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motorcycle safety for passengers

Riding a motorcycle can be twice the fun with a passenger. Of course, carting another person on your bike is very different than carting a suitcase or bag of groceries. It takes heightened awareness, great coordination, and lots of practice. With these useful tips, you'll be riding safer as a pair in no time.

Riding a motorcycle with a passenger: the basics

Whether you're a seasoned biker in search of a new way to ride, or just looking for something to do with that extra helmet lying around your garage, it's important to take precautions before adding a passenger behind you.

Motorcycle safety course

If you want to carry passengers on your motorcycle, it's a smart idea to invest in a motorcycle safety course, like the one offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. It's also important to first spend some time practicing your buddy-system skills in a low-traffic (and low risk!) area before carrying human cargo on busy roads or highways.

Legal considerations

Most states require you to have a full motorcycle license before taking on a passenger. A motorcycle learners permit, on the other hand, doesn't typically allow for passengers.

Always follow your state's DMV regulations for riding with someone on the back of your bike. Check out your state's official government site or contact your local drivers license office with any questions you might have.

Prepping your bike

If you want to carry a passenger, your ride needs to at least have a seat big enough for 2 and extra foot pegs (and of course, an extra helmet). Depending on your state's regulations, you might be required to have extra footrests and a separate seating area altogether. Remember, unless you're sure your bike is outfitted with the right gear, don't risk putting anyone else on it.

Your owner's manual can tell you more about weight limitations, basic equipment needs, recommended tire pressure, and other pertinent adjustments for that second person.

Motorcycle safety: if you're the rider

A passenger's extra weight will significantly impact the way you handle your bike, and the way your bike handles the road. Even if you're a riding pro, it helps to take these passenger-friendly pointers to heart:

  • Avoid riding at extreme speeds — keep in mind that going too slow can result in falling off your bike just as easily as going too fast.
  • Give yourself extra time and space for passing, turning, and braking.
  • Remember that the extra weight will increase the stopping power of your rear brake.
  • Use more throttle when starting from a stop.
  • Start your motorcycle before passengers mount the bike. The stand should be raised and the motorcycle should be securely braced before your buddy gets on.

Motorcycle safety: if you're the passenger

Having a rider who's a pro doesn't mean all the work is done for you. You've got be a pro passenger, too. Here are some useful motorcycle passenger tips you should follow:

  • Make sure you're tall enough to reach the footrests. If not, sadly, it's up to you to speak up and sit out the ride (or spontaneously grow another inch or 2, if you have the energy).
  • Keep your feet on the footrests at all times, not only when the bike's in motion.
  • Keep your legs away from the mufflers — they can get incredibly hot.
  • Avoid any sudden movements that could distract the driver or force the 2 of you to lose control.
  • Remember to hold onto the driver's waist or the bike's passenger handholds. The more secure your grip, the better.

Motorcycle insurance through Esurance

No matter how many precautions you take when riding with passengers, accidents can still happen. That's why having motorcycle insurance is so important.

With coverage through Esurance, you get liability protection, comprehensive and collision coverage, medical payments coverage, and more to keep you and your passengers feeling secure.

Grab your free motorcycle insurance quote today to get started.

Related links

Does the 3-second rule still apply?
Find out whether the safest stopping time is really 3 seconds.

Motorcycle theft: are you at risk?
Get the stolen bike stats for 2012.

This page is intended to provide you with general information about motorcycle insurance, and to help you understand the various kinds of coverage. It does not describe or refer to any specific policy or coverage. For information about your particular coverages, including limitations and exclusions, we encourage you to read your policy contract and consult your insurance representative with any questions.

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