What Is the Age Requirement to Ride on the Back of a Motorcycle?

Short Answer: Oklahoma doesn't have an age requirement.
Clayton T. Hasbrook

Written by Clayton T. Hasbrook. Last modified on February 20, 2024

Office Information
Hasbrook & Hasbrook
400 N Walker Ave #130, Oklahoma City, OK

Passenger Age and Equipment Requirements for Motorcycles in Oklahoma

two motorcyclists on a country road

While Oklahoma law does not set a minimum age for motorcycle passengers, it emphasizes the passenger’s safety. The state requires motorcycles to be properly equipped for carrying passengers. This includes adjusting the motorcycle’s suspension and tire pressure according to the added weight and ensuring the presence of foot pegs or hand straps for the passenger’s safety.

Oklahoma enforces a strict helmet law for younger passengers, particularly those under 18. As per 47 OK Stat § 47-12-609, all child passengers are required to wear a helmet that meets the standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These helmets should fit properly, have sufficient interior padding, and, ideally, a full-face shield for optimal protection.

Additional Protective Gear for Child Passengers

  • Sturdy shoes or riding boots for a secure grip on footrests
  • Gloves for hand protection
  • Knee guards for impact protection
  • Body armor for torso safety
  • Eye protection against debris

Preparing a Child for Motorcycle Riding

motorcyclist wearing a helmet

Educating a child on motorcycle safety basics is vital before taking them as a passenger. This education includes lessons on maintaining balance, the necessity of facing forward, securely holding on, and the proper way to lean during turns.

When riding with a child, motorcyclists should:

  • Navigate turns and corners at a slower speed
  • Accelerate and decelerate smoothly
  • Maintain a greater distance from other vehicles
  • Begin with shorter trips to familiarize the child with the experience

Practicing Safe Riding with a Passenger

Practicing in a controlled environment before riding on public roads with a passenger is important. This preparation is crucial for both the rider and the passenger to get used to motorcycle handling and balance changes. I recall nearly colliding with my aunt’s mailbox during my initial motorcycle ride!

Consult the motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific weight capacity and passenger safety instructions to ensure adherence to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Risks of Riding with a Passenger:

  • Increased weight can alter the motorcycle’s handling and braking capabilities
  • Potential distractions from passenger movements or communication
  • The necessity for a longer stopping distance

Licensing Requirements for Motorcycle Operators

In Oklahoma, operating a motorcycle legally requires an “L” endorsement on the operator’s current Oklahoma Driver’s License. For those without a current license, individuals over 16 can apply for a motorcycle permit, while those under 16 are also eligible under certain conditions. The classification between a motorcycle and a motor-driven cycle is based on the engine’s piston displacement and the number of wheels in contact with the ground.

Steps to Obtain a Motorcycle “L” Endorsement or Permit:

  1. Provide necessary identification, Social Security Number, and proof of any name changes or valid motorcycle liability insurance.
  2. Visit a Service Oklahoma Licensing Office.
  3. Undergo a vision test.
  4. Complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundations course or pass both the written and drive tests.

Completing a Motorcycle Safety Foundations course is obligatory for riders between 14 and 18 years old. Additionally, holding a motorcycle learner permit for 30 days is required before obtaining a motorcycle endorsement.

Restrictions for Riders Under 16:

  • Driving is permitted only between 4:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Approved protective headgear is mandatory.
  • A licensed adult must accompany the rider.
  • The motorcycle’s piston displacement must not exceed 300 cubic centimeters.
  • Riding on highways with minimum speed limits or exceeding 35 mph is prohibited.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is a valuable resource for comprehensive information on motorcycle safety and laws. The Oklahoma Motorcycle Driver’s Manual is available for download at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s website.

Legal Consequences of Unsafe Riding Practices

Lane-splitting, or riding between two lanes of traffic, is prohibited in Oklahoma. Engaging in this behavior can lead to legal penalties and may impact fault determination in the event of an accident. Riding without a valid motorcycle license can result in fines ranging from $50 to $300 and up to 30 days of imprisonment for repeated offenses.

Motorcycles must have specific safety features, including two rearview mirrors, a fender over each wheel, a horn, a muffler, a functioning speedometer, a headlight, a red tail light visible from 500 feet, and a reflector if screen or eye protection is not used.

Insurance Requirements

Oklahoma mandates that motorcyclists carry insurance with minimum coverage amounts:

  • $25,000 for death or injury to one person
  • $50,000 for death or injury to multiple people
  • $25,000 for property damage

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a minimum age for motorcycle passengers in Oklahoma?

While Oklahoma does not enforce a minimum age for motorcycle passengers, it mandates safety equipment and precautions for all passengers.

What safety gear must children wear when riding motorcycles in Oklahoma?

Children are required to wear DOT-certified helmets. Additionally, wearing riding boots, gloves, knee guards, body armor, and eye protection is advised.

What are the steps to obtain a motorcycle endorsement in Oklahoma?

Applicants must provide the necessary documentation and proof of insurance, pass a vision test, and either complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundations course or pass both written and drive tests.

Are there any restrictions for motorcycle riders under 16 in Oklahoma?

Yes, restrictions include specific driving hours, helmet requirements, adult supervision, engine displacement limits, and speed restrictions.

Is lane-splitting legal in Oklahoma?

Lane-splitting is not permitted in Oklahoma and can lead to fines and impact fault determination in accidents.

What are the insurance requirements for motorcyclists in Oklahoma?

Motorcyclists are required to have insurance coverage of at least $25,000 for injury or death to one person, $50,000 for injury or death to multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage.

Can a child ride as a passenger on a motorcycle without additional equipment?

No, all passengers, including children, must have the appropriate safety gear, including helmets that meet DOT standards.

How does carrying a passenger affect motorcycle handling?

The added weight of a passenger can significantly affect the motorcycle’s handling, braking, and overall dynamics, requiring adjustments in riding style.

What is the penalty for riding without a valid motorcycle license in Oklahoma?

Riding without a valid license can result in fines ranging from $50 to $300 and up to 30 days of imprisonment for repeat offenses.

Can motorcycles be modified to accommodate passengers better?

Motorcycles can be modified with additional accessories like passenger seats, backrests, and footpegs to enhance passenger comfort and safety.

What are the consequences of not wearing the required safety gear while riding?

Failing to wear the required safety gear can lead to an increased risk of injury in the event of an accident and may result in legal penalties.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Clayton T. Hasbrook who has years of legal experience as a personal injury lawyer. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.