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5 Dangerous Things Motorcycle Passengers Should Never Do

couple holding motorcycle helmetsBeing a motorcycle passenger can be a thrilling experience for the uninitiated, but it’s much more challenging than it looks. As a back-seat rider, you have significant influence on the dynamics of the motorcycle, affecting how it handles, turns and stops. The enjoyment and safety of the experience will hinge largely upon how well prepared you, the passenger, are before getting onto the bike.

Of primary importance is ensuring the motorcycle operator is experienced and has driven with passengers before. Equally crucial is wearing appropriate gear, which can ultimately save your life in the event of a crash. This includes durable clothing and gloves (preferably leather), boots that protect your ankles, protective eyewear and a properly fitted helmet with face shield. Every year in California, dozens of motorcyclists and their passengers are fatally injured in accidents. A large number of these deaths could be prevented with safety helmet use.

Make sure that the motorcycle foot pegs are folded down before mounting the bike, and be careful of exhaust pipes which heat up and can cause serious burns. Once mounted, keep your feet securely on the foot pegs the entire time.

How to be a good motorcycle passenger

Follow these rules when riding passenger:

  • Hold tightly onto the operator’s waist or passenger handle bars if available
  • Keep feet on passenger foot pegs at all times
  • Keep feet, legs and hands away from moving parts
  • Keep your body loose and neutral when taking corners and turns
  • When taking a corner, look over the driver’s inside shoulder in the same direction
  • When riding over a road obstacle, lift your body slightly off the seat
  • Pay attention to the road and be prepared for acceleration, stops and turns
  • Communicate – set up a system of hand signals or taps that let the driver know if you need to stop

Things to avoid while riding passenger

You can also be a good and safe passenger by avoiding the following actions, which can place both you and the operator at risk for a tip over or crash.

  1. Never hang on to the motorcycle operator’s arms, which can affect driving abilities.
  2. Do not make sudden, lurching movements that shift weight on the bike and can result in loss of balance
  3. Never lean out of a corner or turn, which can cause an accident. Remember to keep your body neutral (akin to a sack of potatoes).
  4. Do not slide forward during braking, as this moves weight distribution and can affect handling. Try and anticipate stops and maintain a stable position in the seat.
  5. When stopped, never try to help the rider hold the bike upright; keep your feet planted on the foot rests and away from the motor 

The ideal passenger becomes an extension of the bike, having little effect on the weight, stability or handling. With experience, passengers will become more intuitive of what is needed, and more comfortable riding back seat.

California motorcycle accident lawyers

Of course, there will always be hazards like inclement weather, potholes, gravel and negligent drivers. In order to file a claim for damages following a crash, it’s important to work with a qualified attorney who is a veteran negotiator and has ample trial experience.

For more than two decades, Ellis Law has advocated for injured motorcyclists and their families, helping them recover fair compensation for their losses, pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles trusts by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Resources on “Motorcycle Passenger Safety”:

  1. Cruiser, How to Be a Motorcycle Passenger http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/how-to-be-motorcycle-passenger
  2. OppositeLock, How to be a good motorcycle passenger http://oppositelock.kinja.com/how-to-be-a-good-motorcycle-passenger-1649514524
  3. HighPoint, Quick Tips for Motorcycle Passengers http://highpointchurch.us/uploads/Quick%20Tips%20for%20Motocycle%20Passengers.pdf