So, your friend found out that you have a motorcycle and they’ve been begging you to take them out for a ride – sounds fun! Whether they are an experienced passenger, fellow rider or have never been on a bike before, it is extremely important to remember that you have someone else’s life in your hands. Before handing over your extra motorcycle helmet, there are a few things you and your riding buddy need to go over to guarantee a stress-free and enjoyable ride.
- Come up with a way for you and your passenger to communicate – either through shoulder taps or hand signals. Passenger rides are fun, and if your fellow traveler needs to stop or feels uncomfortable, you should know.
- Your passenger should have the same level of motorcycle protective gear that you have. If you don’t have extra gear for them, let them know the importance of dressing in the event of a motorcycle accident. Their skin should be covered, they should have a DOT approved helmet, and wear closed toe shoes and gloves.
- It is important that your passenger agrees to only get on and off your motorcycle when you indicate that they can do so. Make sure your bike is upright, with the kickstand up and both of your feet on the ground. You need to be able to take on the extra weight without being thrown off balance.
- Your passenger shouldn’t make any sudden movements while on your ride. The weight alone of a passenger is enough to mess with your center of gravity and your bikes suspension – any unanticipated movement can be very hazardous.
- Many inexperienced passengers will be tempted to lean while you make turns, potentially throwing you off balance and causing a motorcycle crash. Your passenger should sit upright while you make turns and look over your shoulder on the side you are turning.
- Your passenger needs to hold on tight. Their feet should always stay off the ground and on their pegs. If you don’t have passenger hold bars, they should hold onto your waist or better yet, the tank if they can reach it.
Having another person on your bike changes your stopping distance, acceleration and handling. You are responsible for another person’s life, and it is not the time to show off. Listen to your passenger, stay in their comfort zone and enjoy the ride!
It’s A Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.