Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle knows that it can be exhilarating and fun. And there are times when a biker may want to travel with a passenger. Riding with a passenger can be a great experience for both the driver and the passenger, but it is important that the proper preparations are made to ensure your safety.
The most important thing to remember when considering riding with a passenger is that both of you must be comfortable. You should be an experienced motorcyclist and comfortable with your skills and your bike before adding a passenger to the mix. If your riding companion is scared or nervous, it can make a big difference in the way they react, which can affect the bike’s handling. The passenger must be able to relax and work with the driver. The passenger should also be alert and act as another set of eyes and ears out on the road. The first step in making a passenger feel comfortable is a prepared driver.
Start by making sure your bike is capable of carrying two people. You may need to adjust your suspension to accommodate the extra weight, so check your owner’s manual before heading out. Be sure you have a seat that can comfortably accommodate two. In addition, talk to your passenger about what their responsibilities are out on the road. Don’t assume they know.
- Protective Gear – Make sure your passenger knows that they need to wear a helmet, jacket, gloves, boots and long pants if they are going to be riding with you. The proper attire can help reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
- Mounting – Explain to your passenger that the rider mounts first, gets the bike pointed in the right direction and has the bike completely under control before the passenger mounts. The passenger should always mount and dismount the bike from the left side by first putting a foot on the peg and then swinging the other leg over the seat. They should try to keep their weight as evenly distributed as possible.
- Feet on the Pegs – Once on the bike, it’s important that the passenger keep both feet on the pegs at all times, unless the driver indicates otherwise. If the rider takes their feet off the pegs, it can throw off the distribution of weight and cause the bike to tip. In some states, the law requires foot pegs for passengers, so make sure you know what the guidelines in your state are before you head out.
During the Ride
- Practice – Let your passenger know that their added weight can cause the bike to handle differently. Find a large parking lot or a straight section of road and take the time to practice braking and stopping so both you and your passenger can get used to the feel of it.
- Braking – Weight distribution will change as the bike comes to a stop. The quicker the braking, the more sudden the change in weight distribution. As you come to a stop, your passenger will automatically lurch forward. To minimize the effects of the shift in weight, make sure your passenger keeps their feet on the foot pegs and holds on to the driver around the waist, at the hips or by the belt. As the driver, you should leave plenty of time for braking to avoid abrupt stops.
- Leaning – Instruct your passenger to lean with the bike while turning or around corners. They should lean gently and avoid sudden movements. The passenger should hold on to the driver and move with the movement of the bike and driver. If your passenger has never ridden a cycle before, you should not take any high-speed turns until they understanding leaning and can do it properly.
- Turning – When turning, it is important that the passenger move with the driver and help maintain the stability of the bike. Again, this is best accomplished by having the passenger hold on to the driver, counterbalance to keep the weight evenly distributed and avoid any abrupt movements.
- Stop Often – Be sure that both you and your passenger have ample opportunity to get off the bike, stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery. It will help keep both of you alert and make he ride more enjoyable.
Riding with a passenger can be safe and fun if you provide these tips to your passenger, talk through their responsibilities and yours, and practice until you’re both comfortable before heading out on the road. If your passenger moves in synch with the bike and the driver, maintains evenly centered weight distribution, holds on to the driver and is relaxed and comfortable, you can have a great time riding. But remember, it all starts with a prepared driver who is confident and in control.
Before heading out on the road, alone or with a companion, you should also make sure you have the right insurance policy to protect you from the unexpected. The companies of the Foremost Insurance Group have been providing specialty insurance programs for over 50 years and they have the experience and expertise to offer a superior motorcycle insurance policy. A Foremost policy offers things like Safety Apparel Coverage, Optional Equipment Coverage, Towing and Roadside Assistance including Trip Interruption Coverage, flexible payment plans and money-saving discounts. Foremost has specially-trained claims representatives that handle only motorcycle and off-road vehicle claims – it’s not just one of the things they do, it’s all they do. We have the experience and expertise to handle claims quickly and fairly.
For more information about a specialized Motorcycle insurance policy from Foremost, call (877) 275-2201 or visit www.asjinsurance.com. Foremost can offer with the Motorcycle program or any of our other specialized programs for off-road vehicles, mobile homes, motor homes, travel trailers, personal watercraft and boats!