Written by: Mortorcycle Safety Foundation
QUICK TIPS: Guidelines For Carrying A Passenger On Your
- 1. All state laws and requirements for carrying a passenger must be
- 2. Some states have specific equipment requirements. Examples: the
motorcycle must have passenger footrests, passengers must be able to reach
the footrests, and a motorcycle must have a separate seating area for a
- 3. The decision to carry a child, assuming all safety and legal factors
have been considered, is left to the parent or guardian. Ensure that the
child is mature enough to handle the responsibilities, tall enough to reach
the footrests, wears a properly fitted helmet and other protective gear, and
holds onto you or the passenger hand-holds. Check your state’s laws; a few
states have set minimum ages for motorcycle passengers.
- 1. Passengers should be considered as a second "active" rider so they
can help ensure that safety and procedural operations are correctly
- 2. A passenger will affect the handling characteristics of a motorcycle
due to the extra weight and independent motion.
- 3. A passenger tends to move forward in quick stops and may "bump" your
helmet with theirs.
- 4. Starting from a stop may require more throttle and clutch finesse.
- 5. Braking procedures may be affected. Braking sooner and/or with
greater pressure may be required.
- 6. More weight over the rear tire may increase the usefulness and
stopping power of the rear brake, especially in quick stop situations.
- 7. Riding on a downgrade will cause braking distance to increase.
- 8. Extra caution is called for in a corner because of the extra weight.
- 9. Cornering clearances may be affected.
- 10. More time and space will be needed for passing.
- 11. The effects of wind, especially side wind, may be more pronounced.
- 1. The motorcycle must be designed to accommodate a passenger.
- 2. The motorcycle owner’s manual should be reviewed for manufacturer’s
tips about motorcycle setup as well as any related operational
- 3. The motorcycle’s suspension and tire pressure may need adjustment.
- 4. Care should be taken to not exceed the weight limitations specified
in the owner’s manual.
- 1. Passengers should be tall enough to reach the footrests and mature
enough to handle the responsibilities.
- 2. Passengers should wear proper protective gear.
- 3. Passengers should receive a safety briefing (see #7 below).
- 4. Passengers should consider themselves a second operator and share
responsibility for safety.
General Safety Considerations
- 1. You need to be experienced in the motorcycle’s operation and have a
safety-oriented attitude before taking on the added responsibility of
carrying a passenger.
- 2. Practice low-speed clutch/throttle control as well as normal and
emergency braking in a low-risk area like an open parking lot, with a
- 3. Use caution in cornering and develop cornering skills over time to
ensure passenger comfort and safety.
- 4. Use caution in corners as clearance may be affected.
- 5. Use a Search, Evaluate, Execute (S.E.E.) strategy to increase time
and space safety margins.
- 6. Allow time for a passenger to adjust to the sense of speed and the
sensation of leaning; speeds should conservatively safe and reasonable until
a passenger acclimates to the proper riding techniques.
- 7. Ensure passengers follow safety procedures:
- a. Complete personal protective gear is properly in use.
- b. Hold operator’s waist or hips, or motorcycle’s passenger hand-holds
- c. Keep feet on footrests at all times, including while stopped.
- d. Keep hands and feet away from hot or moving parts.
- e. When in a corner, look over the operator’s shoulder in the
direction of the corner.
- f. Avoid turning around or making sudden moves that might affect
- g. If crossing an obstacle, stand on the pegs with the knees slightly
bent and allow the legs to absorb the shock upon impact.
- 8. Allow more time for passing.
- 9. Be ready to counter the effects of wind.
- 10. Avoid extreme speeds and dramatic lean angles.
- 11. Be ready for a passenger "bump" with their helmet when stopping
- 12. Start the motorcycle before the passenger mounts.
- 13. Have the passenger mount after the motorcycle’s stand is raised and
the motorcycle is securely braced.
- 14. Annually complete an ERC Skills Plus
with a passenger.
- 15. Have frequent passengers complete a Basic
RiderCourse so they can better understand
the operator’s task.
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TUTORIAL - Carrying a passenger
OldSkoolYZF.com / 2007 edition