Carrying a passenger on a motorcycle is not the same as taking passengers in a car. Putting an extra 50 to 100 kilos on the rear seat affects the handling of the motorcycle. We have a few things to keep in mind when you have someone on the pillion seat.
First of all, adjust your suspension and tire pressures to compensate for the extra weight on the pillion. Check your motorcycle's owner's manual to help you do this. Second, only carry one passenger.
Show your passenger the hot parts of the motorcycle, header pipes and silencers, so that he or she does not accidentally come in contact with them.
Passengers need the same protection that you do. Proper riding gear and helmet are a must for both. Also make sure that your passenger is not wearing anything that can be caught in the rear wheel or the chain. Dresses, loose pants legs, shoe laces – they can all get caught, with dangerous consequences. Instruct your passenger to always mount from the same side. Tell them to warn you before they climb on or off the motorcycle. You don't want to be caught out, and land up in a heap, with the sudden weight behind you. Once on the motorcycle, the passenger's feet should both be planted securely on the foot pegs. That obviously rules out carrying anyone sidesaddle. The passenger should never put a foot down when you stop.
Once you start off, remember that the extra weight will also change the braking capabilities of the motorcycle. More weight translates to greater stopping distance. Take that into account.
When on the move, ask your passenger to hold on to your waist, or the motorcycle's hand-holds. Instruct your passenger to lean forward slightly when you start off or accelerate. When you brake, the passenger should be braced against you and lean back slightly. You don't want the passenger's weight to shift forward and on your back.
When you are leaning into a turn, your passenger's weight plays a vital role. Advise passengers not to lean unless you do. One trick is to have your passenger look over your shoulder in the direction of the turn. That is, if you are taking a left turn, the person looks over your left shoulder. If you are taking a right turn, look over the right shoulder. This will automatically put the weight where you want it, as you go through the turn.
Your passenger is your responsibility. And your responsibility multiplies when it rains. So here are a few quick tips to keep your passenger and you safe in heavy rain.
First of all, wear bright-colored clothing to make yourself more visible to other road users. Make sure your tires have enough tread in them, and they are inflated to the correct pressure. Keep an eye out for those white markings on the road and metal manhole covers since they will be very slippery. And watch out for puddles. They might be hiding potholes or craters. Keep an eye out for standing water. If you hit it while going fast, your tire will aquaplane and you will end up crashing. On top of that, keep your speed in check and do everything gently and smoothly. Accelerate, turn and brake more deliberately and cautiously than when the road is dry.
Every time you strap on your helmet remember – your passenger's safety and your, is in your hands. Ride safe.