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People of the World Wide Web had a lot to say about Mallory Torres and the choices she made concerning her daughter’s ride home from school. The Corpus Christi, Texas mother started a maelstrom of online criticism when she shared a photograph of her 7-year-old daughter riding on the back of a motorcycle.

In the photo, Torres’s daughter is wearing a full face helmet as well as pants and closed toe shoes.

The image sparked a considerable amount of outrage. Many Facebook users commented, questioning Torres’s mothering skills and suggesting that she deserved to be fined.

Torres responded to her detractors on Facebook, in a post that has been shared nearly 40,000 times (at the time of writing). In the post, she defended her choice– claiming that her daughter enjoys riding on the back of a motorcycle and that the rider, her boyfriend, is an experienced rider.  She goes on to give an analysis of risk management to show that her choice to allow her daughter on a motorcycle was not an example of reckless parenting. Furthermore, her daughter has expressed a keen interest in motorcycling, and being a passenger allowed her to get a better sense of what it is like to ride.

Torres wrote in her post (which can be viewed in full here:

Some of you may have seen this picture on Facebook, and some of you may have even seen this in person. It was posted in a motorcycle group by a fellow motorist. This is my 7 year old daughter riding home from school on a motorcycle. Yes. She’s 7, and she’s on a motorcycle. “Why?” Some of you may ask… Because I love my daughter. That’s right… I LOVE MY DAUGHTER and she loves to ride, so I allow her to ride on the back of a motorcycle in full gear with my boyfriend who has 20+ years of experience. This was not her first time, she has had experience. I followed closely behind on her first ride, and i as a mother, felt that she did great and that she could handle it again. She also wants a bike of her own which is why we AS PARENTS feel the need to give her as much passenger riding experience as possible before she is allowed to ride on her own.
“But it’s dangerous”. -yes… but so is allowing your children to participate in sports.
“But she can get hurt”. -yes, but how many times has your child gotten a bruise, scrape, or hell even a broken bone from a sport? Want to know how many MY daughter has had? Zero. That’s right. NOT ONE SCRAPE, BUMP OR BRUISE from riding.
“But there are idiots on the road that you can’t control” -absolutely right. But that doesn’t prevent you from driving on the road with your children as passengers does it? Didn’t think so. And i can guarantee you have looked down at the radio or phone a time or two, but cyclists know how cautious they have to be of idiot drivers (like the ones looking down at their phone) and do not allow any distractions while riding.

Good/bad parenting snap judgements aside, Torres and her boyfriend did not break any Texas laws by allowing the girl on the motorcycle. Texas law states that children over the age of 5 are permitted to ride on a motorcycle, provided that they wear a helmet.

California law does not establish a minimum age for riding on a motorcycle. It does, however, require that all drivers and passengers on a motorbike wear a helmet.  Passengers must be in a secure seat and have their feet on foot rests while the bike is in motion– some people get special modifications for their bikes to accommodate child passengers.

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