Motorcycles & Motorized Scooters

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Kids as passengers on motorized scooter?

Feb 2013

I'm thinking about getting a small 2-seater scooter. For short, local trips within Berkeley (not across the bridge or on freeways - more like to and from school, grocery shopping, etc), it seems like it would save gas, hassle, and parking space constraints for myself and 8-year-old child (quietest streets possible). Would love to hear feedback from people who transport kids on scooters. Safe, well-fitting kid helmet is of course assumed, and likely we wouldn't ride on rainy days. Scooter intrigued

I wouldn't do it. I've never had a scooter, but drove a motorcycle for more than a decade (and gave it up when I became a parent). The scooter will be faster than a bicycle, yet quieter than a motorcycle and still pretty invisible to inattentive or rushed drivers. You are at the mercy of other drivers, particularly at intersections and with vehicles that are traveling too close behind you. There are a LOT of drivers who are still talking on phones despite the new laws, and even when not on the phone, paying attention to plenty of things other than driving. Your additional speed (compared to a bicycle) gives you and other vehicles less reaction time. Some of the things that can cause you to wipe out in good weather conditions are: hitting a pothole, applying brakes while in a turn, applying brakes or turning on a surface that is wet, oily, or has sandy or gravelly debris (for example near road work). The helmet protects only your head; road rash is no fun. When I drove a motorcycle, my personal policy was never to have a passenger under 18 years old. I've had a couple of crashes under 30mph -- I once hit a bulb-out curb while the sun was in my eyes, (I went over the handlebars), and another time I hit gravel on a curve. Fortunately no major injuries but definitely some cosmetic, though permanent scars. Having a child passenger in either of these instances would have been completely devastating to me, even if the child escaped injury. While I wouldn't do it, if for some reason you choose to proceed with this idea, you need to a) consider yourself 100% invisible to other drivers, b) yield right of way go to vehicles that are heavier than yours and c) ensure protective clothing - jeans, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes that protect feet and ankles. - no shorts, no sandals, no slip-on shoes.
On the one hand, reasonable risks are all part of getting up and walking out the door in the morning. On the other hand, some risks are optional and - in my view - just not worth taking. I always believe, when it comes to my kids - and I am unwavering on this - that safety comes before convenience. Based on this standard, I would never put my kid behind me on a scooter in Berkeley traffic, even with a helmet, even in dry weather. My kid and I could end up in too many pieces. Better safe than sorry

Do not want motorcycle riding hubby

Sept 2009

On the verge of leaving my relationship and a motorcycle is the last straw.

5-yr relationship with a car freak (car magazines/shows constantly). We have sports car and suddenly his buddy buys motorcycle and motorcycle madness begins. Hubby took the safety course and got his license. But tells me he is still ''deciding'' but has picked out a $6M bike he wants to buy (I saw his text to buddy). He is 33 and never been on a motorcycle before this class. We have a one-year old baby, negative home equity, and limited savings. I am the breadwinner making triple his income. I never state this, but he has no degree, makes 50K per year, and now opens his own savings to put away his share of our ''discretionary funds'' for downpayment for new ''CAR''.

He says he just wants to ''live his life''? I thought we were both already ''living our life''. I financed nice vacations (in 5 yrs - 3 trips to Hawaii, 2 to Europe, once to Australia + weekend trips and snowboarding in Tahoe each winger. We have a beautiful son. I just don't see why he needs or (yes) deserves to blow a big chunk of our family funds on a dangerous toy. (He also plays online video games 4 nights a week and our sex life sucks as a result - he does not come to bed to snuggle).

Is it life half-lived not to ride a motorcycle? As breadwinner, and primary caregiver, I am stressed to the max. I do not want the added stress of having a dead or disabled spouse. My friend says her heart thuds everytime her hubby leaves on his bike and she is sooo happy to hear him come back.

I feel so detached and see now that he is not the responsible family man I hoped for.....

Are his priorites misplaced? Is he being selfish, thoughtless, and spoiled? $6M for a motorcycle or three RT tickets to Europe or anything else we can enjoy as a family (downpayment on a new car, jet ski, kayaks etc..). Am I completely wrong to deny him this sudden obsession? Not that I can-- he made it clear he will get it if he wants even knowing how I feel about it.

I am not a kill-joy but an active person. I snowboard, sail, hike, kayak etc. He hangs out alone with his ''boys'' on a regular basis and has every video game/console I just don't like motorcycles (I have two prior boyfriends with bikes and my dad had a dirt bike --so I have been on the back plenty of times -- to me -- ho hum not worth the risk). M

Hi. When I started reading your post, I figured you were just motorcycle hater. However looking over all the issues of your marriage I think it's not about the motorcycles. Certainly, any motor vehicle has its risks and motorcycles will have worse odds-so your concerns are not totally irrational but c'mon, if your marriage were stable and your husband and you had a good relationship, you wouldn't leave him because he wanted to ride a motorcycle. You mention stress, tough financial situation, lack of intimacy, you having to carry too much financial burden, etc. Those are far deeper problems.

Here's what you wrt to motorcyle. If your husband wants to ride, fine. He has to use his own money for the expenses of his new hobby, and that includes life insurance, as well as some kind of disability/accident policy, so that if he dies, or gets injured as a result of this, you and your children are shielded financially. As for all those other issues: marriage counselor. If he won't go, well.. there's your answer.

FWIW, my husband is biker trash, and the most DH ever, he takes care of the kids, has part time jobs outside the home, and is the rock of the family, taking incredible care of us, always there for me and the kids. We've never had to put the kids in day care, and he is the partcipating parent in both schools. When we met, he was already ''married'' to his bikes, but I have never regretted being the ''second'' wife. I will happily pay for a life insurance policy for him in case G-d forbid something were to happen. So you see, it's really not about the Motorcycles. One final thing: the motorcycle safety course is very good, and it's a good sign that he has taken it. That class saves lives. I don't mind the motorcycles...

The motorcycle solution in my family: When my wife got pregnant with our first child, we both agreed I would sell my bike and not ride again until she felt she could handle the family in the case of a tragedy. When our kids were 6 and 4, she said she was ready for me to ride again -- that she felt she could handle the kids on her own if I was killed. I have been riding again since. For some comfort, it's true, and statistically supported, that new riders who take the MSF course are substantially safer, and less likely to crash, than those who are self- or friend-taught.

If he's going to go ahead, get him the Proficient Motorcycling series of books by David Hough.

That said, it seems your post is about a LOT more than motorcycling. Perhaps you and hubby (or you alone, if necessary) should examine that. bugs in my teeth

I think you're overstating the cost of the cycle in question, but that it is not unreasonable to ask him to start out with a ''beginner bike'' until he knows how much a part of his life it will be. How can you be an avid motorcyclist without having owned one? Maybe he'll hate it in 6 months. Do you have rules already about how your spend your joint money? If so, same rules should apply to this. If not, you should really think about making some. If it's joint account, it's JOINT, no matter who makes more money. If you have decided joint means joint decisions, then he should find his savings elsewhere (second job?), or you both have to agree on the motorcycle.

Everyone in my family (except my terrified mom) rides motorcycles or Vespas (although I don't have one because I'm saving from my own, not joint, money, and I suck at saving). We as a family had two accidents (both riders' faults), with a minor leg injury now fully healed and a bad case of soreness for a few weeks. I think it's stupid to ride in rain, to lane share (legal in California, but not in many places) and to ride without appropriate clothes and helmet (illegal in CA, but legal other places). Otherwise, safe drivers are safe. In a recent study, most motorcycle accidents were caused by cars not seeing motorcyclists, but the cyclists weren't seen because they didn't follow traffic laws, darted out into traffic, turned without enough space, etc. Safe riders are really fairly safe.

Good luck. Jointly buy him a cheap motorcycle and encourage safe riding, including a refresher safety course (or advanced rider safety course) after a few months. Michelle who wants a Vespa

I feel your pain, and fear! To state the obvious, it's striking how different your respective views of partnership are. I wonder if something caused this to happen along the way?

Also, his playing video games instead of snuggling says a lot too. It's not clear what it says, but that's something worth trying to understand. He may not feel comfortable sharing what's going on with him, and it may be leaking out in his behavior. Also, it's clear that he needs to have a deeper understanding of where you are coming from. It sounds scary as hell, and your intentions are in the best interest of everyone.

So understanding more of what is going on for him, and him understanding you seems a good place to start. This is especially since there are children involved. Best wishes!. Joanne

I have been a bike rider for 40 years or so with two cross country trips of 8000 miles in 30 days each under my belt. I got a CA job and settled down to just tri-state rides on weekends and rode to work daily. After getting married I settled down to driving a car more often in the rain and cold. Once my daughter was born I became more responsible-taking her for rides around the block in front of me and a few rides to Santa Cruz now that she is a teen and sits on back. Having the responsibility of a wife and child had reduced my riding to safer rides and much less riding than before. I still get some adventure rides in when the two of them go of for girls vacations, but I stay close to home when I am needed. Hopefully your husband will come around to being a responsible dad as time goes by. It is much more dangerous riding these days than in years before. Many more cars now with drivers not paying attention on cell phones and alot more junk laying on the roadway to hit. If my wife is away and my daughter is in school, I don't ride the bike just to be safe and sure I will be able to pick her up after school. His life will adjust. I never thought mine woud change so drastically, but it has! biker dad
It sounds to me like this issue goes way beyond the mere motorcycle. It sounds like perhaps you are not getting the attention you need and want, and are upset that he is committing resources of time and money toward another outside interest rather than directing those resources toward you and the family.

My advice is to encourage him to balance his outside interests with his interest in his partner and child. I would avoid making this ''about the bike'' and focus your energy squarely on getting your needs met rather than hassling him about the motorcycle. Everyone has interests and hobbies that his/her partner doesn't share--and that is really okay.

Your description of the disparity between your pay struck a nerve. My partner is 10 years younger than I am and only has a BS (I have a MS), and he makes twice the money I make, and I pay half of our household expenses--I would be very angry if he held it against me that he made more money, and I expect your partner will be upset about that as well (it isn't easier being the lower-earning partner, especially if one is male). So try not to make your issues about money--keep the focus on getting your needs met. Tell your partner how you feel about his not attending to your needs, how much you miss him, and how much you want his attention. See if he is open to going to, say, 10 counseling sessions.

If you don't really want his attention anymore, you should be prepared to move on. You should also be prepared to share custody of your son, and to pay him substantial child support. Anonymous.

Hmmm, the motorcycle might be the last straw, but it is just another one of the symptoms. Come on, six thousand when you have $200,000 income and one kid? If spending the money is the problem, you've got bigger budget problems. My sense is you've got huge relationship troubles that are being blamed on a motorcycle. NOT having a motorcycle does not make him ''the responsible family man'' you want... having one makes him no more/less responsible. Hmm, one could argue getting a motorcycle makes him better -- People who are happy make better friends, lovers, partners. Don't make the motorcycle the issue, talk to him about all the other things that bother you and go from there. not so rich monetarily
motorcycles are dangerous but so are bicycles, sports cars, and SUVs for that matter. the motorcycle is a convenient target for your resentment against your husband who sounds like a selfish, immature, irresponsible jerk. sounds like your interests and priorities have diverged and unless you or he is willing to compromise you are better off going your separate ways. don't blame the bike

Riding 8 year old on motorscooter?

May 2004

Help! I would appreciate some advice regarding my daughter. Am I being too cautious and over protective? My daughter's father rides her to school on his motorscooter and other places around town. He doesn't go on the freeway, but I think it's very dangerous and I don't want him to do it. He's been riding motorscooters and motorcycles for 30 years and is an excellent driver, but it's the other drivers I'm worried about. I just need some perspective from other people about this. Kids can get hit on bicycles, although they're usually not going that fast unless they're on one of those tag-a-long bikes. Thank you. anon

I am not sure what kind of scooter you are talking about, but the websites I checked say no child under 12 should ride one of those small motorized scooters, and I'd say you'd be nuts to let a child of any age ride on a motorcycle or scooter, as driver or passenger. Your instincts are right on this one, I'd say. You may want to check with local police to be sure. a mom

Taking children on motor scooters

Dec 2002

My husband just bought a Piaggio motor scooter, which is powerful enough to ride on the freeway, to ride to work and save on gas. My concern is that he is taking our daughters, 5 and 7, on rides across town. We have one child's helmet, but even this doesn't seem safe to me as they are not restrained in any way. He tells me that there are no laws against having children ride this way, which is surprising to me given the level of caution used with car seats in automobiles. Does anyone know anything about this that might help either ease my mind or have him stop taking the kids on scooter rides? Concerned Scooter Wife

I don't know what the law is, but I would NEVER let my kids on a motor scooter, except maybe a short putt-putt around the block. A scooter, unlike a bike, is in the flow of traffic, it goes faster than a bike, and it, like a bike, is wholly unprotected in the event of an accident. Kids on bicycles are at least restrained in seats or in trailers. I used to do personal injury law (thank goodness not any longer) and had one case involving a dad with his kid on a motorcycle -- well, I won't bore you with details but the kid was severely injured in a low- speed, surface street accident. I bet you get a gazillion similar responses, but I do feel strongly that it's a BAD idea. Wendy
Per mile traveled, a motorcyclist is twenty (20!) times as likely to be killed as a person traveling in an automobile. What's more, the death and injury rate among motorcyclists is vastly higher in their first year using a motorcycle, so if your husband is a novice on the scooter, he is facing especially steep odds. There is, as far as I know, no evidence to suggest motorscooters are safer than motorcyclists, and I have heard the opposite said. I'm sure your child's father is thrilled with the scooter, and just wants to share the freedom and fun, but it just isn't safe - even for him! He's an adult, and can weigh the odds and choose to take the risk nonetheless, but your child has only you to protect her from the ugly risks that go with motorscooters: death, brain damage, and quadriplegia. I have the painful job of telling my beloved, but aging, and drinking, parents that they may not chauffeur my precious children, and I am resented and castigated by both my parents and my children, but for all the pain that causes me, I do not have an iota of doubt that my ultimate responsibility is to my children, and that the danger to them of taking such a risk cannot nearly be worth any benefit they might get from it. Because motorscooters are so dangerous, the same is likely to be true for your child. anonymous, for my parents' sake
If riding inside a car without a safety restraint is so dangerous for children that it is illegal, riding OUTSIDE and UNRESTRAINED doesn't sound like a good idea. Not to be snide, but we have a friend who barely survived a motorcycle accident, and his new life is no picnic. If your husband doesn't want to give up the scooter for himself, he should take out additional life insurance payable to your daughter, to make sure his responsibilities to her will always be at least partly met. Eirik
It is illegal to take a child (under 15) on a motorcycle/freeway legal scooter. I am not sure about anything less than 150 cc's (or what is freeway legal), but having been a motorcycle rider i think it's also extremely unsafe to take children on a motorcycle/scooter. The laws may have changed within the past few years to accomodate riding with children, but i think the traffic has gotten much worse. It would be a good idea if your husband got a bicycle with a childs seat instead and cruised around on that. Tell your husband he's a bonehead
We used to ride scooters in college and I wouldn't dream of letting my kids go on one! Tell your husband that one of my friends got hit by a truck that ran a red light and she was in a coma for 3 weeks. Another concerned mom