Common Tread

Mother fights back after being shamed on Facebook for letting daughter ride

Apr 28, 2016

A Texas mother who was shamed on Facebook for letting her 7-year-old daughter ride home from school on the back of her boyfriend's BMW is fighting back.

Mallory Torres of Corpus Christi got caught in the social media storm after someone posted a photo on a motorcycle-related Facebook page of her daughter riding behind her boyfriend, John Hays. Some said she was endangering her daughter. Some called them both bad parents.

Torres didn't wilt under the pressure. She defended herself and her decision on Facebook and in TV appearances, noting that the girl was old enough to ride legally, was wearing a helmet and a protective vest and gloves. She also pointed out that plenty of parents let their children play sports, which also raises the possibility of injury, without being called bad parents. Since then, tens of thousands of people have weighed in on social media, some critical, most of them defending Torres and Hays.

Torres and Hays are trying to make something positive of the experience by organizing a ride next month for riders and their children.

In Texas, the minimum age for riding a motorcycle on the street as a passenger is 5. Other states have different minimum ages. Many experts say the decision should not be based solely on age, but on the child's ability to understand how to hold on and be safe, and legs long enough to keep his or her feet on the footpegs for security. What are your thoughts on small children riding on the street?