Jason Stephens | March 11, 2022 | Motorcycle Laws
Riding on a motorcycle is thrilling for just about anyone. For kids, seeing a cool bike, going fast, and enjoying the warm Texas sunshine may seem like the perfect way to get around Fort Worth.
Before you offer a ride to your child, niece, nephew, or another minor under 18, you need to know a little bit more about the rules and regulations surrounding child motorcycle statues in Texas. If you break these laws, you could end up with fines or jail time.
What Age Can a Child Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle in Fort Worth?
In Texas, any child five years of age and older can legally ride on the back of a motorcycle. However, additional laws apply to child motorcycle passengers in the state. Texas’s motorcycle helmet law states that all passengers under the age of 21 must wear a helmet that meets all federal requirements.
A Texas Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved motorcycle helmet must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. These helmets must meet certain thresholds for energy attenuation and penetration resistance. Manufacturers often stamp the helmet with “DOT” to signify that it meets DOT standards.
Adult motorcycle helmets aren’t safe for children. Helmets should fit snugly and cover the head with a chin strap for safety. A visor or other eye protection is also necessary. If a helmet fits improperly, it can’t provide adequate protection in the event of a crash.
Motorcycles carrying a passenger are also required to have certain safety features in Texas, as per Malorie’s Law. These required features include handholds and a footrest for the passenger.
In addition, a bike intended to carry a passenger must have a permanent passenger seat firmly attached to the vehicle, either behind the driver’s seat or on the side of the bike (a sidecar).
Children are not allowed to ride in front of the driver on a bike.
Safety Considerations for Children on the Back of a Motorcycle
Even if you have a helmet for a child and they’re over five years old, there are a few other things that drivers should consider before allowing a child passenger on their bike. First, can the child reach the bike’s footrests or adequately grip the handhold? If not, the child may not be able to steady themselves around sharper turns.
Second, does the child understand how to keep themselves braced during sharp turns and the importance of maintaining a tight grip on the handholds?
Some riders may choose to have a belt for the child to keep them strapped to the driver. These belts add stability for both people on the bike and help prevent the child from overcorrecting. It can also protect a child if they become tired or fall asleep.
Consider practicing on quieter streets and at slower speeds to get the child used to the motorcycle and gradually build up to higher speeds and sharper turns. You may want to have the child go through a motorcycle safety training session, as well, so they understand how to be a safer passenger on the bike.
Keeping Kids Safe on Motorcycles in Texas
Motorcycle accident injuries are typically worse than those sustained by a car or truck passenger in a crash, simply because a motorcycle driver doesn’t have a protective shell of metal to shield them from the road or other cars.
Catastrophic injuries are common, and fatalities are more likely. Ensuring that smaller passengers are wearing the right protective gear, including a helmet designed for kids, can help keep them safe.
Taking steps to protect child passengers can help prevent severe injury in the event of an accident.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107