One of the many joys of motorcycling is sharing the excitement with passengers. Taking loved ones out on a ride can be a great experience for both rider and passenger.
However, motorcyclists must take great care when they have passengers on their bikes. And they must make sure that their friends or loved ones understand how to be a good passenger.
1. Review the requirements under California law
While California does not have a specific minimum age for individuals to be a motorcycle passenger, the law does enforce some requirements, including:
- Passengers and riders must wear helmets
- A passenger’s seat must be secure, and there must be footrests
- Passengers must be tall enough to use the footrests
The state safety requirements aside, motorcyclists should also ensure that their passengers wear all of the proper safety gear to protect themselves, including jackets, boots, and eye protection.
2. Instruct them about proper movement
Balance is an important factor in handling a motorcycle. Motorcyclists know this, but they must make sure their passengers know that as well. They should take some time before a ride to instruct their passengers about:
- Leaning into turns properly without throwing off the balance
- Not making sudden movements
- Bracing when braking
Some of this may be intuitive, but it is worth discussing these matters. Preparing passengers – especially first-time passengers – is important.
3. Let them know they are responsible for safety too
In addition to the instructions on how to be a good passenger, it is also important to emphasize that passengers play a role in motorcycle safety too. In fact, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation states that passengers play a part as “a second active rider.”
This means they can offer a second pair of eyes on the road to help both riders and passengers stay safe on a trip. And when they learn how to be a good passenger, they can make it easier for riders to handle the motorcycle.
A final note
Motorcyclists should prepare their passengers before a ride, but they should prepare themselves as well. They know that the operation will be different when they have a passenger. It is critical to account for weight and balance differences, and motorcyclists must make sure they are ready to ride with a passenger as well.