Lafayette Motorists Express Concern for Child on Motorcycle
A photo of a child riding as a passenger on a motorcycle in Lafayette is getting attention.
The photo was posted this afternoon to the Reddit website, and most people in the comments section are incredulous.
In the photo on Reddit, the child doesn't appear to have the reach to wrap his arms all the way around the driver of the motorcycle.
The child also can't sit with his head straight and comfortable. Since his arms are so short, it appears that he has to keep his head turned to the side to be able to maintain a secure grip on the driver.
The child's feet also can not touch the foot pegs.
Comments on Reddit varied, with many of the people commenting that they felt the situation wasn't safe.
According to Louisiana law, a passenger on a motorcycle in Louisiana must be at least 5 years old. Any passenger on a motorcycle must also be wearing an approved helmet.
§191. Riding on motorcycles
E. No operator shall carry or transport an infant or child on a motorcycle who is required to be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat or a forward-facing child safety seat according to the provisions of R.S. 32:295. A child at least five years of age or older is only authorized to be a passenger on a motorcycle if such child is properly seated on the motorcycle and such child is wearing a safety helmet in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 32:190.
The two portions of the law that may come into play here are: "if such child is properly seated on the motorcycle" and "such child is wearing a safety helmet...".
For that child to be "properly seated", one would think that his feet should be touching the foot pegs.
Here's what the law says about helmets:
§190. Safety helmets
A. No person shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle unless the person is equipped with and is wearing on the head a safety helmet of the type and design manufactured for use by operators of such vehicles, which shall be secured properly with a chin strap while the vehicle is in motion. All such safety helmets shall consist of lining, padding, visor, and chin strap and shall meet such other specifications as shall be established by the commissioner.
I don't know what "other specifications" need to be met, but I would assume that "properly fitting" should be in there.
I spoke with two different law enforcement officers about the photograph, and I received two different answers to the question "If you saw this, would you initiate a traffic stop?"
One law enforcement officer (who has owned motorcycles) said that he would not initiate a traffic stop. He said that the child appears to be over the age of 5, and nothing about the photograph gave him reason to stop the vehicle.
The other (former) law enforcement officer I spoke with (who has also owned motorcycles) said that he would definitely pull over that driver if he saw this situation while on patrol.
According to the State of Louisiana, though, it appears that no laws are being broken.
Some who commented on the photo don't appear to be too bothered by the photo.
How do you feel about the situation? I know that there are as many different parenting styles as there are parents, but would you allow your child to ride like this?