It’s sometimes more fun to ride with someone than by yourself, we at AMERiders love riding a Motorcycle with A Passenger and offer up some safety tips to help make the ride safe and enjoyable for the both of you. Riding a motorcycle solo requires balance and control. Riding a motorcycle with a passenger means you’ll master those skills. Generally, as a woman rider, your passenger’s weight will more than likely be greater than your own. If you’re already operating a heavier motorcycle such as the Harley-Davidson CVO Streetglide, you’ll need to be entirely confident in your abilities before taking a passenger. However, giving friends and family members rides on your motorcycle can be rewarding and fun as well. Some motorcycles such as sportbikes are not comfortable or designed well to carry passengers. And many motorcyclists simply never bother to develop the good skills needed to host a passenger.
Tips to Help You Succeed
First Time Passenger Must be a Motorcycle Rider: It is the best practice to ensure your first passenger is an experienced motorcycle rider. So ask your friend/family member to meet you in a large parking lot (don’t head out on a busy city street with your first time passenger) to help you practice. Your first few miles with a passenger will likely be sloppy as you try to balance the additional weight and inputs at slow speeds. An experienced motorcycle rider as a passenger can anticipate your moves and knows already about the protocol a good passenger makes.
First Step Pre-Ride Passenger Briefing: Before your passenger climbs onto your motorcycle, ensure they understand the importance of the gear you have helped them to acquire if you haven’t already. Gear such as a certified full face helmet (or helmet with visor) which fits; sturdy jacket made of leather; gloves, sturdy pants/ thick jeans; sturdy boots covering the ankle and protective eyewear against the sun. Make sure they are dressed for comfort no matter what conditions you’ll be riding in. Do not take a passenger without this gear – their safety is in your hands every time you ride.
Brief Your Passenger on the Following:
- While they are on your motorcycle, if they want to slow down or stop for any reason, you’ll do so. Devise a signal such as a tap on your right shoulder in the case you might not hear them. As the pilot, you control the bike and your passenger controls you. Explain that you have no intention to frighten them while riding with you but in fact, you want them to have the best experience possible.
- Climbing on or off. Ensure your passenger agrees to the following: They agree to get on and off the bike only at your permission, and only while you are on the bike, and when you say “ready” or give the “ok” nod. The same is practiced when you are ready for them to dismount.
- When riding/under-way …explain that they can talk to you if they want (if you have a communication system instruct its use) but ideally when moving have them pretend to be a sack of potatoes-relaxed. They can move about just not suddenly.
- They need not help you through the turns such as not leaning in anticipation or when you’re in a turn.
- Inform them that you but that no matter what happens while moving, their feet are to stay on the passenger foot pegs (or floorboards) and never try to touch the ground with their feet to try to hold up the motorcycle. Inform them that in an emergency situation and hard braking their weight will come into yours and that is A-OK and normal. You are prepared for that to happen.
- Instruct them to sit close to you and that this is best for the motorcycle too.
- Inform your passenger that a motorcycle leans to turn. If they’re confused about this or often scared, just have them focus their eyes at the center of the back of your helmet. This will keep their body position upright and in line with yours.
- Inform them they can also use their knees to hang on to you by squeezing them/the thighs against yours (if applicable per your motorcycle make/model). Just not too tightly
- Instruct them where to hang on and to hang on at all times to you.
- Inform that they are welcome to wave to oncoming motorcyclists but may not signal.
Your Preparation for the Passenger:
You may have to adjust your motorcycle shocks and your tire pressure for load, the same as you would when carrying cargo. Refer to your motorcycle owner’s manual and make the necessary changes.
Follow These Good Practices :
- Deploy the usually hidden passenger’s footrests/pegs; show the passenger this is where their feet will be positioned.
- Get on your motorcycle and raise the kickstand (if the kickstand is down, when the passenger mounts, their weight will compress the shocks causing the side stand to possibly dig into the ground and/or may push the bike to the right causing upset in balance)
- Do not turn on the motorcycle (added safety) but do have it in neutral.
- Ensure both your feet are on the ground and you have a good grasp on the handlebars.
- Pull on the front brake and keep it applied as the passenger climbs on to ensure the bike doesn’t move or shift.
- Once the passenger is on, check/adjust their sitting position to ensure not too far to the back of the bike; closer to you will optimize your balance/control.
- Once underway, expect that as you slow the motorcycle to a stop, this will be the time the passenger moves around and makes adjustments. This will challenge your slow speed control, skills, and help you to master, them!
Your Job as Passenger Host: Your task isn’t to give your passenger the ‘ride of their life’, it is to be responsible and ensure that your passenger and your motorcycle is as safe and that they feel safe and as pleased as possible with the riding experience.
As rider, your challenges are:
- Ensure your Gear shifts are smooth to the point of the passenger does not even sense the shift has occurred. If their helmet is knocking into the back of yours, you’re not shifting smoothly.
- When you move off from a stop aim for such smoothness that the passenger’s never quite sure that we have started to move. The same for a stop. Smoothness all around.
- Practice in a Parking Lot
The following are the areas for practice and ensure you’re comfortable before you take out your real first-time non-motorcycle experienced passenger.
During the practice you will a likely experience awkward jerky movements including balancing wobbles – don’t sweat it – it’s all part of developing the skill.
-Passenger mounting and dismounting
-Stopping the motorcycle both normal and emergency / quick-stop
-Backing (with the engine off) – important practice required for parking situations.
-Slow speed turns especially right turns.
-Although riding with a passenger can change your solo riding experience, it is something you will truly enjoy sharing with a friend or family member.
Have fun and remember, don’t take a passenger on your motorcycle unless you feel you are absolutely ready.
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders bring you the tips and tricks to riding a Motorcycle with A Passenger.
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