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Children on motorcycles: ten tips for a safe journey

Niños en moto: diez pasos para un viaje seguro

14/06/2021

The arrival of good weather means that modes of transport such as motorcycles are used much more frequently. Their agility in traffic, especially in big cities, is a big plus point that should never be overlooked. If you are going to use a motorcycle to get around and you intend to take a child on the back, be sure to follows these tips to ensure a safe journey. 

1. Not every child is allowed to travel on motorcycles. It is important to comply at all times with the prevailing legislation in each country, especially with regard to the child’s age and how they should travel. For example, in Spain only children over seven years old may travel on a motorcycle, provided they are with their parents, guardian or an authorized person, while children over the age of 12 can travel with any adult. Obviously the motorcycle must be authorized to carry two people. 

Even though it is permitted, for safety reasons we do not recommend that children under the age of 12 travel on motorcycles on interurban roads, where higher speeds are reached. Bear in mind that in the event of an accident the possibility of sustaining an injury is much higher and there is no chassis to provide protection. 

2. It is mandatory for the child to always travel behind the adult. They should hold on to the adult firmly, mount the motorcycle astride and behave in such a way that there is no risk to their safety. In addition, their feet should be resting on the side footrests. If the child cannot reach the footrests, even if they are old enough, there are other approved seats with a backrest that can be installed, especially on scooters, so that they can travel more safely.

3. Always wear the appropriate protection: a helmet must be worn at all times, and if the vehicle has seat belts, their use is also mandatory. The helmet must be suitable for the child’s size. It is also essential that it is approved in accordance with regulation R-22.05. A full-face helmet is highly recommended. 

In this respect, we recommend you wear all possible safety equipment at all times; even if it is not always mandatory it is always advisable. This includes the use of gloves, boots or reinforced clothing that offers greater protection in the event of a fall. You should wear long trousers and a motorcycle jacket, preferably with protective reinforcements, especially if you intend to drive on main roads. 

4. If you are carrying any kind of baggage, such as a backpack, this must go on the cargo rack or luggage mount. It should not be worn while you are on the motorcycle as it could pose a risk.

5. Always drive safely and responsibly. You should take even more precautions in view of the fact that you are carrying a child as a pillion passenger, who might react in an unexpected way. 

6. Set a good example. We should not forget that children copy and learn from everything we do. You should always show them the best possible way to behave. Do not engage in infractions such as getting distracted, exceeding the permitted speed limit, failing to observe the safety distance, zigzagging between cars, etc.

7. Take great care when getting on and off the motorcycle: be sure to park in a safe place. You should always get on and off the motorcycle on the sidewalk side. Pat attention to the exhaust pipe. Help the child in this process to prevent them from falling. 

8. Never drive a motorcycle or, indeed, any other type of vehicle unless you are in peak mental and physical condition. If you are suffering from any kind of illness that might affect your driving ability, or if you are taking any medication that affects your sleep or senses, the best thing to do to avoid any risks is to avoid driving, especially if you have a motorcycle that requires a high level of skill. 

9. We mentioned earlier the importance of driving responsibly and abiding by the law, but we want to particularly emphasize distractions. Do not wear earphones that interfere with your ability to hear what is going on around you (as you won’t be able to hear what the child is saying either) and never use your cellphone while riding a motorcycle. This is high-risk behavior and is subject to sanctions.

10. It goes without saying that you should never, ever, drive a motorcycle, especially with a child, unless it is in a perfect condition. Check it regularly and make sure it is serviced when it should be. Everyone’s safety, not just the passengers, is at stake. 

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