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Is It Legal to Ride a Child on the Back of a Motorcycle in OH?

Posted in Personal Injury on August 11, 2017

Motorcycling in Ohio entails dozens of rules and operator responsibilities. From mandatory helmets under the age of 18 to specific laws for maximum sound levels, motorcyclists must understand and obey a number of restrictions in the Buckeye State. There are several rules regarding motorcycle passengers and how they must ride on the machine, especially when it comes to carrying children. Learn whether your child can tag along on your motorcycle to keep your family safe and free from legal trouble.

Are Child Passengers Allowed?

There is no age restriction when it comes to motorcycle passengers. Only a few states have minimum ages, such as Arkansas, which prohibits children under the age of eight from being passengers. In Ohio, it is legal to tote a child of any age on a motorcycle as long as the operator obeys the general rules for carrying children. The only time a motorcycle operator should carry a child is if the vehicle has a seat designed for carrying children that is firmly attached to the motorcycle.

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4511.53 states that no motorcyclist may carry another person on anything other than a firmly attached and regular seat/saddle. No motorcyclist may carry more passengers at a time than what the vehicle’s design accommodates. All passengers must have their own seats, footrests, and eye protection. If a child passenger is under the age of 18, he or she must wear a federally approved helmet at all times while on the motorcycle.

Motorcycling with Your Child: Safety Tips

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the U.S. In 2015, 663 children died as motor vehicle occupants involved in collisions. Keeping children safe as passengers in any type of vehicle is the responsibility of the parents or legal guardians. The best way to maximize the safety of your child as a passenger is by investing in the appropriate style car seat. Children who are properly buckled up face reduced odds of serious injury and death in an accident.

Traveling with a passenger on a motorcycle requires a firmly installed seat. A parent must make this seat appropriate for small child passengers if applicable. You will need a child seat and extra foot pegs for your passenger, as well as a helmet. Before letting your child ride with you, make sure you have a full motorcycle license. The law does not allow those with instruction permits to carry passengers. Your child must be tall enough to reach the footsteps for a safe ride. He/she should keep the feet on the footrests at all times.

Your child should be old enough to firmly hold onto you or the passenger handholds during the ride. He/she should also be able to keep legal away from the bike’s mufflers to prevent burns. If your child poses a risk of sudden movements as a passenger that could affect your operation, consider waiting until he/she is older. Never allow a child who cannot obey your safety instructions to ride with you on your motorcycle. While carrying a child passenger, be cautious when speeding up, slowing down, and making turns. Consider creating a safety word or hand gesture that your child can use if he/she is getting too scared or falling off the bike. Always put safety first when riding with child passengers.