My daughter is 10 years-old and is just big enough not to need a booster seat in the car. She would like to start riding pillion with me. I own a Triumph Daytona 675 and she can sit on the back with her feet quite naturally on the foot pegs. I have also bought her a belt with grip handles to hold, but her mum, from whom I’m divorced, is trying to stop contact as I am ‘illegally’ endangering my daughter by putting her on the back of a motorcycle. Can you please tell me what the real legal position is?

Name withheld

There is no law on how old the pillion has to be. If she can reach the foot pegs and she has a type approved helmet, then you carrying her as a pillion is not a road traffic offence. However, that’s not necessarily the answer you want. A district judge in a family hearing is not concerned in the criminal law. He will want to know if you are taking all proper safety precautions for your daughter. As you said in your email you ride in proper gear and you will make sure your daughter will have armoured trousers, a jacket, proper boots and gloves as well as a helmet that fits her head. While you have a few points on your licence, you are a 35 year-old responsible father.

My advice is for you to tell your ex-wife that your daughter has all the protective gear (if necessary sending her receipts and photographs of them) and you’re well aware that you are riding with the most precious load you will ever carry. Also, it is your daughter’s right to have contact with you. You cannot really help the fact, nor can she, that you have no car. If your ex tries to stop contact, apply to the county court for a specific contact regime. My general advice for anyone is where contact disputes are concerned put your own case to the district judge yourself. They are sensible and experienced and you really do not need a solicitor.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes Magazine February 2011

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.