This is a tragic story involving a 4-year-old girl who died. But it's also a story that had me scratching my head. Because the little girl, Breann Creer, from California, died tragically while riding on the back of her mother's boyfriend's Harley-Davidson. It happened when the semi-truck in front of them suddenly did a U-Turn and the bike had to slide underneath the car. The passenger, little Breann, died. While this sounds horrific and makes you wonder what the HELL a toddler was doing on the back of a Harley -- apparently it is not necessarily illegal.
Reportedly, the person who did the U-Turn (which was apparently also not illegal) was riding in a tractor-trailer. When the motorbike rammed underneath the truck, it became stuck. Witnesses said that the driver kept driving with the bike underneath it, unaware that he was dragging the little girl and the adult driver.
Finally, witnesses' screams made him stop. According to a woman who checked the little girl's pulse, Eric Henderson, the man riding the motorcycle, who is a Marine and dating Breann's mother, kept saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. Breathe, baby."
But it was tragically too late. Investigators said it's unclear if Henderson will be charged in the accident -- it will all depend if the girl, who was wearing a helmet, met the legal requirements to be riding on the back of a bike.
According to California law, a child can ride on the back of a motorcycle if he or she is no longer required to be in a car seat and the child's feet can reach the passenger foot pegs. That law was recently modified in January to require that child restraints be used in children up to 8 years old or until the child reaches 4 feet, 9 inches.
Even if she met the requirements -- I can say definitively this is something I would never let a toddler do. I doubt I'd let a teen do it.
While traveling in India a few years ago, I saw that toddlers on motorcycles were a norm. In fact, so were babies. But I honestly had no idea this was going on here too. And I won't soon forget the vision of my mom crashing her moped when I was a kid -- with my young sister strapped into a seat on the back. (Both were okay.)
But Breann's dad, Thomas Creer, also a Marine, told a local TV station that he doesn't blame Eric Henderson, saying: "I don't think he would do anything intentionally to put her in harm's way at all."
No doubt it wasn't intentional. No doubt Henderson is devastated. It's tragic. Just not the choice I personally would have made.
But many others disagree -- check out the comments section on one of the media reports. Motorcycle fans are out in full force defending their right to bring tots on bikes.
Would you let your kid ride a motorcycle?
Image via NBC