Learning how to ride a motorcycle with a passenger takes time and practice. Your passenger should have the same safety gear and follow all your instructions. You should expect your motorcycle’s performance to be affected and adjust how you accelerate, corner, and brake accordingly. Ultimately, you want to keep your passenger safe, earn their trust, and help them enjoy the experience.
Tips for motorcycle riding with a passenger
Prepare your motorcycle for a passenger
Riding a motorcycle together creates a fun, shared experience. That means preparing for how the ride will differ with a passenger, developing their trust, and communicating clearly. Make sure your motorcycle passenger has all the right motorcycle safety gear. Motorcycle enthusiasts recommend a helmet, gloves, jacket with long sleeves, pants, and shoes or boots that protect the ankles for both the driver and the passenger.
You may need to adjust your suspension and tire pressure, especially if you take your passenger on a longer ride. When riding a motorcycle with a passenger, your motorcycle will be heavier, which means it will also be less responsive and maneuverable. It’s also important to create a communication plan while on the road. Choose several shoulder taps that let your passenger ask you to slow down or stop, for example, and use a thumbs-up or down as needed.
Accelerate smoothly and brake early
With the extra weight, your initial instinct may be to open the throttle more than usual to get moving from a standstill or when accelerating. Too much, though, and the added weight in the back may have you popping an unexpected wheelie. When riding a motorcycle with a passenger, go easy on your acceleration to avoid that situation.
The added weight also means it’ll take longer and require more distance to come to a complete stop. Start braking earlier than you might otherwise to slow down smoothly and safely to prevent your passenger from jerking forward into your back.
Take it easy on your turns
When two people are riding on a motorcycle, make a wider turning radius to keep the bike stable and make it easier for your passenger to keep their center of gravity aligned with yours. That also helps with your steering and control.
Practice mounting and dismounting
When riding a motorcycle with a passenger, motorcyclists usually recommend putting the bike in gear, but with the engine off, as your passenger mounts the bike. Pulling in the front brake lever will also keep the bike steady. Your passenger should understand that they may only get on or off the motorcycle when you say it’s okay, so you’re ready to change the bike’s balance. It helps prevent you from accidentally dropping the bike and injuring yourself or your passenger. If someone knocks over your parked motorcycle, comprehensive or personal liability coverage may help pay for the damage.
Your passenger should get on and off the bike on the left-hand side (whenever possible), usually the side without the muffler. Dismounting on the left side helps protect your passenger from getting burned by a hot muffler.
Is riding a motorcycle with a passenger covered by insurance?
Your motorcycle insurance policy’s medical payments coverage may pay for injuries to your passenger in the event of a covered incident. This coverage applies regardless of who’s at fault in the incident. Learn more about motorcycle insurance and how motorcycle insurance covers passengers.