At least she was wearing a helmet.
A Texas couple is taking a lot of heat after a photo of their 7-year-old daughter riding on the back of a motorcycle went viral – sparking death threats and questions about their parenting skills.
John Hays, whose girlfriend Mallory Torres has two daughters, said that he decided to surprise the 7-year-old by picking her up from school on his motorcycle. The young girl was wearing full riding gear, including a helmet and motorcycle gloves.
“It made her day and all her little friends were talking about, we thought nothing of it,” Hays told mySanAntonio.com.
When a photo taken by one Torres’ friends was posted on Facebook, Hays said that at first the response was positive. Then it quickly turned ugly.
“[T]hings got ridiculous,” Hays said. “People saying I should be killed, I should be thrown in jail, Mallory is a horrible mother.”
The viral backlash prompted Torres to take to social media herself to defend Hays and herself and make it clear that she thought “[her daughter] did great and could handle it again.”
“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,” Torres said on Facebook. “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.”
She added: “If you want to keep your child in a bubble, by all means go for it. If you wouldn’t allow your child on the back of a motorcycle, then don’t, that’s your choice as a parent and I support you. But do not call us bad parents because we don’t lock our kids in the bedroom with iPads and cell phones. Don’t call us bad parents for allowing our children to experience LIVING.”
Questions of good parenting aside, it appears that there was nothing illegal with allowing the 7-year-old from taking a spin on the back of a motorcycle.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, a passenger must be “at least five years old” and wear a helmet to ride on a motorcycle.