EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column.

Why is it legal to let a child ride on the back of a motorcycle hanging onto an adult without any type of restraints when they have to be buckled up a car?  

This question comes from one of our KBEC listeners.

I remember learning it was OK for a child to ride on a motorcycle while in the academy, but I still researched the Texas Transportation Code (TC) to make sure.  I know exactly how you feel because riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous.  My dad refers to it as a “riding coffin.”  

The sad part about motorcycle riders is that for the most part they are very good operators of their motorcycles. It is everyone else around them who are dangerous.  

Very few of the motorcycle accidents I have worked involving a vehicle and motorcycle were the fault of the motorcycle operator.  

When a vehicle collides with a motorcycle, there is usually not much the motorcycle operator can do but try to cushion the impact as much as possible, if they see it coming.

As far as transporting children on motorcycles — that is totally different. We have to keep in mind that a motorcycle may be someone’s only means of transportation.  

I agree it is probably not the safest way to transport your children, but it may be their only way. The people who can change that are in Austin.  

Anyone under 21 who is either operating or riding on a motorcycle while on a public street or highway has to wear protective headgear, which is up to the safety standards set out by the state.  Children or any other passenger cannot ride on a motorcycle unless the motorcycle has equipped seating for two.  

In the 2009 Texas legislative session the lawmakers changed some of the rules regarding wearing a helmet.  

Section 661.003 states that as long as you are at least 21 years of age and have completed the motorcycle operator training and a safety course under Chapter 662 or covered by a health insurance plan providing the person with medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding on a motorcycle, you do not have to wear a helmet.  Any child passenger on a motorcycle should be wearing a helmet.

Please look out for those motorcycles because they can be a little harder to see than cars and you never know who may be on the back of one as a passenger.  Drive Safe.


Wess Winn holds a master peace officer certification. If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at wwinn@waxahachiepd.org or call 972-937-9940, Ext. 212. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.