Children First: Young Riders - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Young Riders

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It's that time of year when the region comes alive with the rumble of motorcycles.

But riders who are here for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the parties, won't be the only ones on the roads.

Motorcycle riding is just as much a family sport.

Jerry McGraw has been riding with his daughter since she was three.

"We went to Estes Park this summer. We went to Yellowstone National Park last summer. My wife also rides, she has her own motorcycle and we ride as a family,"  says McGraw.
 
And he says safety is their first priority.
 
"Whenever we ride we do several things, we always make sure the motorcycle is safe, she always wears helmets, we always wear clothes that cover, sunscreen, and all the things you're supposed to do," says McGraw.
 
Dick Towne, a Motorcycle Safety Instructor and Captain Dan Rud of the Rapid City Police Department say there are several laws in place to ensure safety.
 
"Anyone under 18 must have a helmet and proper eye protection," says Towne.
 
"A helmet manufactured to DOT specifications," says Rud.
 
And regarding passengers:
 
"The motorcycle itself should be a two seater. The seat should be designed for a passenger," says Rud.
 
"You'll occasionally see a small child seated in front of the rider on the gas tank and according to state law that's illegal," says Towne.
 
"Experience is important too, being familiar with your bike and how it performs," says Rud.
 
And there are plenty of first time riders hitting the roads this rally.
 
"This day class this week is about a 50/50 class of experienced riders and first time riders."
 
Who all need to take some simple advice.
 
"Ride at your own pace. Ride at your own comfort or skill level. Often riders get in trouble with they try to keep up with the group," says Towne.
 
"Defensive driving is imperative is you're going to be operating a motorcycle, you have to watch out for yourself," says Rud.
 
And for your young passengers.
 
"You ride very differently with a child on board, you ride very conservatively, you are very defensive in your driving. And we're very careful, I don't take her life lightly," says McGraw.

McGraw recognizes that there is an inherent risk when riding with his daughter. But says it's no different than the dangers that come with horse back riding, or riding a bicycle, if you take the right safety steps.
 

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