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How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle?
Motorcycles, like all motorized vehicles, are prone to accidents. Because of the size and lack of protection that motorcycles have when compared to cars, these accidents can be very severe and can often lead to fatalities. While the minimum age to ride on the back of a motorcycle in Washington is five years old, many people debate the safety of allowing children on these vehicles.
Washington Motorcycle Laws
According to Washington state law, a person must be at least 5 years old to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Many people believe that this age is too young, while others believe that a child riding on the back of a motorcycle is no more dangerous than driving in a car.
Transporting a child under the age of 5 on a motorcycle can lead to significant penalties, including fines and license suspensions. In addition, you have to adhere to other motorcycle laws while transporting a child on the vehicle.
- While driving your motorcycle, you need to follow the rules of the road.
- You and the child must wear a United States Department of Transportation-certified helmet while riding.
- Your child must have a seat and foot pegs, or have a bucket seat and seatbelt approved by Washington state law.
- You cannot attach your motorcycle to any other vehicle while riding.
- You and your child cannot ride the motorcycle with both feet on the same side of the bike.
Motorcycle Child Safety Tips
While motorcycles are relatively safe vehicles when you know how to ride one and practice defensive driving techniques, they still do pose a risk to child passengers. Motorcycles do not offer the security of a car, and children can be unpredictable. Follow these tips to stay safe while transporting your child on a motorcycle.
- Ensure that your child has safety gear that fits him or her and meets state and federal safety requirements. It can be difficult to find the right gear that fits, but this equipment is important to protecting your child in the event of an accident. You should find a properly-fitted motorcycle helmet, motorcycle jackets, gloves, protective pants, and motorcross boots.
- Next, check your bike and ensure it is safe for your child to ride. See if your child’s feet can reach the passenger pegs – if he or she can’t, refrain from placing him or her on the back of your bike. Consider investing in a passenger backrest or handle strap for added security.
- Ease your child into riding. On his or her first motorcycle trip, drive slow and steady around your neighborhood. Once he or she feels comfortable, work up to longer rides.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
As careful as you may be while riding your motorcycle, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, negative stereotype about motorcycles can make it difficult to claim compensation for you and your child’s injuries – unless you take the proper steps to collect evidence.
- After the accident, call 911 immediately. Bring law enforcement to the scene to file a report and provide an initial opinion on who was at-fault.
- Seek medical attention. Your medical reports will be vital evidence in your future claim, and refraining from going to the hospital right away can lead the insurance company to justify a lower settlement.
- Take pictures of the scene and your injuries. Collect the contact information of the drivers involved in the accident and any witnesses in the area.
- Contact a motorcycle accident attorney to help you begin your claim. Do not speak to any insurance adjusters until you speak with an attorney.
Motorcycle accidents can be very severe and often fatal – make sure that all of your passengers are wearing proper safety equipment and are at least five years old. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to learn more about claiming compensation for your injuries.