Hawk Law Group | April 28, 2022 | Georgia Law
Like most states, Georgia does not set a minimum age for children to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Only five states impose age restrictions on motorcycle passengers — Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington.
To determine whether your child can legally and safely ride on the back of your motorcycle, you need to look at other laws that regulate motorcycles and motorcycle riders.
Below, learn about laws that determine what age a child can ride on the back of a motorcycle in Waynesboro, GA.
Motorcycle Safety Equipment for All Passengers
Georgia requires motorcycles to have certain safety equipment to carry passengers, whether adults or children. A motorcycle must have either a seat designed for two or a separate passenger seat. If the motorcycle only seats one person, you cannot legally carry a passenger, even if the child is small enough to fit on the seat with you.
Motorcycles must also have passenger footrests to carry passengers legally. The law does not specify the nature of the footrests. Aftermarket footpegs installed below the passenger seat should satisfy this law.
Unlike many states, Georgia still has a universal helmet law for both operators and passengers. To legally ride on your motorcycle, a child must wear a helmet and protective eyewear. If your motorcycle has a windshield, you and your passenger do not need to wear goggles or glasses.
Georgia’s car seat law only applies to “a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck.” Thus, you do not need to comply with the child seat laws when carrying your child on the back of your motorcycle.
Legal Restrictions on Child Passengers
Assuming your motorcycle has the safety equipment required to carry passengers, Georgia places very few restrictions on who you can transport. A few rules that might apply to child passengers include:
Large Enough to Straddle the Seat
Georgia law states that the passenger must sit on a passenger seat. This means your child must be large enough to straddle the motorcycle seat.
Strong Enough to Sit Behind You
Your child must have the size and strength to ride without you holding onto them. They must also have the strength to ride behind you on the seat.
Georgia law prohibits you from carrying anything that requires you to take a hand off the handlebars. It also restricts your passengers from doing anything that might interfere with your view or your ability to control the motorcycle. These laws prevent your child from legally sitting in front of you on the motorcycle.
In addition to traffic laws, you must also consider Georgia’s reckless driving law. You commit reckless driving if you ride your motorcycle with reckless disregard for your passenger’s safety.
To avoid reckless driving charges, you should consider two additional factors:
Would a Reasonable Person Believe Your Child Could Safely Ride with You?
When deciding if someone acted recklessly, a judge or jury can consider whether your actions were a gross deviation from the actions a reasonable person would take in the same situation. You might have committed reckless driving if you put a small child with small weak arms on your motorcycle.
Did You Ride Safely?
When you put a child on the back of your motorcycle, you must operate safely, considering the child’s size and strength.
Speeding, taking hard turns, driving rough roads, or violating traffic laws might expose you to reckless driving charges. Worse yet, you might injure the child in a motorcycle accident.
Riding Your Motorcycle with Your Child
The lack of guidance from Georgia’s traffic laws means you must exercise discretion in deciding whether you can safely and legally carry your child on your motorcycle. But if you give due consideration to the child’s height, weight, and strength, you can decide whether your child is old enough to ride with you.
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