How You Can Be the Best and Safest Motorcycle Passenger

A motorcycle doesn’t have as many safety features as a car, nor does it shield the driver sufficiently during a crash. Motorcycle deaths are also on the rise by 22%, killing almost 5,000 motorists each year. So it’s important for motorcyclists to exercise caution by wearing a helmet and assessing their surroundings. However, if you’re a motorcycle passenger, you should also do your best to keep yourself and the driver safe.

Here are a few ways you can be the best motorcycle passenger, according to Motorcycle Habit.

Wear a helmet

A motorcycle passenger feeds a baby a bottle of milk in Jakarta on August 9, 2017
Motorcycle driver and passenger | BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images

Most motorcycle fatalities occur because the riders weren’t wearing helmets. Full-face motorcycle helmets provide the most protection, but a regular helmet should at least fit snugly on your head. If you don’t have a helmet, avoid getting on the bike unless the driver has a spare.

You should also avoid riding a motorcycle if it doesn’t have passenger footpegs. Without them, you risk getting your feet caught in the wheels. 

Helmets also keep long hair contained during the ride, which can be a safety hazard for the driver and passenger. It’s also recommended to wear safety gear such as long pants and boots. A thick leather jacket can also give you more protection in an accident.

Don’t wiggle if you’re a motorcycle passenger

Remain as still as possible on the back of the bike so that you don’t distract the driver or make handling the bike more difficult.

Many passengers also experience itching on motorcycle rides, especially if they have poor circulation. This is because the motorcycle’s vibrations stimulate your body’s nerves. Passengers that aren’t familiar with these vibrations might also experience cramps during the drive. 

Even adjusting your seating position for a moment can throw off the driver’s balance and cause an accident. To prevent this, ensure you’re comfortable on the bike before the driver takes off. 

To make the ride smoother, consider buying a gel passenger cushion. If that’s not an option, don’t be afraid to ask the driver to pull over. Adjusting yourself while the motorcycle is stopped is safer than doing it at 50 mph.

Sit close to the driver

The driver is the only barrier between you and getting thrown over the windshield. Though the driver has handlebars to steady themselves, the passenger is left unbalanced. Because of this, you need to sit as close to the driver as possible. 

If you’re both comfortable enough with each other, riding with your arms wrapped around the driver’s waist is even better. Similarly, if that closeness makes you uneasy, you might want to avoid riding as a passenger.

Follow your driver’s movements

Although it might be unnerving, do your best to lean into corners along with the driver. Don’t overdo it, as that can throw off the balance of the bike. You should also brace yourself when you come to a stop so that you don’t alarm the driver. Simply lean back and push your feet lightly on the footpegs.

Motorcycle passengers should use hand signals with drivers

It can be hard for a motorcycle passenger and driver to hear each other because of the motorcycle’s roar, road noise, and insulated helmets. Coordinating hand signals beforehand can help you communicate better between yourselves and other drivers in case of an emergency. You can also use hand signals to help guide the driver if they get lost.

Having a passenger is a good way to keep the driver accountable and safer on a motorcycle. Still, drivers might get nervous with an inexperienced guest on board. Knowing the risks before you get on the bike will set the driver’s mind at ease and help prevent a motorcycle accident.

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