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Motorcycle passenger safety: Rules for the road

What's better than taking a trip somewhere on your motorcycle?

Taking the trip with someone you love and sharing the experience. However, if you're going to share your ride as well as the experience, there are some rules that you need to keep in mind when it comes to motorcycle passenger safety:

1. Make sure that your motorcycle license permits you to take passengers. Not all licenses entitle you to that privilege, so check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV.)

2. Check your insurance. You don't want to find out after an accident happens that your insurance doesn't cover passengers.

3. Make sure that you have the right seat, foot pegs and appropriate helmet for your passenger. Remember that helmets should be fitted -- your old cast-off helmet is not a good substitute for one specifically fitted for your passenger.

4. Check the weight limits of your bike. While it might feel a little awkward to ask your guest's weight, it's a safety issue that can't be ignored.

5. Explain to your passenger what "motorcycle appropriate" clothing means. Do not assume that he or she knows that you need a pair of decent boots (instead of sneakers or flip-flops), jeans (if leather pants aren't available), a durable jacket and gloves.

6. Point out the exhaust pipes to your rider and explain how dangerous (and painful) it is to accidentally touch them.

7. Give your passenger a quick tutorial on how to properly get on and off the bike -- most non-riders think it is easier than it really is. Also, spend some time teaching your rider how to hold your hips and how to keep his or her body in line with yours to help balance the bike.

8. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is make a few short runs with your passenger before you head on a longer trip -- your passenger needs to learn how to lean with you when you go around a curve and anticipate your moves. That can't be taught unless you're actually in motion.

If you or your passenger are injured in a motorcycle accident that's caused by someone else, make sure that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights to fair compensation for your injuries.

Source:, "Tips For The Motorcycle Passenger (Or How To Get Invited To Go Riding Again)," Chuck Hawks, accessed June 13, 2017

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