Motorcycle safety tips: riding double

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

Couple riding double on a motorcycle safely

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 double, 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 proper insurance protection.

Motorcycle driving tips when riding double

Keep these motorcycle safety tips in mind when riding double:

  • 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. Jerky transitions will cause the passenger to lurch forward.
  • Establish a communication system using shoulder taps: One tap means slow down, two taps means stop, etc.

Motorcycle riding tips when riding double

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

  • Don't mount 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.
  • Avoid sudden movements that could affect the bike's handling.
  • Keep your feet on the footrests at all times—don't put them down at a stop.

Also learn more about how to 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.

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