Riding a motorcycle requires an incredible amount of skill and control. It becomes even more challenging when you ride with a passenger, as the dynamics you’ve become accustomed to as a solo rider change considerably. Not only are you responsible for your own safety, you are responsible for your passenger’s safety as well. It’s a responsibility that should be left to the experienced motorcyclist. In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we’re asking motorcyclists to keep these important points in mind when taking to the streets with a passenger in tow.
When significant weight of any kind is added to a motorcycle, it changes the way the motorcycle handles. Turning requires additional effort, acceleration slows, and more distance is needed to complete a stop. Accelerating, breaking, or taking a corner too quickly with a passenger on board could be fatal.
The passenger also has an incredible amount of responsibility when riding. They must always stay aware of their surroundings and pay close attention to approaching turns, signals, and traffic. Always brief your passenger on riding protocol beforehand, such as leaning into turns and preparing for stops and accelerations. Most importantly, a passenger should never make sudden movements. Doing so will affect the motorcyclist’s control and could offset the balance of the bike.
There are also legal considerations when it comes to carrying a passenger. Most states require the rider to have a motorcycle license, not just a learner’s permit. Passengers are also not exempt from helmet laws and should always wear appropriate safety gear. If you have questions or are unsure about the laws in your state, contact your local DMV before putting someone on the back of your motorcycle.
If you are interested in riding with a passenger, invest in a motorcycle safety course and encourage your passenger to join you. Even if they have no interest in learning to operate a motorcycle, attending a course can provide a clear understanding of safety procedures that can make your ride safe and more enjoyable.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident or have questions about motorcycle safety, please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at 800-676-5295.