Terror as bike pillion ride goes wrong

Ruan Plint
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 LUCKY ESCAPE: Make sure you and your children know pillion safety tips when riding, This scuffed boot shows when an incident could have ended badly. Image: Arrive Alive
After a most pleasant Toy Run it was time to head home; we kitted up and headed out. Now my 6-year-old son loves riding pillion and has had many lectures about the correct gear and how to behave on the back of a bike.

We were cruising on the freeway doing around 100km/h as we were happy and in no rush. Our turn off was coming up and I prepared to swing to the correct lane to take the off ramp in the near future.

Suddenly my son shrieked in my ear, I knew it was serious because I was deafened though my helmet and he also had his full-face on. Next he pounded me on my shoulder Stop, Stop, daddy STOP!! Suddenly his body pulled to the left of the bike as if he was getting off.


"Stay on the bike!" I yelled and grabbed him with my left hand.

A quick look and I saw a spot I could safely stop about 100m on, this required manoeuvring through the traffic and bringing the bike safely to a stop without using the clutch hand as I needed to keep him on the bike!

Thanks to skills training we stopped safely, though a bit rattled. The pictures (see also separate story) are a reconstruction of what caused the situation.

A few things to note here: if my son was not bike savvy he might well have panicked and tried to get off the bike. Thankfully in this case he tried his best to communicate his problem to me and stay on the bike. The chain pulling at his foot made this difficult requiring me to have to help.

The hard rubber and leather of his boot prevented the tyre and chain from “Grabbing” his shoe/foot, imagine if he had been wearing takkies or slops?

I had to convince him to remount once free so we could get to a pharmacy to get medication and first-aid stuff, as our kit was not with us this time (a mistake I will not make again). Again here I am grateful for our first-aid training as I knew exactly what was needed and what to do.

Once patched up we were fortunate to have a Good Samaritan with a car who helped to get him to a nearby hospital.

So, having seen the boot, I know you'r imagining how bad his injuries were. Answer: a big blister and some scuffed skin.

Text and images courtesy of Arrive Arrive and Ruan Plint.

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