August 2002 Safety Thoughts

Passenger Skills

by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer

Preface - This information is designed for a limited time presentation. It is not meant to be construed as an all-encompassing guideline that when followed explicitly, will make anyone a good passenger. Good passenger skills go beyond any and all instructions and guidelines. They are learned over a lifetime of riding experiences. They are sometimes even instinctive.

Some specific points regarding what makes a good passenger:

Communications is the most important dynamic to being a good passenger.

* Listen to the riderís instructions.

* Follow the riderís instructions.

* Donít do anything without asking for & getting the riderís permission first.

* Never assume the rider knows what you intentions are or knows what youíre about to do.

Riding a motorcycle is not a democracy.

* The rider is in charge.

* Listen to the riderís instructions.

* Follow the riderís instructions.

Trust in the rider is critical.

* The passenger becomes a dynamic part of the motorcycle as soon as contact is made with the motorcycle, even before getting seated in the passenger seat.

* If you canít listen to the riderís instructions, donít get on the bike.

* If you canít follow the riderís instructions, donít get on the bike.

Some specific points regarding what makes a good rider for the passenger:

Communications is an important dynamic to being a good rider for the passenger.

* Listen to the passengerís concerns.

* Change your riding style if required in order to make the passenger comfortable.

* Provide the passenger consistent instructions that demonstrate control and inspire confidence.

The Dynamics of riding a motorcycle with a passenger:

Communications.

* The rider informs the passenger when itís OK to get on the bike.

* The rider informs the passenger when itís OK to get off the bike.

* The passenger informs the rider when itís OK to go after getting on the bike.

Mounting/Dismounting.

* The rider should get on the bike first & make sure he/she has control & balance of the bike.

* The passenger should wait for the rider to have control & balance of the bike, then gives permission to mount or dismount.

* Upon starting to mount, place the left hand on the riderís left shoulder, left foot on the left passenger foot rest, then step up & swing the right leg across while centering your body weight over the center of the motorcycle as much as possible.

* For dismounting follow the first 2 points & then stand up on the passenger foot rests, place the left hand on the riderís left shoulder, then swing right leg off to the left side and step down while centering your body weight over the center of the motorcycle as much as possible.

Passenger Dynamics:

Starting/Stopping.

* When starting tense up your body only enough to maintain position on the motorcycle to counteract the effects of accelerating.

* When stopping tense up your body only enough to maintain position on the motorcycle to counteract the effects of decelerating, pressing against the passenger foot rests to prevent moving forward into the rider.

Turning.

* Do not make sudden movements.

* Set up before entering a turn by looking over the riderís inside shoulder. Left turn, the inside shoulder is the left shoulder; right turn, the inside shoulder is the right shoulder.

* Stay with the rider. If he leans off the bike a bit to the inside on the turn, lean with him. If he stays straight with the bike, stay straight with him.

General riding.

* Do not make sudden movements.

* Do not try to get off.

* Do not try to control the motorcycle.

Motorcycle Preparation:

* Check tire inflation. Set pressure to high end of range for two-up riding. correct tire pressure is critical for maintaining control.

* Check rear shocks for proper preload adjustment. Failure to properly set the preload may cause discomfort while riding, but more importantly, could lead to loss of control on a large bump or pothole.

* These items are both critical because the passengerís weight is a large percentage of the total vehicle weight and does have an impact on vehicle handling, braking, acceleration and control.

 

Words of Safety