Riding with a Passenger
As fun as it can be to hit the road without any worries or obligations, hitting the road alone can get a little lonely, especially when you’re taking a long motorcycle trip. Then again, maybe you’re just cutting across town and you need to bring a friend or family member. Whatever the reason for accommodating a passenger, make sure that you’re taking their needs as seriously as you take your own. That’s why War Horse Harley-Davidson® has provided you with some tips for keeping your passenger happy and safe. If you need additional advice from one of our experienced professionals, stop by our location near Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Leesburg, Florida.
Experienced riders know that the first important step, even before you get on the bike, is making sure you have all the right gear. In particular, you’ll want to be wearing the right kind of safety gear. When you have a passenger, they’ll need to be wearing all the same gear. Sit down with them ahead of time and find out what kinds of gear they already own. Since they’re your responsibility, you’re on the hook for any injuries they may incur on the way to your destination, so you’re responsible for supplying safety equipment they may not have.
At the very least, they’re going to need a helmet. A full-face helmet is best, one that includes some sort of face shield or add in some goggles to protect their eyes from debris. And make sure it fits, even if it means buying a new one. If there’s too much wiggle room, then it’s not going to provide the protection that person needs. You’ll also want to make sure they have a riding jacket and riding pants that are going to be durable and hold up on the road should you take a spill. Day-to-day street clothes generally aren’t good enough. Finally, gloves and sturdy shoes are also going to be helpful, even though they’re not in charge of controls.
In addition to some of the basic prep you do before every ride, like maintenance, there are some additional checks that are specific to riding with a passenger. Firstly, make sure your bike can actually handle an additional rider. Many touring bike can perform well with the extra weight, but there are other types of motorcycles that can get overwhelmed by this.
Also check in with your passenger. Establish some expectations on what you’ll need from them to make the ride safe. Make sure they understand how you’re going to approach turns, braking, and congestion. You’re probably going to need their full cooperation for this, so you both need to be on the same page. If they’re new to riding, consider taking them out for a few test rides before the big trip. This will help them get used to some riding basics, as well as allow their bodies to adjust to the rigors of motorcycle riding.
Establish a way to communicate between the two of you. Even though you’ll be right next to each other, the road can get loud, even at relatively low speeds. As an alternative, we suggestion hand signals. Finally, be respectful and attentive to your passenger. Answer their questions as thoroughly as you can and ensure that they’re fairly confident going into the ride.
Some of the safe riding practices you should already be using are going to be especially important when you’re responsible for an additional rider. Keep your eyes peeled for road hazards and traffic changes. Also be mindful of your starting and stopping habits. Your passenger doesn’t have a backing and will probably be caught off guard if you’re a little too aggressive with the accelerator.
The biggest takeaway is maintain open communication with your passenger so they feel like their needs are taken care of and you can let them know when you need their help. If you find you need a bike that can handle a second person for motorcycle touring or trike touring or any other kind of bike you may need, stop by War Horse Harley-Davidson®. We proudly serve Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Leesburg, Florida.