Louisiana has historically had one of the worst records for motorcycle accidents. In 2019 alone, 1,193 people were injured or killed in motorcycle crashes.
Motorcycles provide no protection in a crash for the rider or passenger, so the injuries sustained are more severe than those usually suffered in a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in 2017, only 3% of vehicles registered in the United States were motorcycles. However, motorcyclists were six times more likely to die in an accident than passenger car victims.
To prevent motorcycle injuries, the State of Louisiana has passed laws governing who can ride a motorcycle and who may be a passenger.
While riding a motorbike can be dangerous, it is also an affordable mode of transport and a fun way to take your kids on adventures. There may be several reasons you want to take your child for a ride on your motorcycle, even simply enjoying the open road. However, it is critical to understand whether you can legally let your child ride on the back of your motorcycle.
Children are permitted to ride on a motorcycle as a passenger in Louisiana when certain requirements are met. Wearing a helmet, for example, is one of those requirements.
LA Rev Stat RS 32:191 sets out the laws relating to riding motorcycles in the State of Louisiana.
This law states that children under five years old may not ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. If your child is under five years old and you take them for a ride on your motorcycle, you are breaking the law and subject to penalties. Furthermore, it is also exceptionally dangerous for the child.
If your child is five years old or older, then you can take them for a ride but are subject to certain conditions.
Five general rules govern what conditions children must fulfill when riding as a passenger.
First, RS 32:295 states that if a child needs a rear-facing safety seat or forward-facing child safety seat in a passenger vehicle, they may not be a passenger on a motorcycle.
If they are five years old or older, they can ride as a passenger provided they met the remaining four conditions:
- The child must be properly seated on the motorcycle.
- They must be wearing a properly fitting safety helmet under the provisions of RS.32:190.
- The motorcycle has to be designed to carry more than one person.
- They must not be seated in a position that interferes with the rider’s control of the motorcycle.
Additional weight on your motorcycle can affect the handling, so depending on your child’s age, height, and weight, you may need to make minor adjustments to the shocks and suspension before setting off.
You may also need to adjust the tire pressure to ensure you have ample grip on the road. Your owner’s manual will provide guidance on the specific pressure and tension levels you need to adapt your bike’s make and model for a second rider.
Ensure Your Child is Properly Dressed
Protect your child with a full face helmet and long sleeve shirt, jacket, and pants. Even if the weather is warm, your child’s arms and legs should be covered to minimize damage from road rash in the event of a fall or crash.
Go Over Guidelines with Your Passenger
Discuss bike rules with your child before you let them hop on the motorcycle. Come up with a signal between the two of you to communicate on the road, such as tapping the right shoulder to slow down.
Show your child how to climb on and off the bike, keeping their weight centered. Only allow your child to hop on and off the bike when you tell them it’s okay to do so.
Demonstrate how to lean when the bike is turning, and advise them to sit as close to you as possible to keep the bike balanced.
Deploy the Passenger Footrests
The footrests are typically concealed when a single rider is driving the motorcycle; however, for added stability and security, always deploy the footrests or pegs to give your passenger a safe place to put their feet, ensuring that they avoid burning themselves on the hot engine.
Know the Crashes Happen
Despite taking all necessary precautions when traveling with a passenger, motorcycle accidents happen, causing serious injury that requires extensive medical treatment. If you are in an accident with your child on the back of your motorcycle, and one or both of you are injured, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through the complexities of Louisiana traffic law and help you prepare to file a claim, such as evidence gathering, dealing with insurance company’s lawyers, and making sure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations. They have the expertise to determine liability and ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and how those injuries will affect your life going forward.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through the complexities of Louisiana traffic law. This may include preparing to file a claim, such as evidence gathering, dealing with the insurance company’s lawyers, and making sure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.
The New Orleans motorcycle injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier have the skill and legal knowledge to help you through the traumatic time after a motorcycle accident and pursue your claim, so you get the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact us today for more information and to schedule your free consultation.
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