WWYD – Motorbike and Kids

I received this email yesterday, and I am horrified.

I live on a smallish Yishuv ~ 150 families. I went to pick my son up from pre-school last week and saw a neighbor who just picked up his two small kids – a 4 year old girl and a 1.5 year old boy. He put on his helmet, got onto his motor-cycle and propped the 4 year old behind him and put the 1.5 year old between his knees. Neither child had a helmet and both were hanging on to him as he drove off. I was horrified. I really don’t believe in criticizing parents and do believe that un-wanted advice is a sign of hostility. But the sight of the two toddlers balanced precariously on the motor cycle was just so horrible.

AS

Thanks AS – this is an excellent WWYD scenario. Dear Reader, if you had been in AS’s shoes, what would you have done?

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  1. Hipstermom says:

    I would have definitely said something! But then again, I have no problem saying something when my taxi driver in Jerusalem decides to text while driving. When it comes to safety – both personal and others – I open my mouth.

    Granted, I understand that for many people transportation is an issue. My brother-in-law has B”H 5 kids, one car and a motorcycle. I’ve never seen him take one of his kids on the bike without a helmut, that is just reckless and unnecessary child endangerment. It’s not that costly to go out and buy helmets for your children, especially if a motorcycle is the only means of transportation to and from gan.

    I hope this writer says something next time she sees the Father, and it can certainly be done in a nice way. If he really thought about it, the money it costs to buy two helmets is a worthwhile investment when it comes to the safety of his two children. I’m sure he loves them very much, and would never want anything to happen to them.

    If he doesn’t take kindly to her suggestion (the baby should also be in a toddler seat but I have no idea if they make one for a motorcycle, they do for bikes) and she sees the scenario repeated again, she should definitely call the police and report him (small yishuv or not, these kids need to be protected!) She can also rally the support of the gannenet, who I’m sure would be on her side!

    Good luck.

  2. Personally I have no problem with children on a motor bike as long as basic safety issues are maintained. Some of my earliest memories are of riding motorbikes with my father. However, those memories also include having my head squished into a helmut, which I never liked, and never thought was overly comfortable, but which my father insisted was a necessity.
    Personally that is where I see the problem here. Some basic safety rules were ignored. In which case, definitely speak up. Its a chid’s life that is at stake.
    It is a lot like a brit mila. The vast majority of the halakhot that are involved are only in place to protect a child against something that maybe would be a danger of 1 in a million, but the Rabbis say, that you cannot return a soul to a body, and thus we take precautions because a child’s life is at stake.
    Parents(rightly so) are typically fairly particular about seeking out a mohel with good experience and references in order to protect their child. Why is it that that same protection should not be extended to the rest of their life. Likewise if a mohel sees another doing something that will endanger the child, he is required to intervene as a matter of pikuah nefesh. A mila, is a lot safer than riding a motorbike without a helmut. Yes you should intervene.

  3. Ariela says:

    The question is, if you say something is it effective?
    First thing about this story. There was no transportation problem. The family in question lives about 350 m from the day-care center.
    I spoke with the man’s wife about it. She thanked me for telling her, but said, “it was only for a short trip.” I told her that tragedies can happen on a short trip.
    I hope I did the right thing.

  4. Where is Helmut's Helmet? says:

    FYI a third of all accidents happen less than a mile away from home, so the common answer “it was only for a short trip / it was only inside the yishuv” doesn’t cut it — the short trips are the ones to worry about.

  5. Mark says:

    Horrible.

    For one, it’s illegal. So the police could be notified, and if they care, they can wait there for a few days until he does it again and cite him as necessary.

  6. sheva says:

    I would of said something and maybe even made a threat. when it comes to child safety I’m a bit fanatic, in a good way. I’m the mom telling everyone in carpool that their car seats are expired or the car seat has not been properly installed. I’m also the same mom that informs parents in Shul that it is not the safest choice to let your child play in front of Shul near the street unsupervised . I just don’t think child safety is something to keep quite about. IMHO

  7. fille says:

    Nothing. Their problem.

    • Mark says:

      Kol Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh!

      • fille says:

        Well, then start protecting children from abuse of all kinds. That would be more important.

        And keep people from overeating, smoking, etc which are primary death causes in our world.

        Sadly, kol yisrael is not able to do this, so give me a break with safety-hyes.

        • Mark says:

          Of course we should protect against abuse of all kinds!

          But obviously immediate danger takes precedence.

          • fille says:

            I don’t know.

            Our world in general and the americans in particular tend to over-estimate danger of this kind.

            Of course, it is nice to try and elimninate even the residual risk of having an accident while not being protected. On the ohter hand, it is grossly exagerated to say that this child was in “immediate danger”. In the end, nothing happened.

            However, abused childre are in “immediate danger”, but it happens behind closed doors and the parents are such nice people who would not even harm a fly, so that’s where we forget “al taamod al dam reecha” or “kol israel areivin zeh la zeh”.

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