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You’ve gotten a hold on maneuvering your bike along backroads and highways and have a solid understanding of all safety rules. So, you think you can take along a passenger – maybe a friend, family member or significant other wanting to experience the same exhilaration of life on two wheels.

Yet, unless you’re prepared, you could be in for a surprise. Having another person on the back significantly alters how you handle the bike, as well as how it accelerates and brakes. Additionally, your passenger needs to understand his or her role. Being a motorcycle passenger is far more active than the passive experience in a car. Before you hit the road, consider the following points.

1. Equip Your Bike

Motorcycles with passengersNot all motorcycles are designed for a second passenger and, in many cases, need to meet specific state requirements. Generally, such bikes have footrests, and whoever is riding on the back needs to be able to reach them. As a result, it can be a bad idea to have a young teen come along for a ride.

Additionally, make sure your bike’s suspension and tire pressure are both adjusted to suit the greater load. Check your owner’s manual to ensure that two adult-sized passengers will not exceed the bike’s specific weight limitations.

2. Age, Size and Protection

Generally, whoever rides on your bike needs to be mature enough to be an active passenger, tall enough to reach the footrests and ready to wear full protective gear. First, as the rider, check your state laws about minimum passenger age limits. Then, speak with your passenger about proper safety gear.

For instance, pants and a jacket made of heavier material, rather than a T-shirt and shorts, as well as bright colors and reflective strips. Additionally, brief them on how and where to hold – onto you or the hand-holds at the back – and how to move once you’re on the road.

3. Prepare for Changes

How is having a passenger on the back of your bike different and what should you keep in mind?

  • Be ready for the extra weight and independent motion.
  • His or her helmet may bump with yours at stops.
  • More skill is required to operate the clutch and you may need to brake sooner and harder, especially when you’re going down an incline.
  • Because of greater weight over the back tire, the rear brake may not be as effective, especially when you need to stop quickly.
  • The extra weight makes going around corners a bit trickier.
  • Allow yourself more time and space to pass.

4. Being a Prepared Passenger

If you’re the passenger, the rider should fully prepare you before you both go out on the road. Basic topics include:

  • Safety Procedures: Protective gear is mandatory, always have a solid grip on the rider or hand-hold and firmly keep your feet on the footrests, especially when you’re going over a bump. Always stay away from hot or moving parts and never turn around or make sudden moves while the bike is in motion. Furthermore, when you’re going around a corner, look over the operator’s shoulder in the curve’s direction.
  • Mounting: Only get on the bike when the stand is raised and the motorcycle is firmly in place. Once the rider has gotten on and adjusted, then get on yourself. When the ride is over, you should be the first to get off – but only when the rider says you can. Otherwise, doing so suddenly shifts the weight to the bike’s front, which can cause it to fall over.
  • Leaning: As you’ll notice, the rider leans with the turn and you should too. Otherwise, over-leaning, leaning in the opposite direction or not leaning at all may make the bike more difficult to control. Look over the rider’s shoulder and only lean as far as he or she does.

When you’re riding with a passenger, a collision affects both of you. So, being aware and practicing proper safety procedures are essential. Yet, accidents can happen to the safest riders. To pursue your motorcycle claim, contact Trantolo & Trantolo. Assisting motorcyclists for years, members of our staff also ride and are involved in Connecticut’s motorcycle community. We’re knowledgeable about bike handling and the risks of riding, which we take into account during your case.