Keeping a Passenger Safe on Your Motorcycle

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: January 11, 2021

Taking a passenger along on the back of your motorcycle is a convenient way to transport two people and can add to the fun of your trip, but it isn’t always a good idea. Some bikes aren’t designed for passengers, and riding with a passenger is significantly more challenging than riding on your own. Make sure you know what you are doing before you attempt it yourself, or you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Ensure Your Bike is up to the Task

Some motorcycles just aren’t designed to hold another passenger. To do so safely the seat must be long enough for another rider, and there should be another set of footrests for the rider to use while traveling around. Some bikes simply aren’t rugged enough to handle the additional weight of another passenger.

Before you ride with a passenger, it’s vital that you make sure your motorcycle is set up to handle this added strain. Take the time to go over the bike and to look at your manual to be sure it’s made for this purpose. Also obtain a second helmet for the passenger to make use of on the ride because it’s never a good idea to ride without a helmet.

Inform Your Passenger

Not every passenger has been on the back of a motorcycle before. Unless you know that the passenger is experienced with motorcycles, take the time to inform them of important safety considerations.

As long as you inform your rider of these things, you’ll know that they are prepared for the ride and can do their part in keeping both of you safe.

Know the Laws

In many states, a motorcycle permit does not allow you to carry any passengers on a motorcycle. This means that you’ll have to go for your full license to legally carry another passenger. There are also age limitations in some areas that require children to be a certain age before they are allowed to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Make sure you know the local laws so you can avoid making these common mistakes.

Drive Safely with a Passenger

While carrying a passenger you have to realize that the motorcycle is going to handle differently and compensate accordingly. You’ll have to brake sooner and turn more cautiously because of the added weight. Always start the motorcycle before the passenger hops on the back, and make sure you’re ready to counter any additional crosswinds.

Riding a motorcycle with a passenger can be a lot of fun, and a good way to travel with another person, but it’s not something that an inexperienced driver should do. Familiarize yourself slowly and build your skills over time to make sure you are up to the task. There are even safety courses that will teach you how to handle having a rider onboard to help you become more confident and safe when you take a buddy along.