Editor's note: New editions of the "Ask the Trooper" column are on hiatus by the Minnesota State Patrol. Following are questions and answers from previous columns in the Perham Focus archives.

Question: My wife and I love to ride our Honda 1800 Gold Wing trike. Can our granddaughter ride between us on short rides? She is 7 and loves to ride too.

Answer: In looking at motorcycle owner manuals, it says, "Your motorcycle is designed to carry you and one passenger." Based on that and the following additional rules, it is illegal and unsafe to take your granddaughter along for a ride.

When it comes to motorcycle operation:

  • A motorcyclist may only ride on a permanent seat. Passengers may ride on a passenger seat or in a sidecar.
  • Passengers under the age 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Passengers must be able to reach both footrests while seated in the passenger seat.
  • Operators and passengers must face forward with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.
  • The operator of a motorcycle is prohibited from carrying passengers in a number in excess of the designed capacity of the motorcycle or sidecar attached to it.

For additional safety tips for riding with a passenger, visit motorcyclesafety.org.

Casual trucking

Question: Can a person drive a semi barefoot?

Answer: Yes, a person can drive a passenger vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle barefoot.

There is some footwear that could actually make it difficult for drivers to safely operate a vehicle gas/brake/clutch pedal. When operating a motorcycle or moped, prudent footwear would be the smartest and safest option.