COLUMBIA - If a South Carolina Republican gets his way, all children from birth to 1 year old must be in a rear facing child safety seat if they're riding on a motorcycle, and any rider younger than 7 and weighing 40-80 pounds must be in a booster seat with both lap and shoulder belts.
The bill, H. 3040, follows previous attempts to address motorcycle safety. Rep. Joseph Daning, R (Berkeley) said a few years ago, constituents called him seeking help. “They were concerned about an ex-spouse taking their children on motorcycles. I got to looking into it, and I said, ‘You know, it makes a lot of sense,’” said the lawmaker. “We take care of our children (in cars), but they’re so unprotected on the back of motorcycles.”
As expected, the bill is facing stiff opposition from the motorcycle rights community.
ABATE of SC’s state coordinator, Ralph Bell, emphasized that there have been no fatalities of passengers under 7. He said changing the law would hinder charity events.
“The pediatric brain tumor ride would no longer be able to provide rides for kids nor would the Camp Chemo ride,” he said.
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“I believe Rep. Daning’s heart is in the right place, but this legislation is misguided,” said Dennis Welborn, the state legislative coordinator for ABATE of SC.
“Its passage would cause much more harm than good.”
In particular, said Welborn, mounting a child safety seat on a motorcycle would change its center of gravity, making it unwieldy, affecting its handling and braking abilities.
Meanwhile, child-safety advocates support Daning’s efforts.
“We wholeheartedly supported Rep. Daning’s bill last year,” said Jeff Allen, who is on the board of directors of the Children’s Trust of South Carolina.