The more you spend time riding, the more likely your children will want to come with you. Read below to find out the proper safety precautions to take when riding with children in Ontario.
It is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so we want to give you the best tips to not only keep yourself safe as a rider, but to keep your passengers safe too, especially the little ones. The best way to keep your children safe while riding is to be prepared. Check out our best safety tips below to ensure you are ready when your children ask if they can come along for the ride.
Children's Passenger Safety Tips
One of the most important ways to ensure your children’s safety when they’re a passenger is to ensure they are wearing the proper gear. Your children will need a proper helmet which should be full coverage with a chin bar and hard foam in the shell. You want the helmet to fit snugly, so it stays put. It’s important to continue to get your children fitted for the proper size helmet as they continue to grow. They should also have other gear to keep them safe while you’re riding like a jacket, boots, and knee guards.
The positioning of your children is critical when it comes to safety and they should not be placed in front of you when you are riding. Your children may not be able to hold on to you for as long as you believe they can so the best way to keep them safe as you’re riding is to secure them to you using a belt.
It is important that your motorcycle is properly equipped to carry all passengers. Your motorcycle seat must be large enough to hold both you and your passenger safely. Also, the motorcycle must have a footrest for your passenger. Without a firm footing, your passenger could fall off the motorcycle causing a horrific accident.
If you have a passenger on your motorcycle, you will need to adjust the mirrors and headlight to the change in the motorcycle’s angle due to the extra weight. While you make the adjustments, your passenger can sit on the seat to ensure you are accurately adjusting. If you carry a passenger, it is wise to add additional air pressure to the tires. The suspension units should also be adjusted, if possible, to carry the added weight.
When transporting a passenger on a motorcycle, it is vital to acknowledge that the increased weight will affect the motorcycle's responsiveness. The acceleration, deceleration, and maneuvering will require more time due to this added load. The extent of this delay depends on the weight of the passenger. To account for this additional weight, it is advisable to implement the following measures:
-Maintain a reduced speed, especially when encountering corners, curves, or uneven road surfaces.
-Initiate the process of slowing down earlier than usual when approaching a stop.
-Allow for a greater distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles, both in front and on the sides. While crossing, entering, or merging with traffic, actively search for wider gaps.
Educate Your Passenger:
It is crucial to provide clear guidance to your passenger before commencing the ride. Never assume that your passenger is aware of the necessary actions, even if they possess motorcycle riding experience. Prior to initiating the journey, inform your passenger in advance when you are about to start moving, come to a sudden stop, execute sharp turns, or encounter road bumps. Ensure you offer comprehensive instructions beforehand. Here are the instructions you should provide to your passenger:
-Wait until the engine has started before mounting the motorcycle.
-Sit as close to the front as possible without causing discomfort.
-Maintain a firm grip around my waist or hips.
-Keep both feet on the footrests at all times, even when the motorcycle is stationary. Lean in sync with the motorcycle.
-Minimize unnecessary movements or conversations during the ride.
Know the Laws
It is also essential to know the laws about children as passengers. Here in Ontario, it is illegal for Level One (M1) drivers to carry passengers. Even with a Level Two (M2) licence, you should avoid carrying passengers or large loads until you are an experienced driver.
Safety is the priority when it comes to our children, so do as much as you can to ensure their safety and yours.