Motorcycle Driver’s Handbook

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Riding with passengers

When you are carrying a passenger, the motorcycle responds more slowly. It takes longer to speed up, slow down or make a turn. The heavier the passenger or the heavier the bike, the longer all of these things take. To adjust for added weight of the passenger, you should:

  • operate at a somewhat lower speed, particularly on corners, curves or bumps
  • begin to slow down earlier than usual when you approach a stop
  • allow a greater following distance and keep more distance between you and other vehicles to either side
  • look for larger gaps whenever you cross, enter or merge with traffic

Warn your passenger when you are about to start moving, stop quickly, turn sharply or ride over a bump. Otherwise, talk as little as possible.

Instructing passengers

Don’t assume the passenger knows what to do, even if he or she is a motorcycle rider. Provide complete instructions before you start.

A passenger should be told to:

  • Notify the operator when you are ready to mount or dismount and wait for approval. This prevents surprise shifts of balance.
  • Hold the operator’s waist or hips. This braces the passenger for acceleration or braking. Keep both feet on the footrests at all times.
  • Keep hands and feet away from moving and hot parts.
  • Look over the rider’s shoulder in the direction of the turn.
  • Avoid sudden moves that might affect stability.
  • If the rider rises off the seat, so too should the passenger.
  • Enjoy the ride!


Rev: 2015