Riding Your Motorcycle With a Passenger


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Riding Your Motorcycle With a Passenger

Now that you’ve got your motorcycle drivers license, bought yourself a great motorcycle and are at last “mobile”, you might be tempted to give a lift to all and sundry of your mates. Whilst this may be very noble and sociable of you, there are some things which you need to take into account before you can safely ride your motorcycle with a passenger. It changes things quite considerably.

The Legal Side of Things

There are laws about this sort of thing you know, and it’s important that you know all state laws and stick to them. Incidentally, some states have a minimum age limit where you can legally carry a child on your motorcycle. The decision (after any legal considerations have been taken into account) is down to the child’s parent or legal guardian. Basically, if you want to carry a child on your motorcycle the child must:

  • be sufficiently mature to handle the responsibility
  • be sufficiently tall to reach the footrests
  • wear the correct protective gear – properly fitting helmet etc
  • hold onto the driver or the motorcycle hand holds

Check the specific laws in your state before you give a lift to any child on your motorcycle.

Riding Your Motorcycle With a Passenger

You do need to also take into account the following, while you are actually riding your motorcycle:

  • the extra weight of the passenger can affect the balance and handling of the motorcycle (the heavier the passenger, the greater the affect)
  • if you have to stop quickly, the passenger may slide forward and bump your head with theirs – don’t worry, you’ll have a helmet on, but be prepared for it
  • you might need a little more throttle and finesse with the clutch to get going
  • your braking procedure could also be affected – you might need to brake a little sooner and stronger than when you are traveling alone
  • the extra weight over the rear tire, however, might increase it’s stopping power, especially in an emergency stop situation
  • you’ll need a greater braking distance when driving down hills, compared to on the flat
  • the extra weight will affect the handling of the motorcycle on corners and curves
  • effects of side winds might be a little more pronounced – there’s more for it to hit

Is Your Motorcycle Up to the Task

  • you must have a motorcycle which was designed to carry an extra passenger – a motorcycle made for two – ahh
  • read your manual for any tips about how to set up your motorcycle to carry two
  • you might need to adjust your tire pressures and/or suspension
  • don’t exceed the recommended weight limits for your particular model of motorcycle

Is Your Passenger Up to the Task

  • your passenger must be tall enough (or have legs long enough) to reach the footrests, and be mature enough to understand the responsibilities
  • passengers should wear the same protective gear as the rider (not matching you understand, just equally protective)
  • passengers should accept some of the responsibility for the operation of the motorcycle, after all, their actions can have a direct affect on it

Things to be Taken into Consideration

  • do you have the necessary experience and skill to be responsible for carrying a passenger
  • practice riding your motorcycle away from the traffic, clutch and throttle control, braking etc with a passenger on board
  • be extremely careful when cornering etc, remember, you’re not the only one at risk here
  • drive more slowly, especially until the passenger has mastered a few riding techniques
  • Follow simple safety procedures (see below)
  • remember that you’ll need more time for passing
  • be prepared for that extra gust of wind
  • don’t go so fast that you need to use extreme leaning angles
  • start the motorcycle before the passenger hops on board
  • take the motorcycle off the stand before the passenger hops on board – brace yourself for it!!!
  • always let your passenger dismount first

Passenger Safety Procedures

  • always wear the right protective gear
  • hold on tight to the drivers waist or hips, or alternatively the hand holds on the motorcycle (if you’re not such good friends!)
  • always keep your feet on the footrests, even when the motorcycle stops
  • don’t put your hands or feet close to hot or moving parts
  • look over the drivers shoulder, in the direction of the corner, when you are going round a corner
  • don’t make any sudden moves or turns which might affect the handling of the motorcycle


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