Local father fights for change after son injured in motorcycle accident

"You're subjecting your child to dangerous possibilities."

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a young boy was critically injured in a motorcycle crash, his father now wants to try to change the law to prevent another tragedy.

It’s the phone call a parent never wants to receive.

“They had informed me that they’re performing life-saving surgery on my son,” Michael Barone said.

James Barone
James Barone

Barone’s 12-year-old son James was riding on the back of a motorcycle on Saturday in Athens. The bike struck an oncoming vehicle, according to the New York State Police at Catskill.

The driver, 32-year-old Corey Hoag, died. James was airlifted to Albany Medical Center.

“He had a splenectomy,” Barone said. “There is a third of his kidney that is no longer functional. He sustained a collapsed lung due to impact. He was on a ventilator for a day and a half until they removed that.”

Barone said he wasn’t aware his son was going to be riding a motorcycle that day.

“It’s something my son is going to have to live with the rest of his life,” he said.

Now, Barone wants to make sure no one else has to endure what his family has gone through.

“You have to drive it a certain way,” Barone said. “You have to lean into turns. You have to, you know, does a child know how to do that?”

Barone wants to institute a state law that puts an age limit on children riding on the back of motorcycles.

“There needs to be laws,” he said. “At least 16 to be able to ride on the back of a motorbike.”

Only a few states have age limits for children riding on the back of motorcycles. New York isn’t one of them. There is currently a bill in the state senate regarding age limit.

“No child less than six years old being on the back of a motorcycle,” Assemblyman John McDonald said.

McDonald doesn’t know if the bill would have the impact many are looking for, but he believes it could spark an important discussion.

“I don’t know if age is really the best definition,” he said. “It might be size of the individual, height, weight, ability.”

Authorities are still investigating what caused the accident. Barone said James will hopefully move out of the Intensive Care Unit on Friday, but he will still have a lengthy recovery.

James Barone’s mother, Shasta Carver says she gave James permission to ride on the motorcycle and felt that the driver was an experienced driver. She also says her son is an experienced rider. Carver says she does not believe an age limit is the answer to a tragic accident like the one that killed Corey Hoag and severely injured her son. She believes other safety precautions could help but does not believe an age limit is the answer. Carver says James is going to be moved out of the intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center very soon.

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