In Andhra Pradesh, a father lost his four-year old son when his motorcycle collided with another bike.In another case, a truck hit a scooter in which an 11-year old boy was riding with his mother. The child died on the spot.
Indeed, it is disheartening to see the loss of young lives in both the cases. Sadly, the number of children losing their lives in two-wheeler accidents has increased in the country. As per the report released by Union Transport Ministry, 2015, 7% road accident victims were below the age of 14. In most of the cases, a head injury was the common cause of death, and children were more vulnerable to injuries due to their lighter frames.
A quick look at the age-group of kids killed during 2015
Taking a child on a two-wheeler, especially motorcycle is a dangerous proposition. If you have kids, you may have to face the situation, eventually. Sadly, many people don’t think it through before taking a child on a bike ride. Here’s a typical disaster which I have seen far too frequently. A biker rides down a street with a kid sitting in front, the little hands of a child trying to hold onto a gas tank or a rider’s legs.
You might be thinking, what is wrong with it? Plenty of things! What will happen if a rider makes a quick stop? He might grab the child from one arm and lose the balance of a bike if he stops abruptly or he can choose to control the bike and watch thekid fly off the motorcycle. If it is a scene from a film like fast and furious,the rider would’ve probably doneboth the things without hurting a child but it is not a movie world.
Your child is your responsibility and even a minor cut to him/her can worry you. So, what would happen, if a major injury happens to your child,which could be averted if you had followed some safety guidelines? So here are some tips that you should followto ensure the safety of your kids while riding a two-wheeler.
- Don’t let your kid sit in front: As I have explained above also, if you allow your child to sit in front, he/she will not only disturb your biking control but can also fall off the bike. So, it would be good if you ask your kidto sit behind and hold you tightly. Also, don’t allow your kid to sit on a two-wheeler unless his/her feet can reach the footrest easily.
- Buy proper gear for a child: Though, the market for motorcycle gear for kidsis not so much developed and you can find difficulty in finding the right gear for your kid, don’t make it an excuse for not buying a proper riding gear. Whatever, safety gears a rider needs, a pillion rider also needs the same.
Of course, the most important gear undoubtedly is a helmet. While choosing a helmet, make sure it perfectly fits on a head. A helmet that only rattles around head is equal to no helmet.
Further, you can find a good quality armor that your child can either wear on top or underneath t-shirt. As laces have a probability of getting stuck in a chain and cause serious injuries, go with high ankle laces-free shoes. In addition to this, motorcycle gloves and protective pants should be worn.
- Use a safety belt/harness: During a long journey, chances are high that your childmight fall asleep on a bike. Though, you can ask him/her to hold onto you as tightly as possible, tiny hands may not have a proper grip. So, safety belt is the best solution to deal with this problem.
Nowadays, there are various safety belts available in the market that keep your child comfortably strapped to you so that you can focus on your ride. Thanks to this safety harness, you no longer need to worry that your child might fall or be thrown off the seat when the road becomes rough or if you make a sharp turn to avoid a pothole.
- Start slow before picking speed: Ease your kid into riding by going slowly around the block for a few times before taking a longer route. If you take your child on roads with lesser traffic,they will becomehabituated to the idea of bike riding and eventually to the long route journey.
- Give some safety lessons: Before every ride, it is imperative to impart some basic safety tips to kids. Ask them to keep their legs and feetaway from exhaust pipes. Also, tell them to stay alert while they are on a two-wheeler. Remember, they are kids and they can forget these safety measures, but it is your duty to give these tips before every ride.
As a parent, we take every step to ensure the safety of our kids and it would be good if you follow the same diligence while taking your kid on a two-wheeler.
Moreover, you can go for anextra safety by buying a two-wheeler insurance policy which will ensure complete help in case of any mishappening. If, God forbid, you meet with an accident or your bike causes damages to another vehicle, the insurer will cover you by recouping monetary losses.
Also, you can add a roadside assistance rider to your two-wheeler insurance policy and expand your coverage. If, for example, you are riding with your kid and suddenly your bike breaks down or runs out of fuel, you can call the insurer who will come to your help even if it is during the wee hours. It is a very useful rider, which ensures a tension-free journey, especially if you are riding with your child.
Moreover, a two-wheeler policy also offers a personal accident cover of Rs 2 lakhs for the individual driver while mounting or dismounting from the vehicle. You can go for an optional personal accident cover for co-passengers as well. This cover is generally given as an add on so make sure you select it while buying the policy.
A few years ago, ICICI Lombard, a leading insurer, distributed ISI certified 9,000 kids’ helmets. Even Delhi government has made helmets compulsory for women pillion riders. It would be good if the government makes it mandatory for kids as well and impose heavy penalties on violators. Sometimes, the fear of fine and penalty work magic.
To sum up, a safe ride is a happy ride. If you follow all the above tips, your child will have some great memories and he/she will be hooked to riding as much you are. A good indicator to know whether your kidsenjoy bike rideor not is to look back at them once you stop. If you see a big smile peeping from their helmet, it means you have found a riding partner for a long journey.
“Ruchir Chauhan is a creative story teller (because someone has to get their hands dirty) who has dispersed his words around topics like technology, travel, health, auto content and home improvement. His work reflects a grin of knowledge, imagination and a fun element. Lover of road trips, animals, pizza and peanut butter, he is often found reading on the beach while sipping his favourite drink.”