Motorcycle Accident

Riding with a passenger on your motorcycle can be exciting, but also an enormous responsibility. A passenger on the back of your motorcycle changes the way it rides, handles, and operates, and their safety is entirely in your hands.

While riding with a passenger can be intimidating at first, knowing how to prepare yourself and your motorcycle will make it an enjoyable and safe experience.

Make Sure Your Motorcycle is Safe to Ride

All motorcycles must come equipped with a footrest and permanent seats specifically for passengers if it is going to be used to carry passengers, according to South Carolina law.

The extra weight on the rear of your motorcycle will cause the rear to sag, affecting handling and causing the rear tire to rub against the fender. The effect will be more pronounced on smaller motorcycles, but even if you are riding a full-sized touring model, making some basic adjustments will make the ride safer and more enjoyable for you and your passenger.

Ensure your brakes, drivetrain, lights, and suspension are in good shape, tires are properly inflated, and have a deep tread. Additional air in the tire can keep it from flattening out and deforming under the weight of your passenger and help absorb the shocks and bumps of the road.

You can also adjust the preload on your motorcycle’s suspension to compensate for the additional weight of a second person. This adjustment can also help with the ride height and steering behavior.

Get Ready to Ride a Motorcycle with a Passenger

Before you tell your friend to ride on the back of your motorcycle, it’s a good idea to ensure you are up to the task by practicing slow maneuvering exercises. When your bike has additional weight on the back, sudden shifts or rough braking can cause an accident easily, so aim to ride smoothly and fluidly. Allow yourself more time to brake by reducing torque while accelerating.

  • Prepare Your Passenger

It is up to you as a motorcycle rider to make sure the passenger understands how to conduct themselves on a motorcycle to ensure both of your safety. You can show your passenger how to get off and on a motorcycle safely using a passenger peg or throwing their leg over their seat.

Tell your passenger to put their feet firmly on the footrest and how to prevent injury by pointing out the bike’s parts that heat up enough to burn. You should also show your passenger how to hold on to you either by holding your waist or hips or using the passenger hand-holds.

When you have a passenger on your bike, instruct them not to lean in the opposite direction or to make sudden movements, such as adjusting their seat position. Passengers should position themselves close to the rider during tight turns or on windy roads. Doing this makes the bike’s weight closer to its center, making low-speed maneuvers easier.

Talking with your passenger while at low speeds or when stopped may be possible. However, it is also important to adopt hand signals to indicate slowing down or stopping if needed for the passenger to let them know what you are doing.

  • Gear Up Before the Ride

Ensure you and your passenger are wearing full protective gear for the ride. In South Carolina, motorcycle riders and passengers under 21 are required to wear helmets. They should also wear safety goggles if the helmet does not cover the face unless the motorcycle has a windshield. Regardless, the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration recommends that all motorcycle riders and passengers wear helmets approved by the Department of Transportation that comfortably fit their heads, even if they are over the age of 21.

Gloves can protect your hands from road rash in a crash. A heavy denim or leather jacket, thick pants with padding, and boots covering the ankles can also prevent serious injuries such as broken bones in an accident. If riding at night, you and your passenger should wear light-colored, reflective clothes so other motor vehicle drivers can see you better.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call a South Carolina Motorcycle Injury Lawyer

You should prepare as much as possible for a ride with a passenger to make sure you both stay safe. On the chance you get into an accident through no fault of your own, you need to call an attorney who is knowledgeable about motorcycle claims, as most insurance companies are biased against motorcycle riders and will try to reduce or deny their compensation.

Our experienced team of South Carolina motorcycle injury attorneys can negotiate on your behalf and ensure you’re back on the road as soon as possible. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your case.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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