When it comes to motorcycle riding, it may seem as if the bulk of the responsibility-as well as the glory-goes to the driver. The reality is that motorcycle passengers have many safety concerns of which they should be aware. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, there are several guidelines that motorcycle riders and passengers should follow to ensure a safe ride.
First, each state has legal requirements for motorcycle passengers, these may include equipment requirements-such as seating or footrests-as well as certain physical requirements. Some states have minimum age limits for motorcycle riders as well. Regardless of requirements, children should be mature enough to handle riding responsibilities and tall enough to reach the footrests.
Second, passengers should prepare themselves for the ride. Proper clothing must be worn, such as protective gear. While some people may love the feel of the wind or sun on their skin, long pants-such as jeans-can help riders avoid injury from debris hitting them at high speeds. State laws vary regarding whether helmets are mandated, but wearing a helmet is always recommended because of the important protection it provides in the event of a motorcycle accident.
Third, passengers should follow safety precautions during the ride. The passenger should hold the driver’s waist or hips, or passenger hand-holds, if the bike is equipped with them. It is not the passenger’s responsibility to balance the bike at red lights, so feet should be kept on the foot pegs at all times, even at stops. The passenger must pay special attention to keep body parts away from hot or moving parts of the bike. Passengers should also not turn around or make sudden moves, because these could possibly affect the driver’s operation of the bike.
Passengers should expect to assume some of the safety responsibility of the ride. By following common safety tips, riding as a motorcycle passenger can be an enjoyable and safe experience.