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How Old Does A Child Need To Be To Ride On The Back Of A Motorcycle In Tennessee?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Aug 08, 2021

Across the country, there are five states that have a minimum legal age for a child to ride on the back of a motorcycle. The state of Tennessee is not on that list and so it is critically important that parents use their best judgment with respect to the safety of their children. Motorcycles are incredibly dangerous for even veteran riders. In 2019 in South Knox County, a five-year-old boy and his father died in a Tennessee motorcycle accident. Taking a curve, the motorcycle lost control and slammed into a pickup truck in the opposite lane. While the accident was deemed the driver's fault, there are many times when another driver is liable for causing a deadly motorcycle accident. Victims who have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee or those who have lost a loved one in one of these tragic incidents should call the Nashville motorcycle accident attorneys at the Labrum Law for a free case evaluation at (615) 338-9500.

What Are Tennessee's Motorcycle Accident Laws?

At age 16 it is permissible in the state of Tennessee to begin learning how to ride a motorcycle. In some instances, a 15-year-old teenager can also get a specific permit to begin learning how to ride. In terms of who can be a passenger on a motorcycle in Tennessee, the state does not dictate any age requirements. However, there are safety requirements that the state has for licensed riders to follow including:

  • To accommodate passengers on a motorcycle the bike must be equipped with a two-person seat, a rear seat, or a sidecar.
  • For all occupants of a motorcycle, sitting must be on a designated seat with both legs over the sides of the motorcycle and facing forward.
  • No passenger should sit on a motorcycle in a way that could inhibit the ability of the driver to operate the bike.
  • Helmets are required by the state for every rider. Drivers and passengers alike must have a helmet to legally drive a motorcycle.
  • As long as a person riding a motorcycle can have their feet on both sides of the motorcycle fit easily on the footrests of the bike, then they are tall enough to be a lawful passenger.
  • There is no height requirement for riding in a sidecar.

These requirements are meant to keep motorcycle riders and passengers as safe as possible. It is in each passenger and rider's best interest to following these rules, but if there are violations, there will be legal consequences. Passengers or drivers that ignore these requirements could result in being charged with a Class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors in Tennessee can lead to jail time for up to 30 days, or a fine as high as $50, or both the fine and jail time.

Can You Legally Let Your Child Ride on the Back of Your Motorcycle in Tennessee?

If you are a motorcycle owner and a parent you can legally let your child ride on the back of your motorcycle in Tennessee as long as their feet can sit comfortably on the footrests. The other way that you can put your child on your motorcycle would be to add an attachable sidecar to your motorcycle and let them ride in that.

Minimal regulations for children riding on motorcycles does not mean that it is always the best idea to put your child on a motorcycle. It is important to weigh the risks that can come with a child riding on the back of a motorcycle. Although there is no legal age for a child riding on the back of a motorcycle in Nashville, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that one out of every four unintentional injury deaths in children is a result of vehicle crashes.

After a catastrophic automobile accident in Tennessee, it is critical to get in touch with an attorney. The Tennessee personal injury attorneys at the Labrum Law understand the emotional and physical toll that motorcycle accidents can have. Fighting to obtain fair and full compensation on the victim's behalf is something that the experienced attorneys at Labrum Law can help you with if you are the victim of someone else's negligence.

How Vulnerable Are Children to Injuries and Death in Vehicle Accidents?

In 2019, there were 185 children aged 9-12 that died in automobile accidents across the United States. In the state of Tennessee, there were 312 crashes that had children 15 and under in the car. Children's small bodies are more prone to severe injuries in an accident. The safety of a child in an automobile is highly linked to the proper child safety seat that they are in.

There is considerably less safety gear in a motorcycle than in a car. There is also less surrounding protection on a motorcycle versus a car. This why is drivers and passengers riding on a motorcycle tend to have more debilitating injuries and death when a crash happens.

Ultimately, the decision to put a child on the back of a motorcycle if they are tall enough is up to the parents. Still, when law enforcement is asked about the safety of doing this, the most common response is to steer clear of having children ride on motorcycles in any situation. The risk for devastating trauma like organ damage and traumatic brain injuries, on top of the increased potential for death, makes the decision to put a child on a motorcycle not worth it in the end.

Speak to a Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

Parents can decide what is best for their families because there is no legal age for a child to ride on the back of a motorcycle. After a crash, victims can be unclear about what steps they should take and what they can do to obtain compensation when injuries resulted from a Nashville motorcycle accident. This is quite common. The Nashville personal injury attorneys at Labrum Law can answer questions and examine accident cases during a free consultation. It is important not to delay in meeting with an attorney after a traffic collision because the sooner a suit gets started the better the chances for success will be. To schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced Nashville motorcycle accident attorneys at Labrum Law, please call (615) 338-9500 today.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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