Motorcycling can be enjoyable recreation, as well as affordable transportation. Too frequently, however, accidents occur when motorcyclists attempt to carry passengers, unaware of the dangers posed by riding in tandem. While little forethought or additional driving skill is required to transport passengers in a car, carrying a passenger by motorcycle requires some special consideration — not to mention practice. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers the following safety recommendations for motorcycling in pairs:
- “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.
- 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 passenger.
- Use caution in cornering and develop cornering skills over time to ensure passenger comfort and safety.
- Use caution in corners as clearance may be affected.
- Use a Search, Evaluate, Execute (S.E.E.) strategy to increase time and space safety margins.
- 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.
- Ensure passengers follow safety procedures:
- Complete personal protective gear is properly in use.
- Hold operator’s waist or hips, or motorcycle’s passenger hand-holds provided.
- Keep feet on footrests at all times, including while stopped.
- Keep hands and feet away from hot or moving parts.
- When in a corner, look over the operator’s shoulder in the direction of the corner.
- Avoid turning around or making sudden moves that might affect operation.
- If crossing an obstacle, stand on the pegs with the knees slightly bent and allow the legs to absorb the shock upon impact.
- Allow more time for passing.
- Be ready to counter the effects of wind.
- Avoid extreme speeds and dramatic lean angles.
- Be ready for a passenger ‘bump’ with their helmet when stopping quickly.
- Start the motorcycle before the passenger mounts.
- Have the passenger mount after the motorcycle’s stand is raised and the motorcycle is securely braced.
- Annually complete a motorcycle riding safety course with a passenger.
- Have frequent passengers complete a basic rider course so they can better understand the operator’s task.”
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- A Dept. of Transportation release of 2006 seat belt and motorcycle helmet use statistics
- Lightning safety tips for motorcyclists
- Tips for safer trailering and towing on the highway
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