There’s not a friendlier or more fun thing you can do than offer a ride on the back of your cycle. But things can go very wrong. Passengers can freak out. They can fall off. They can be seriously injured. If it is their first time on a cycle, they may never want to ride again.
Here are some suggestions to avoid traumatizing your passenger:
- Make sure you know how to drive. There is no worse combination than a beginning rider and a first-time passenger. Earn your wings before offering others a lift.
- Don’t take on a passenger if the bike is unfamiliar to you. Learn how to ride on your own time.
- Offer a saddle, not just a pad. Is the saddle has a backrest, all the better. You don’t want your passenger to be afraid of sliding off as you accelerate.
- The rear area should have footpegs. Without footpegs your passenger’s legs will be all over the place – uncomfortable and unsafe.
- Inflate your tires. The more weight you carry, the more air you need.
- Provide a helmet. If you are not motivated by simple hospitality, provide a helmet to limit your legal liability. Offer a good helmet, too, one approved by the Department of Transportation. To quote California law: “It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet.”
- Dress intelligently. Good gloves, a rugged jacket, boots that are at least ankle-length. No shorts!
- Brief your passenger on what to expect: How to get on and off. Where to sit. How to use the footpegs. What parts of the cycle to avoid touching. How to corner. How to deal with braking.
- Communicate. You need a way to communicate basic messages while riding. Like “slow down!” and “I want to get off!”
- If your passenger is a child, take extra, extra, extra care on all these points.