Riding Safely With A Passenger

Lauren A

Riding a motorcycle is thrilling for beginners and regular riders. Whether you’re riding alone or in a group, it’s a unique way to soak up the summer sun, with a breeze rushing through your hair. However, sharing your ride with a passenger really does double the thrill and adds another dimension to your journey.

It is the longer journeys where you’ll really notice the difference of having a passenger and you’ll be seriously glad of the company. Although having a passenger will make your ride much more fun and thrilling, there are some additional rules that both you and your passenger need to be aware of.

Riding safely with a passenger

Legal duty

In order to ride safely with a passenger you need to be qualified to do so. If you’re not qualified then it’s not legal and you could both get into trouble if caught. If you only hold a learner’s licence for example, it’s illegal for you to travel with another person on your bike.

Although riding with a passenger can be much more fun, make sure you’re licenced to have someone on the back of your bike, because if you get caught, your summers will be much more boring from now on.

You should also be aware that there are certain rules for carrying children as passengers too. In the UK, although there is no minimum age limit, the child must be able to reach the foot rest and must wear an approved helmet at all times.

Although there are no legal rules about your capability as a rider – other than the fact that you should hold a full licence – before you take a passenger on board, you should make sure you feel completely comfortable riding yourself before allowing anyone else to ride with you.

Communication and trust

As soon as someone’s travelling with you as a passenger you’re responsible for them and their safety. In order to ensure your journey ends well it’s essential to trust the person you’re carrying as a passenger and that they trust you completely too – after all, it’s both of your safety that’s at stake.

Although communication is important on-board a motorcycle, it’s important not to chat away continuously as this could distract your attention from the road. However, you should listen to your passenger; if they ask you to slow down or to drive less aggressively then bear that in mind. If you ignore their concerns then they could become scared, jeopardising the safety of both of you.

Condition of your bike

Before you set off on any journey on your motorcycle it’s essential to check it’s condition – especially if you haven’t used it for a while – but this becomes even more important when you’re carrying a passenger, because you’re responsible for their safety too.

If you don’t have a passenger seat, or you’re riding a sports bike, then you shouldn’t be taking a passenger. If there’s no designated passenger seat then the bike is clearly only intended for one person and if you’re riding a sports bike then it’ll be extremely uncomfortable for a passenger, especially on long journeys.

Suitable attire

It’s not only you who needs to be suited and booted in riding gear for safety, your passenger should have appropriate clothing too, including a helmet.

You should never scrimp when it comes to cycling gear; always make sure you buy your boots, jacket, gloves, helmet and all other equipment from reputable brands and are the exact size and fit for your body because wearing unsuitable protection can be just as bad, if not worse than, not wearing any protective clothing at all.

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