Hitching a ride on the back of a buddy's motorcycle for a day trip somewhere can be a blast—but being a passenger on a motorcycle is very different than being a passenger in a car. Before you accept that ride, here are some things to consider.
Don't Get On A Bike With A Brand New Driver
If your buddy has been driving a motorcycle for less than a year, think carefully about whether or not you want to get on as a passenger. Find out if your friend has ever had a passenger on the bike before or not. A new rider is still learning how to balance his or her own weight properly when going around corners and may not have the necessary skill to keep the bike steady once there's a passenger involved.
Make Sure That You Have The Right Clothing
The majority of states have laws about helmets—know what the laws are in your state. If you violate them, you can receive the same fine as the driver.
Even if your state doesn't require a helmet, carefully consider whether or not you want to get on that bike without one. Using a helmet can drastically reduce your chance of facial disfigurement or serious injury, and they reduce fatalities by 37%.
The rest of your clothing is important too. When you get dressed, make sure that you do the following:
- Put on solid footwear, like boots. Don't wear flip-flops or sandals, which can come off and even get caught on the wheel rims, spokes, or muffler.
- Wear pants that cover your legs. Leather really is best, because it acts like a barrier between your skin and the road if you take a spill.
- Cover your eyes. Ideally, your helmet will have a face shield. If it doesn't, buy goggles or wrap-around sunglasses.
- Wear a jacket that protects your arms. Again, if you end up in a wreck, it will be the only thing between you and the rough surface of the road.
- Wear clothing that fits and doesn't hang too loosely, where it can get tangled up on the bike as you're moving.
Make Sure That You Know How To Hang On
When your friend takes the bike around a corner, be prepared to lean into the corner along with the bike. If you panic and try to pull the other direction, you can cause the bike to topple. Here are a few tricks to keep yourself in the right position:
- Place your hands on the driver's hips. That will help you stay in tune with his or her movements.
- Put your feet firmly on the footpegs and keep them there, even when the bike is stopped. Don't try to help the driver hold the bike upright - you can throw the driver off balance that way or get your foot hurt if the driver starts moving again suddenly.
- When the driver turns a corner, turn your head in the same direction that the bike is going and look over the driver's shoulder. If you look over the driver's right shoulder while turning right, and left while turning left, you'll automatically shift your weight just enough to assist properly in the turn without leaning too far.
Keep in mind that you have to actually learn how to be a good passenger on a motorcycle, so consider taking practice runs around the block or through an empty parking lot somewhere before going on a real trip. That can help prevent you from causing an accident because you're inexperienced.
If you are in an accident while you're a passenger on a motorcycle, consider contacting a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as practical.