Motorcycle Passengers and the Risks They Face

Many motorcyclists think it’s a good idea to travel with another rider, without realizing the full dangers faced by motorcycle passengers.

Although we don’t read about accidents involving injuries to motorcycle passengers as often as those involving car passengers, there are far more people in automobiles. Earlier this year, a woman from Chesapeake was killed when she was riding as a passenger on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

motorcycle passengers face dangers

Considerations for Motorcycle Passengers

Many riders don’t realize how carrying a passenger can affect the operation of their bikes, which is why inexperienced riders should not transport passengers.

If you are considering carrying a passenger, you should look into courses such as the ones offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Even if you don’t take a course, it’s a mistake to get straight on the busy highway. Consider practicing your skills in a parking lot of another low traffic area before going onto the road.

Be Aware of the Legal Issues

On its website, Virginia DMV makes it clear that a motorcycle instruction permit does not usually allow you to carry passengers on a motorcycle. In Virginia and indeed most states, a full motorcycle license is required for you to transport another person. Look at your motorcycle operator manual to be familiar with the relevant laws.

Follow Safety Tips for Passengers

A motorcycle instruction permit generally doesn't allow you to carry passengers. In most states, you must have a full motorcycle license to demonstrate that you are ready for the added responsibility of transporting another person.

If you are transporting a passenger make sure he is she is:

  • Tall enough to reach the footrests.
  • Has a helmet and all of the safety gear that the rider should be wearing
  • Keeps his or her feet firmly on the footrests at all times.
  • Avoids the mufflers which can get very hot
  • Holds onto you firmly of uses the bike’s passenger handholds
  • Does not move around or distract you

Make Sure Your Bike is Passenger-Friendly

Not all bikes are made for passengers. Some smaller bikes will only accommodate the rider. Make sure the seat is large enough and your bike has passenger foot pegs.

The owner’s manual will provide useful information about the bike’s specifications. Check if your state has specific requirements for passengers.

Be aware that children should not be on the back of your bike without the permission of their parent or guardian and each state has age requirements.

If you are injured as a passenger on a motorcycle or in a car you may have rights to make a claim against the driver or another motorist. Please call us at (757) 455-0077.

Jim Hurley

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