A Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Passenger Safety
Are you new to carrying or riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle? Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of motorcycle passenger safety tips and etiquette for beginners.
Preparation for Motorcycle Drivers
Before you ride, know the laws. First, make sure whoever is driving the motorcycle is following all state laws and requirements for motorcycle drivers. That includes having the right affordable motorcycle insurance and checking your state’s laws about equipment requirements and the minimum age of the passenger.
Read the owner’s manual. See if there are any tips from the manufacturer about how to set up and operate the bike with a passenger on board, as well as if there are any weight limitations.
Check the bike’s equipment. Your motorcycle should have the necessary equipment, including a passenger seat and footpegs.
Have extra safety gear on hand. Just like drivers, passengers should always wear a motorcycle helmet.
Do a practice run. Take a few practice laps with the passenger around an empty parking lot or around the block before hitting the road. Still not comfortable driving a motorcycle? Consider waiting a while before taking a passenger out with you. Driving with a passenger can take a little extra finesse, so you should be very confident in your ability to handle the bike with the added weight and independent movement.
Watch out for…
Changes in braking. You may need to brake sooner and more forcefully, thanks to the extra weight over the rear tire.
Speed and maneuvering. Riding solo may allow for high speeds and extreme lean angles, but don’t risk it with a passenger on board.
Effects of wind. Because of the extra bulk of a passenger, the way the wind hits the bike differently may affect its handling.
Passing safety. More time and space may be needed while passing another vehicle.
Passenger helmet. When you brake, a passenger may “bump” your helmet with theirs.
Preparation for Motorcycle Passengers
Before you ride, ask questions. If you have questions for the driver, don’t hesitate to ask so you can be fully prepared to ride safely.
Get used to the bike. When you go on a test run with the driver, note how the bike handles when braking and accelerating, and how you react to its movement.
While you’re riding…
Pay attention to your hands and feet. Always keep your feet on the footpegs. You can either keep a firm grip on the passenger handholds, or you can hold the driver by the waist or hips, taking care not to interfere with the driver. And be sure to keep both hands and feet away from hot or moving parts!
Lean into the turn. Lean in the direction the motorcycle is turning. The rule of thumb is to look over the driver’s shoulder in the direction of the turn to make sure you both keep balance on the motorcycle.
Dismount first. When you reach your destination, you should dismount before the driver.
Be responsible. The most important thing to remember as a motorcycle passenger is that you share responsibility with the driver when it comes to ensuring a safe ride. Learn more about motorcycle passenger safety from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
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