Couple safely riding double on a motorcycle.

Safety tips when riding a motorcycle with a passenger

Do your research and know what's different when it comes to safety while you have a passenger on your bike.

Riding double on a motorcycle can increase the bike's weight by 20% to 30% and requires you to adjust your driving habits to accommodate the extra load. Before riding a motorcycle with a passenger for the first time, check that your motorcycle meets the passenger requirements in your state. Generally, laws require that passengers have a separate seat and set of foot pegs.

Also check the owner's manual for weight restrictions. Some bikes can't handle the weight of two people, while others require adjusting suspension or tire pressure.

And of course, don't hit the road before you've secured motorcycle insurance.

Motorcycle driving tips when riding with a passenger

Here are some recommendations on how to ride a motorcycle with a passenger:

  • Always wear a helmet and have your passenger do so, too.
  • Be easy on the rear brake — the additional weight will affect stopping power.
  • Brake early to account for the extra stopping distance.
  • Allow more time and space for passing.
  • Refine your shifting and accelerating skills. Sudden transitions may cause the passenger to lurch forward.
  • Establish a communication system using shoulder taps: One tap means slow down, two taps mean stop, etc.
  • Talk with your passenger about the right times to get on and off the motorcycle — this may help prevent things such as a tip over or injuries to both you and your passenger.

Motorcycle passenger riding tips

Discuss motorcycle safety and proper riding techniques with your passenger. Cover these basics:

  • Don't get on the bike until the kickstand is up and the driver says to do so.
  • Wrap your hands around the driver's waist to hold on.
  • Keep your legs clear of the hot exhaust.
  • Lean with the driver when turning. It might help to focus your eyes on the back of your driver's helmet.
  • Avoid sudden movements that could affect the bike's handling.
  • Keep your feet on the footrests — don't put them down at a stop.

Learn about more ways to help prevent motorcycle accidents with our motorcycle safety tips from State Farm®.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Richardson, TX

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