Stephen Hasner | Motorcycle Accidents | July 13, 2021
There are no age restrictions on when a child can ride on the back of a motorcycle in Georgia. However, there are other requirements that a motorcyclist should know before taking a child for a ride. There are also safety concerns riders need to consider.
What Are the Requirements for a Child Riding on the Back of a Motorcycle in Georgia?
As stated above, there is no age requirement for a child riding on the back of a motorcycle. However, the child must wear a motorcycle helmet pursuant to Georgia motorcycle helmet laws. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, helmets are 37% more effective in preventing fatalities for motorcyclists.
Another requirement is footrests. Georgia Code §40-6-314 requires that passengers on a motorcycle have footrests. Therefore, the child’s feet should reach the footrests. However, that requirement could be difficult to follow depending on the child’s height and the position of the footrests.
Furthermore, the motorcycle must have a passenger seat if carrying a passenger. Passengers must sit behind the driver. Therefore, you cannot place a child in front of you when transporting a child.
It is also recommended that the motorcycle has solid handholds or straps for a passenger to hold onto during the ride. However, the passenger can hold onto the driver’s hips, waist, or belt.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Passengers
It can be helpful to take your child on short rides on straight roads before taking them on a long motorcycle ride. This way, the child can become accustomed to riding the motorcycle. Then, you can slowly add curves and increase speed once the child is comfortable with being a motorcycle passenger.
Other motorcycle passenger safety tips to keep in mind include:
- Keep legs away from all moving parts and mufflers
- Make sure to hold onto the hand grips or the motorcyclist at all times
- Keep both feet on the footrests even when the motorcycle stops
- Do not lean around the motorcyclist to get better views
- Avoid unnecessary movements and pay attention to the driving conditions to anticipate when the rider may need to stop suddenly or maneuver around a sharp corner or curve
- Wearing suitable clothing can help prevent injuries in case of an accident. Leather jackets, riding boots, gloves, and denim pants are available in kid’s sizes.
- When transporting a child on a motorcycle, consider using a passenger belt to help hold the child in place
Taking safety measures is the best way to reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident. You can also reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident by avoiding dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving.
Motorcycle Crashes Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries
A motorcycle does not offer much protection for the rider or the passenger in a motorcycle crash. Therefore, there is a substantial risk for traumatic injuries.
Common motorcycle injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Lacerations and abrasions (road rash)
- Broken and fractured bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ failure or damage
- Amputations or loss of limbs
A child can sustain injuries resulting in permanent cognitive, developmental, physical, and emotional impairments or disabilities. It is difficult to know how a severe injury could impact a child’s development. However, medical experts can help parents understand the potential for lifelong disabilities.
Seeking Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Claim
When a child is injured in a motorcycle crash, the child has a personal injury claim for damages. However, because the child does not have the standing to file a lawsuit as a minor, the parents or guardians must file a claim on behalf of the child.
Children may receive compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses and bills, including therapy, surgery, medical equipment, and medications
- The cost of personal care and in-home health care
- The loss of future wages and earning potential
- Pain and suffering damages, including mental trauma, physical discomfort, and emotional distress
- Permanent impairments, disfigurement, scarring, and disabilities
- The loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
Child injury cases can be complicated. There are rules regarding settlement agreements.
The court may need to approve the settlement amount to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interest. Funds may need to be held in special accounts, and the court may restrict the use of the funds.
Even though the child is a minor, there are deadlines for filing claims and lawsuits. Parents and guardians can seek help from a motorcycle accident lawyer.