Can Children be passengers on a motorcycle?

The sun is shining, and it’s going to be a gorgeous day for a ride on the bike, but you’ve got little ones at home. Before you decide to have them hop on back for a ride down the strip holding on to you, be sure to know the laws in Las Vegas regarding children as passengers on motorcycles.

Can Children Be Passengers on a Motorcycle?

Child and Parent on a Motorcycle
Image via Flickr by CMRF_Crumlin via CC BY 2.0


The short answer is yes, but there are many factors to consider before putting your child on the back of your bike. Nevada law requires that children are seated behind the driver. Placing them in front of the driver interferes with the driver’s control of the bike and creates an improper balance. The child, or any passenger on the back of a motorcycle, must be able to reach the foot pegs and hold on to your belt, hips, waist, or handholds on the bike.

It’s also essential to go over some motorcycle safety basics with your passenger prior to taking off so they know what to expect. Instruction should include:

  • The driver is the first person to mount the bike, with the passenger getting on only after the engine has been started and the bike is in neutral. The driver is to keep both feet on the ground with the brakes engaged while the passenger mounts.
  • When the driver sits as far forward as possible without creating a challenge in controlling the motorcycle, it allows the passenger more space. You want to ensure that the passenger has enough room while also keeping the driver in complete control.
  • Passengers should hold tight to the driver’s belt, hips, waist, or the handhold of the bike for safety and balance.
  • Feet should be kept firmly on the cycle’s footrests at all times, even when the bike is fully stopped. The footrests are designed to help reduce the possibility of the passenger falling off and taking the driver off with them.
  • Legs need to be kept away from chains, mufflers, and any other moving parts.
  • Passengers should help the driver lean into curves to balance the cycle. It helps if the passenger looks over the driver’s shoulder toward any curves in the road.
  • Conversation should be kept to a minimum to prevent any sudden movements such as turning around to talk or leaning. Any sudden movement can affect the stability of the motorcycle.
  • Push up off the seat when going across an obstacle.
  • Passengers should tighten their grip or hold any time the driver is approaching surface hazards, starting or stopping, turning sharply, or making any sudden movements.

These are only a few of the factors that go into placing a child, or any passenger, on the back of your motorcycle. There are also other safety factors to consider, including helmets and gear.

Choose the Right Helmet for Your Child

A helmet will help prevent traumatic brain injury or death in the event that your child falls off or you get into an accident, so it’s essential to get one that fits. It’s not enough to put an adult helmet on your child as you risk it falling off on impact because it’s too big. Buy a helmet that fits your child snugly.

Because you need an exact fit, you may need to replace the helmet as your child grows, but you need to understand that the helmet is the first defense against permanent damage or worse. If the helmet comes with a face shield, then you’re good to go. If not, you will also want to look at purchasing a set of goggles for your child to wear to keep bugs, dirt, and the wind out of their eyes.

Choose the Right Riding Gear

Much like a helmet, the proper riding clothes can help protect your child from injuries if they fall off or your motorcycle is involved in an accident. Leather is highly recommended because it provides the most protection from road rash, but thick denim can also be used. Be sure to dress your child in pants and a jacket in either leather or denim, as well as riding gloves explicitly designed for children. Gloves are another item where fit makes all the difference.

Do You Need a Riding Belt?

Children, especially smaller ones, may have a hard time remembering to hold on to the driver or struggle to get a good grip around the driver’s waist. A retention or riding belt can help alleviate issues associated with children falling off while riding on the back of a motorcycle. The motorcycle doesn’t need to be involved in a crash to have a passenger fall off, resulting in personal injuries. If the child falls asleep on the ride, they could slide off. Quick maneuvers and sudden turns can also take child passengers by surprise, resulting in them falling off.

For these reasons, several companies make belts or handholds for the passenger to help ensure their safety. One option is a harness that goes over the shoulders, around the waist, and between their legs, securing them to the bike. The harness has buckles on the back, so your child can’t unbuckle themselves. This harness is then attached to a large belt that goes around the driver to attach the child to the driver. A retention belt or harness will provide you more peace of mind when it comes to your child accidentally falling off during the ride.

Ride Responsibly

The biggest safety factor when it comes to riding with a child passenger is for the driver to ride responsibly. Follow the rules of the road, including carrying the proper insurance and being licensed to drive a motorcycle. Don’t speed or drive the motorcycle when impaired due to alcohol, drugs, or fatigue. Keep distractions, including conversation, to a minimum to keep your focus on the road ahead of you.

Motorcycling with child passengers can be done safely. It’s imperative that you take all precautionary measures possible to ensure their safety on the road. If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident with a child passenger, contact the team at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.