This is simply and exactly explained in the Highway Code, Article 12, which deals with the regulations covering motorbike and motorcycles.
1. Bikes that are designed to carry only one person can only be ridden by one person and only when the rider is an adult can a child up to seven years of age be carried, and only when using a specially adapted and approved seat.
2. Motorcycles and motorbikes, along with the driver and the occupant of a legal sidecar may carry a pillion passenger over the age of 12 that is wearing a crash helmet and complies with the following conditions:
2.1. That they are riding astride the seat with their feet firmly supported on the rear footrests.
2.2. That they use the passenger seat behind the driver.
2.3. That they can under no circumstances be seated between the driver and the handlebars.
3. The exception is that children over seven years of age can ride as a passenger so long as their parents are driving the bike or another authorized, responsible adult and they must always be wearing a crash helmet. They must also fulfil the requirements as stipulated in the previous paragraph of this article (article 11.4 of the legislation)
In short, the child must always ride with their feet supported on the footrests and be over 7 years of age when riding with parents, teachers or a responsible adult, and be over 12 years of age when riding with any other driver.
Should your child, for physical reasons, not be able to reach the footrests although old enough, there devices that you can install on the seat, usually on a scooter, on which they can be safely carried. The following illustration shows an example of this type of seat.
Lastly, something again important that shouldn’t be forgotten: always wear protective clothing, not only a crash helmet but a protective jacket, gloves, long trousers and a closed shoe.
A fall at only 20kms per hour could mean scars for life, especially when riding in sandals or without gloves. It could even mean the loss of a finger caused by their hand scraping along the tarmac.
We never know when we are going to have an accident. So it is wise to take precautions to prevent having one, especially when our children could be the ones to suffer as the result of inappropriate behavior.