What Age Can a Child Ride on the Back of Motorcycle in Gainesville, FL?
Bill Allen | November 2, 2022 | Motorcycle Accident
The year-round sunshine and warm weather in Gainesville make it a perfect place to ride a motorcycle for drivers and passengers. Adults have so much fun driving on their bikes, whether for a quicker commute or a leisurely weekend ride, that it is no wonder kids want to join the action.
It’s exhilarating for a child to ride on the back of a bike. But before saying yes, many parents question whether it is legal to allow under-18 passengers to ride with them on their motorcycles.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride as a Motorcycle Passenger in Gainesville, FL?
There is no age restriction for Florida motorcycle passengers. However, the Sunshine State does place safety restrictions on under-18 passengers, and if the driver is not following them, they can get in legal trouble.
All motorcycle riders under 21 are required to wear a helmet, meeting the requirements established by the Federal Motor Safety Standard 218. Children riding as motorcycle passengers must follow the safety standards for all motorcycle passengers, including how they sit on the bike. Children are not allowed to ride in front of the driver and must ride behind, on the designated passenger seat.
What Are the Requirements for a Child To Ride as a Motorcycle Passenger in Florida?
Passengers under 18 have to follow all Florida passenger laws, including:
- Not riding on bikes that are not designed to carry two people
- Passengers must ride on the back of the seat, or a separate passenger seat
- All passengers must be able to reach and use the mandatory passenger footrests
- All passengers under 21 must wear a helmet
Some motorcycles may have a sidecar for passengers instead of, or in addition to, a back seat. If a minor passenger is riding in the sidecar, they still have to wear a helmet and must refrain from distracting the driver.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Passengers Under 18
If you plan to let your child ride as a passenger on your bike, you can do a few things to ensure their safety. Taking a motorcycle safety course designed for kids can help them learn more about bike safety and how to be responsible passengers.
Protect your child from injury in a crash with the right safety gear. Select a helmet that fits snugly and complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for children. Eye protection is critical, too, as it prevents dust and debris from harming the child’s eyes.
Proper clothing, such as a leather jacket and armored pants designed for riding, helps protect your child’s skin. Most regular clothing – jeans are a clear example – does not provide adequate protection in the event of a crash and can actually make the situation worse. If denim becomes embedded in the skin in the aftermath of an accident, it can make a skin graft necessary where it otherwise might not be. Not only will your kid be safe from road rash by wearing the right gear, but they will look cool, too!
Teach your smaller passengers the right way to sit on the bike and hold onto the rider. You may even consider child straps, which keep the child attached to the rider and reduce the chances that they will involuntarily lean in the opposite direction.
Always Use Caution When Riding With a Motorcycle Passenger
The best strategy for avoiding a motorcycle collision is to ride defensively and ensure that your passenger has received proper safety training for riding. Make sure that all children and passengers under 21 wear a helmet. If the unthinkable happens, and you are struck by another driver while riding your bike, a motorcycle accident attorney can help you. Motorcycles aren’t subject to Florida’s “no fault” insurance rules, so you’ll likely be able to file a claim against the party responsible for the crash.
Contact Our Gainesville Motorcycle Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville motorcycle accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: