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Children as pillions

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by saeraph, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Hi this is on behalf of one of my friends who wants to get a bike, but just spawned. She wants to be able to take her kid to school (she's got a while to go - just had a baby boy, v.proud). Just wanted to know what the law says about small children on bikes, and special restraining gear, or bike mods to accommodate little folk. Is there a minimum age for pillion passengers? She is tossing up the idea of a side car with a baby seat at the moment :shock:

    Thanks -S.
  2. Not worth it. Too bloody dangerous. Talk her out of it. Bad enough injuring or killing yourself, let alone a kid. Could fall into the category of child abuse.
  3. The only requirement I'm aware of is they must be able to reach their feet on the footpegs.
  4. The main restriction for carrying children on a bike (pillion) are:
    They MUST be able to reach the foot pegs easily
    They MUST be wearing a properly fitted and approved helmet
    They MUST be able to hang on by themselves

    As for a side car, AFAIK they must have a helmet (proper fitting & approved), and be able to sit up on their own, as well as be restrained by a seatbelt.

    By the time the child is old enough to be going to school, he will probably be old enough to go on the back (pillion) - I know my daughter is, and she will be in Grade 1 this year....
    Of course, she can't go on the back with me yet, because I've got another 8 months of restrictions to go... :roll:
  5. I can remember pillioning around as young as about 6.

    Earlier too I think, but then I sat in front of the rider...

    The child should obviously have all the gear, and long rides should be avoided... a quick blat down to the school shouldn't be a problem though.

    I'm sure someone else will help you out with legality...
  6. Christmas Eve, took my (11yo) nephew for his first pillion on a road bike.

    He rides a dirt bike and has his own AS1698 helmet.

    Although we never exceeded 60kph he absolutely loved it, described it as the best thing ever!
    After the ride he could distinctly remember of every corner and every bump in the road.

    So i don't become even the slightest bit complacent,
    i'll reserve it for only special occasions.
  7. Personally my little girl (currently 6) wont be getting on the back til she is 10, and able to understand the physics/dynamics of being on a bike.
  8. My kids (aged 4 and 6) travel in my sidecar happily. Kez's advice is sound (I'm not sure the seatbelt is compulsory, but my kids know that we don't start until everyone is helmeted and buckled in). As well as day-to-day grocery, library, swimming pool runs, we've done some day-trips, the odd rally, school/childcare pickup and drop-offs. On weekends we can load up with drinks, beach towels, picnic rug and picnic basket and all the other stuff that accompanies an outing with anklebiters.

    I'd advise against putting a child in a baby-seat into the sidecar. If s/he can't sit upright without a child seat, s/he probably won't have the neck strength or head control to handle the weight of the helmet - especially in a deceleration event. Of course, that child shouldn't be riding pillion either. I also have concerns about the way child seats raise the kid above the relatively low sills on a sidecar. The more of your child's body that is inside the boat, the better.

    Personally, I'd much rather have the kids in the chair than pillion. I can see them (my 4yo likes to hold my hand while we ride) and they can safely sleep while we travel. Our profile on the road is much larger than a solo bike, so cage drivers tend to treat us like another car and give us some space.

    The sidecar has other benefits. I can't think of another bike (except the Across) that will carry a week's groceries and always get a park outside Safeway.

    Finally, a sidecar can't be added and removed at will. To get an outfit to handle sweetly, you need to make some changes to the bike that will compromise its handling when ridden in solo trim. Nothing that can't be reversed, but it will a couple of hour's work.

    I love the sidecar. And I can't think of a better way to share the fun of motorcycling with the kids.
  9. From a recent experience

    My son age 5 (Now 6) wanted to go for a ride and i got a helmet for him and we went for a slow trip around the estate (no major roads)

    First time round thought I had a Koala well and truly attached to me, the little guy was hanging on soooo tight.....

    Second time around the estate and he is more relaxed but still hangin on like a koala but can move his head around.

    Third trip still hanging on and all is good.

    I need petrol and there is a servo on the Sth Gippy hway 200 metres up the road from the estate.
    Litlle mongrel is happy and I can hardly feel him there in the way back... Still safe but I swear that I wont take him on the bike again (except around the estate slowly) till he is older as my heart cant take it....
  10. My 9 year old, Nathan, started riding pillion with my husband when he was 8 1/2. He started with a trip down the road to a freinds house (about 30 seconds away) and then progressed to trips around the block and to school. He just turned 9 in December and the longest trip he has done now was from Canberra to Cowra - about 2 1/2 hours, with 3 stops. He thinks he's king of the world sitting on the back of Dads big loud Ducati ST2!

    I think a lot of it, aside from being able to safely hang on and reach the pegs, has to do with the maturity of the child. I have a friend with kids around that age and I'd never DREAM of putting them on the bike! Nathan fully understands the importance of always wearing the right gear and we've talked with him, and refresh his memory before each ride, about what to do if he needs to stop etc.

    Of course I still worry, I'm a mum, but I fully trust my husbands riding and I know he would never do anything silly or ride too hard with Nathan on the bike.

    Whatever the decision, I think the rider should be a really competent rider and have a fair bit of experience pillioning adults or older kids (teens) before taking a young child on the back.

    As for side cars, I can't really say because I've never been in one, don't know anyone with one. There is a family at my sons school with a trike though and their kids have been riding on that since Kindergarten and they seem to love it.
  11. My son has been a pillion since he was 7ish (I think).. The law only states that while sitting on the bike them must be able to touch the foot pegs..

    I made sure my son could get on/off the bike without assistance first and even though he is now 11 still will not put him on a bike without a gear rack. It just makes him a little more stable and puts my mind at ease..
  12. On the back of a bike, I started at age 5.
    But in a side car, around 2 (when dad built it) however my little sis was in the side car from as little as a few weeks.
    Had my first good fitting helmet, and leather jacket by the age of 3.
    As for distances, god only knows, but there were heaps of rallies and camping trips that we went on, definately as far as NSW and that was all before mum sold the bike on my dad when i was six.

    Rules for the sidecar might be a bit different now though, as that was just on 20 yrs ago.

    '91 Across
  13. I always get nervous when I see kids on the back of bikes. Its not the competance of the rider or the kids but the cage driver that might do something to make it go pineapple shape. I saw one guy a while back, when I wsa walking my son home from school, strap his kid too hime with an occy strap. I was a bit shocked I must admit.
  14. :shock: And rightly so! What a nob! If the kid couldn't hang on properly he shouldn't have been on there in the first place, but also, what's an occy strap gonna do if you come off, other than smash the kid into the road if Dad lands on top of him?
  15. :shock:
    Well as I said I was shocked. Bloke rode like an idiot too. I could just image the little guy sliding down the road for fifty metres with the full weight of his dad (who wasn't a small bloke either) on top of him