If you have the opportunity to ride as a passenger on a friend’s motorcycle, it is important that you make yourself aware of some key pieces of passenger etiquette. Following the proper protocols will keep you, the driver and everyone else on the road safe.
Here are a few motorcycle passenger tips for you to consider before your next ride:
- Wear safety gear: Riding a motorcycle comes with some inherent dangers, including the lack of seatbelt and general lack of protection that comes with riding in a passenger car. Just as motorcycle operators are strongly encouraged to wear protective gear while on the bike, so too are passengers. If you’re going to be routinely riding as a passenger, you should purchase your own protective gear to wear so it fits you properly rather than relying on extra gear your friend has that may or may not be a good fit.
- Plan for conditions: Certain weather conditions make it challenging for motorcyclists to navigate the road by themselves, let alone with passengers. Check the forecast before you head out, and consider staying behind if there will be strong wind, extreme temperatures or precipitation.
- Develop a language: You likely won’t be able to hear what each other are saying once you get up to high speeds, so it’s important to have a language of your own in place before you go that consists of hand signals or touches. You should have a way to signal when you want to speed up, slow down, stop or pull off at the next available exit. You might be able to communicate via Bluetooth devices, but it’s still important to have these signals in place as a backup.
- Stabilize yourself safely: You shouldn’t keep your arms wrapped around the driver while you’re on the bike; this results in you transferring your weight to them, which could affect their ability to safely control the bike. Instead, you should put your hands on the tank, especially when slowing down or coming to a stop. If you’re not able to reach the tank, you can place your arms around their waist, but absolutely do not hang around the shoulders. Use the foot pegs to keep your weight properly distributed on the bike.
- Know how to get on the bike: Once the rider is stable and has both feet on the ground, you can start to climb on. The rider should engage the brake. Pop out the foot pegs, and step on the nearest foot peg first; then swing your leg on to the other side. It’s very similar to mounting a horse, just much lower to the ground. Don’t get off the bike until the rider tells you it’s okay to do so.
- Careful on turns: Just because the rider is leaning into turns doesn’t mean you should too. This could make it difficult for them to maintain control of the bike. While you’ll naturally lean at least a little bit, you shouldn’t have to lean any further beyond that.
For more information about being a motorcycle passenger in a safe manner, contact us at Escape Eagles.