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Discussion Starter #1
What is the minimum age and weight requirements for a child motorcycle passenger?

When I purchased my Electra Glide Classic (I have the saddle-bags, tour-pak and back rest installed) I called and spoke to a local city police officer and asked what the minimum requirements were for children to ride as a passenger. The officer told me that motorcycles are very unsafe and dangerous, especially for children. He told me that he would cite me if he saw my son riding with me on the motorcycle, even if was just around the block from my home. He said he would cite me based on the California Child Safety Seat law, which requires children under 6 years old or 60 lbs. to be in an appropriate child safety or booster seat. While he is entitled to his opinion, is it actually based on California law?

I spoke to a second officer and called two different DMV offices and was told something different: the California Child Safety Seat is not applicable to motorcycles as the seat cannot be secured to a motorcycle. Additionally, I was told that the minimum age of 6 years old or 60 lbs. did not apply to motorcycles either but rather that the child has to wear a DOT approved helmet, have the ability to hold on to the passenger grab handles or motorcycle operator and that both feet must rest on the passenger foot-pegs.

My son will be 6 years old December 11, is 47 inches tall and weighs 49 lbs. He cannot reach the original equipment rear passenger floor-boards but I installed adjustable extended-reach foot pegs that I purchased at the H-D dealer.

While on a short ride, the officer stopped me tonight with my son and gave me a warning: he told me that next time he will cite me based on the Child Safety Seat law and that age is NOT a consideration: child passengers must weigh 60 lbs. or more...

Any thoughts?
 

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Richard H-D said:


I'm not a cop, but I do 'google":

It looks like this is the relevant statute and that the cops are interpreting your motorcycle as a vehicle.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=42778015062+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve

CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 27360-27368




27360. (a) No parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor
vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, shall permit his or her child
or ward to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without
providing and properly securing the child or ward, in a child
passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle
safety standards unless the child or ward is at least one of the
following:
(1) Six years of age or older.
(2) Weighs 60 pounds or more.
(b) No driver shall transport on a highway any child in a motor
vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, without providing and properly
securing the child in a child passenger restraint system meeting
applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards unless the child is
at least one of the following:
(1) Six years of age or older.
(2) Weighs 60 pounds or more.
This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the parent or legal
guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and is not the
driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you wyodude for your response. I looked up the code #27360 that defines child safety seats and its requirements of 6 years old or 60 lbs. But the officer claimed that age was not a factor but rather the child had to be a minimum of 60 lbs. regardless of age.

Then I looked up code #27315 that defines the use of seatbelts in a motor vehicle:

27315. (a) The Legislature finds that a mandatory seatbelt law will
contribute to reducing highway deaths and injuries by encouraging
greater usage of existing manual seatbelts, that automatic crash
protection systems which require no action by vehicle occupants offer
the best hope of reducing deaths and injuries, and that encouraging
the use of manual safety belts is only a partial remedy for
addressing this major cause of death and injury. The Legislature
declares that the enactment of this section is intended to be
compatible with support for federal safety standards requiring
automatic crash protection systems and should not be used in any
manner to rescind federal requirements for installation of automatic
restraints in new cars.
(b) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Motor
Vehicle Safety Act.
(c) (1) As used in this section, "motor vehicle" means any
passenger vehicle or any motortruck or truck tractor, but does not
include a motorcycle.

Subsection c states that a motor vehicle does not include a motorcycle...

Now I am more confused than ever! Any other thoughts?
 

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You may have to take the ticket and go to court to win this fight. Officers can ticket you for just about anything if they have it in for you, but that doesn't mean he is right. This will be a battle you have to win in front of the judge.

On another note, you might want to rethink the whole idea of taking your child for rides. Any accident, no matter how slight, will end in serious injuries for the child. It is one thing for you to make the decision to ride for yourself, but quite another to make decision for your child, especially at that age. Even with all the protective gear (which is difficult to find for a child that age, helmet, eye protection, gloves, pants, jacket, with CE approved armour) he will still suffer grave injuries even if you just drop the bike.
 

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Can't help you with your problem, but it sure sounds like the local yokal is pick'n.

Here in PA, I've been packing my daughter along since she was five. Now at 9 1/2 she still weighs in at just fifty pounds.

I keep it to small trips and have found when she was smaller that she wan't to drift off asleep. This was not a problem as for safety reasons I was using a rigging I made out of lifevest straps formed in an "x" pattern to make a harness. I just attached it to the seat and back rest on the 79 FLH. It gave me the peace of mind to not having to keep reaching around to make sure she was still there!

Hope you can resolve your problem with the local cops and you and your son can enjoy the road together.

Mister Breeze
 

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Hello Richard H-D

When I was 16, I use to throw my little brother, 6 then on my motorcycle in front of me. His hands would be just resting on the tank or graping the handle bars or hang on to my legs. when I was in college in florida, I did the same thing with my 4 year old son. I would put a helemt on him and off to day care and me to school we would go. I never had anyone ever question me. I never knew it was a problem. I even had a husky that would ride on the passeger seat and ride all day with his nose in the air.

Here is a link that might help u fight for your right to pursue happinness

http://www.easyriders.com/content/law/lawchart.asp#2
 

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I'm on the east coast but from what I've seen, California code 27360 would apply. Definately the child must be able to have a properly fitting helmet, eye protection, be able to hang/ hold on and feet must meet the floorboards even if they are adjustable. But according to that code you could be cited for it. Of course it all depends on which officer spots you whether he stops you or not. It is the officers discretion.
 

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Richard H-D,

unless the child or ward is at least one of the
following:
(1) Six years of age or older.
(2) Weighs 60 pounds or more.


I think you've definitely stumbled into a "grey area" in the law. If you can afford the time and a grand or so, let 'em give you a citation, get a hungry lawyer and go see the judge. My guess is (1) the lawyer will take you money and (2) the judge will dismiss the charges. Once this happens, you now have legal precedence, judges give great deference to precedent.

wyodude
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Motorcycles and Child Passengers:

Thanks for all the replies!

As of now, the California Highway Patrol has called me twice and stated that the California Child Safety Seat Law does not apply to motorcycles; there is no minimum age or weight requirement for passengers. The requirements are that the passenger must have a DOT approved helmet, must have the ability to hold on to the motorcycle operator or passenger grab-handles and must be able to have both feet touching the passenger foot-pegs. Foot-pegs must be mounted behind the operator and while they can be adjustable, they must be affixed permanently to the frame.

I went to my local city police department and spoke to a Sergeant on duty; at this point he agrees with the view point of the CHP and does not agree with the officer, but deferred a final response until he could talk to the officer and verify that there is no city municpal code to the contrary.

As some of you have alluded to, guess I will be riding 32 mph in a 35 mph zone for quite some time...
 

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Here is my 2 cents worth. The California Vehicle code does not address minimum weight or age requirements for motorcycle passengers. These requirements apply to motor vehicles only. 27315 (c)(1) states that motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles, so this section does not apply to your situation. Section 27800 requires that passengers keep their feet on the footrests while the vehicle is in motion. It appears that you have resolved this problem. I have found nothing that would prohibit your son from riding as a passenger. Despite my 20 years in the Law Enforcement business I called the recognized experts in traffic matters, the California Highway Patrol, and they confirmed what I wrote above. As far as the officer you are having problems with I would suggest you contact the Watch Commander on duty. Ask him/her to clarify what the officer is telling you and justify his threats of future citations. Ask the watch commander to give you the appropriate section as you would not want to knowingly violate the law!! This won't stop the officer from finding another reason to stop you though!!! I hope this helps.
 

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Richard, 'hope you don't mind BUT I'm going to ask that you induldge me a bit. I saw your post on this topic in another group. If it wasn't you, the question about the youngster and riding was identical. (Most of us frequent a number of groups/forums/sites/whatever.)

I read the answers you received there (I like the site but I won't mention the name here) and the responses you received here. The responses in both locations were very positive, constructive and informative.

The Internet is a great source of information and good counsel.

Glad you're with us @ the H/D Forum. Oh, I think you got the BEST responses here!!!! :D
 

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Motorcycles are dangerous :rolleyes: there's your lecture :)

If my passenger is old enough to follow directions and hang on, they can get on with a helmet and eye protection and only with the passenger backrest on. At the same time, when I am carrying any passenger, especially a young one, I am 10 times more careful with my driving than when I'm solo.

I can remember riding in front of my Dad on his Triumph when I was 3 hanging onto the map holder. Being able to pass that experience on to my nieces and nephews has been the highlight of many vacations and out of town family visits to our house.

If the local law enforcement (or SoCal when on vacation) wants to write me a ticket for that, I'll be appearing in court ready to pay. I can remember what a thrill it was for me at that age to go riding with my Dad and I can see it in their eyes when they go riding with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
To pasadenajim;

Yes, I like to visit three different Harley-related forums and enjoy the information that I get from them.

I too felt that all the replies were positive; I did have a concern that some would be critical of me wanting my almost-six year old to ride with me but felt it was a good question to post. In reality, my interest in having my son ride with me consists only of riding locally in the city limits, posted speed limits of no more than 40 mph. In fact, it's usually not much more than going to the grocery store.

My overall concern was that I feel the officer is trying to push is own personal agenda on to me, and in a manner that I don't think was entirely truthful, and I don't care for that! I was told that this officer is a long-term veteran of the department and has passed the California Bar as an attorney, so it seems rather difficult for me to believe that he isn't well versed in regards to the California vehicle code.
 

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I've had passengers from the age of 6 to 76. No problem.

The officer you've had a run in with has his own agenda. If he gives you a ticket, accept it and smile. Show up in Court and tell your story to a judge. The case will be dismissed.

After the case is dismissed, he'll probably "chill". If not, and he tickets you a second time, it's law suit time!!!! Hey, ya' need a little extra money for chrome, don't ya? :D

Final thought: just because a person has passed the bar doesn't mean he/she has any sense.
 

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My son is bigger than your son! (Or at least he will be) It’s interesting to compare children’s size and age. My son is three. He is 44" and 55 lbs. He is husky and will most likely be the football team. Anyhow, I'm not planning on him riding with me, because if anything ever happened, I just could not forgive myself. Maybe around the block, but they do say that accidents often happen by home. I think your correct in your assumption of what the officer was attempting to do. He most likely feels so strongly about children not riding motorcycles, that he is bending the rules and trying to scare you or make you rethink you decision.

Ride Safe

Ride Safer with your son!
 

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Hello Again,
Just left my local shop where I was checking on the status of my new ride. While I was there I was checking out some highwaypegs for the new beast when it gets here. I spotted some extend- a- pegs for the passenger that have four postions and you can leave the boards. I know I'll be getting a set for my daughter as she is on the short side. These were not HD's though. I will not attempt to spell the brand I know someone here can straighten me out.I can't even pronunce it. Looks Swedish. At a buck and a half their not cheap but that does include all hardware. Just thought I'd pass it on if you don't already know about them.

Mister Breeze
FNG:) Or NFG:(
ahh... maybe a little of both!
 

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The cop can write a ticket but it will not stick in court, only motorcycle safety gear and proper fit to the motorcycle applies. The cop is full of crap, in a post mentioned before talk to the Watch Commander and if needed make a written complaint and get a response in writing. Not all cops are dicks some just passed time on thier shift being pricks.
 

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You mentioned that the Sergeant was going to check on any applicable city ordinances. Make sure you follow up on that. Many times people get a quote from an agency that only enforces state laws. About that time some municipal ordinance will sneak up and get you.
 

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georider said:
Not all cops are dicks .....

I recently got pulled over on my scoot by a Fairfax County policeman. 63 in a 50, my bad. The cop was exceptionally courteous and professional. He complemented me on my bike (thanks), asked if I had any valid reason for exceeding the posted speed limit (no), explained that there had been 44 fatalities on that particular road that year (no shat?).

Even though I got a ticket, I have positive impressions about the whole incident.
This has to mean I'm fucked-up :eek: :eek: :eek:

wyodude
 

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My experience with bikes is close to thomas_l
I was on a bike with my father at 4 and my boys were on my bikes with me at the age of 4. I also am a lot more careful when my boys are with me.
But you always have to think about the Knuckle-Heads that don't have any................... They go out and by a big bike without even understanding even the very basics of riding, let alone how to ride with someone on the back. You know as well as we all do, there are some real crazy laws and rules out there that were written because of some people not understanding that "hot" coffee is really "HOT" -- you sound like a smart and careful guy so I say take your son with you and enjoy those special times -- your son will never forget it.
 
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