Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to be a Good Motorcycle Passenger

Riding as a passenger on a motorcycle can be thrilling and enjoyable. To ensure you aren't a hindrance to the rider, there are a few rules to keep in mind. These rules are important. As passenger, you don't want to be the reason the two of you go down. Here they are in order of precedence:
  1. Never take your feet off the foot pegs.
  2. Never take your feet off the foot pegs.
  3. See 2.
  4. Lean with the rider in turns.
  5. Minimize body movements.
It would be difficult to over emphasize how important it is to keep your feet on the pegs. If you must move them, let the rider know first. This rule applies whether your cruising or stopped. Depending on your size and the weight of the bike, an unexpected leg extension can upset the balance even while stopped at a light--nothing is more embarrassing than to drop a bike at a stoplight.

Leaning with the rider in turns is the next most important rule. Not leaning with the rider can severely effect the dynamics of a single track vehicle in a turn--enough to possibly cause the rider to lose control and you both go down.

How much to lean? I've read heard advice like keeping your inside shoulder (left shoulder for left turns, right shoulder for right turns) aligned with the rider's outside shoulder. Effectively, you as passenger will have your head looking over the rider's right shoulder when leaning left and vice versa.

In my opinion, this can be a bit confusing. Very simply: lean with the rider. Don't lean further, don't lean less.

Rule 5 is a variant of Rule 3. Always let the rider know if you need to move around on the bike. Small movements are fine, but if you need to shift your seating or stretch your arms, tap the rider first.

There's no lack of information on how to ride as a motorcycle passenger. Consider this blog entry to be a bare minimum (but it's enough). Check out other links with much more detailed information.
Here's three:
Click for a Google search to find more helpful advice.

A tip: Make sure the rider is ready before mounting or dismounting. Unexpectedly having your weight on one side of the motorcycle can easily cause it to fall over. The rider is likely never to ask you to ride again :(

A last bit of advice: don't ride as a passenger with a newbie rider. Neither of you will have any fun.
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