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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.

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.

Tips for motorcycle drivers 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.

Tips for motorcycle riders 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®.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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