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How to Be a Good Motorcycle Passenger

motorcycle passenger etiquette

Better Passengers Mean Less Motorcycle Accidents

The next best thing after driving a motorcycle is being a passenger on one. However, before you hop onto the pillion, you should know passenger etiquette. In fact, motorcycle accident lawyers say that many motorcycle accidents involving passengers happen because of the passenger, not the driver. Driving by yourself can be tricky enough, but it becomes much more difficult if there is someone behind you who is rocking the ride.

If you are riding with somebody, make sure you communicate clearly how the driver wants you to behave. Not all motorcycles run the same way, so not all drivers drive the same way. Driving style, speed, and strategy all vary because motorcycles have different demands. You may be used to riding hands-free with a scooter, but this is a big no when riding dual-sport bikes. Whether it is for safety reasons or etiquette, below are some tips for passengers to help make the ride a smooth one.

Leaning on Corners

It is more difficult to drive a motorcycle if there is someone behind you. The vehicle becomes heavier, and it will not turn as easily as it did when the rider was alone. As a passenger, you must lean on the same side the motorcycle is turning. You have to do this to help the driver steer the bike. Some drivers, however, prefer that you stay in a neutral position. It means that you should not lean to the inner side of the curb or against it.

It is equally important not to make any sudden movements when leaning. If you shift your body weight to one side, you will influence where the motorcycle is going. Also, there are times when you might feel uncomfortable when the motorcycle is leaning too low. Your initial reaction is to shift your body to the opposite side, but this will have a counter effect because the driver will have to lean farther to the curb to maintain the turning angle. As a result, you might crash.

READ  3 Dangerous Scenarios for Motorcyclists

Maintaining Etiquette

Though this next step has nothing to do with accidents, drivers will appreciate the gesture. First off, always wait for the rider to tell you that it is time to mount. Drivers have to settle and balance themselves. If you just mount at any given time, the driver may lose his balance, causing both of you will fall. Once they tell you to get on, mount the bike from the left side.

Second, put your feet on the foot pegs and do not move them around. A driver’s feet have to consistently be on guard. Drivers use their feet to shift gears and brake. If your feet cross with his feet, you may interrupt an important action and possibly cause a crash as a result.

Third, keep your hands on the driver’s hips at all times, unless he told you that it is fine to put your hands on his shoulders or behind the motorcycle. It is not safe to wave your hands in the air or put them on your lap. Any sudden jerk or movement of the motorcycle will cause you to panic and lose your balance. It can cause the driver to lose his balance, too, and both of you will fall.

Fourth, bring a helmet if you have one. If you do not have one, the driver can lend you one. Wear it and never tinker with it while riding. Some passengers will take off their helmets while the bike is moving and put them back on. This is irritating to a driver, and it takes his attention off the road.

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Lastly, do not be disruptive. Do not shout. Do not converse with the driver unless it is absolutely necessary. If you start telling stories, you are tempting the driver to look at you. A simple movement like this, which is completely unnecessary, can cause the driver to lose his focus and balance. And if this happens, both of you will crash. Keep the conversation to a minimum, like telling him to turn right or left, in case you are the navigator.

Braking and Accelerating

If a driver brakes heavily, you are likely to be pushed forward against the driver. You can prevent this if you put your hands on the bike’s rail guard behind you. Most motorcycle accident lawyers know that cases where passenger falls are because of the passenger not holding on to either the driver or the rail. In case you are pushed forward, ease off the pressure by firmly pushing with your hands against the driver, but not too hard.

When accelerating, you are also likely to get whipped backward. If you are holding on to the driver’s shoulders, you will most likely pull him back and he will lose his balance. It is best to keep your hands on the driver’s waist or the rail guard.  It is best to anticipate what is likely to happen by observing the road. Do not text or take phone calls even if you are a passenger.

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