and the riding belt from Canada (THANKS! Riderragz!), but we feel that we have taken the precautions necessary to minimize what exposure we can. I commute every day on the bike. My wife is taking her MSF and we will be taking family rides. If other parents don't feel it is appropriate, then they can wrap their children in cotton. It is too easy to look back on an accident and judge from the future. We all pack our kids into cars and haul them around...and yet children still die.

    On our first trip around the 'hood, I kept hearing her yelling something (yes, we are working on communication) so I pulled over and discovered that she was yelling FASTER, FASTER DADDY! Oh great, this is a whole 'nother set of problems.

    Ride Safe!

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    #72
  13. Storm Shadow

    Storm Shadow Thread Ninja

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    in australia they changed it to a minimim age of 7 years old to be a pillion. so no road trips for my daughter for a few years...:eek1
    #73
  14. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Neighbor's friend gave me a ride on the back of a Bonneville way back when, (of course no gear whatsoever) it was when the fascination met reality and that was it, motorcycles fully entered my life. Mind, this neighbor's friend was unknown to my parents, so I don't know if they would have approved. Probably not, and as it turns out I had to keep my first few motorcycles hidden from them. The irony isn't lost on me, my mother was into horse jumping. But I suppose if your kids are really interested and you're not keen on giving them a ride keep an eye out for where they might go to get a ride.
    #74
  15. Robert_C

    Robert_C Long timer

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    This topic has come up several times. However, my experience has not changed.

    Many years ago, my father used to pick me up at my nursery school on his motorcycle. Before me he would pick up my sister. We both lived, and this was in the days before people out on helmets for anything more exciting than a rocking chair.

    My sister used to fall asleep so my father had to rig up some milk crate sides and rear for her when she ride. She never did fall off. Further, I see children riding all the time. The one I still find funny is when I see a child riding behind their mother, facing rearward, and using the top-box as a desk to do their homework while putting down the road.
    #75