How to Ride Motorcycles with a Passenger

bike riding with a passenger

Riding a motorcycle is incredible invigorating. There is just something about the wind in your hair and sun on your face that is unlike anything else you can do. It returns the thrill of the open road back to you, every single time you mount up. The experience is unique, no matter how many times you ride, and unlike driving a vehicle, you truly feel one with your bike and are able to take in the scenery around you, without any blind spots or obtrusions.

Of course, with such an experience, you probably have someone who wants to ride along with you. Sharing your ride with a friend, significant other or family member is not only an outstanding method of transportation, but it is also a nice bonding moment as well. You just need to know how to prepare yourself for riding with a passenger, as it is a different process than riding on your own.

Some of the steps you need to follow in order to ensure a safe and fun ride include:

  • Legal Issues
  • First Time Riding
  • Walkthrough with the Rider
  • Riding Safety

Legal Issues

After you pass your motorcycle exams and course (depending on the state you live in), you are not instantly allowed to ride with a passenger. Most states require you to obtain a full license in order to legally ride with a passenger. You might receive this after passing all of the courses and tests, or you might need to simply maintain your entry level permit for a set number of months and log a certain number of hours before you are given the actual motorcycle license.

Look into this before offering a ride to a passenger, as you need to know if you can even legally give someone a ride ahead of time.

First Time Riding

training in a parking lot

The first time you offer someone a ride, you need to make sure they are an experienced motorcycle rider as well. This can help you prepare for riding with a passenger and the rider knows how to handle a bike, so they know which way to lean and how to perform certain actions.

Someone who is new to a motorcycle is not going to know all of these tips and tricks, so it can be a challenge when first giving rides. The more practice you can log with the other motorcycle rider, the better off you are going to be. Once you feel comfortable, than you can go and start giving other individuals rides.

Walkthrough with the Rider

Before actually starting up on your ride, you need to walk through the process with your passenger.

First, you need to let them know that if they need the motorcycle to stop or slow down at any time, they need to let you know. Create hand signals or taps on your body so you know this is what they need to do. Basically, you control the bike, but the passenger is going to control you, as you are not able to see what is going on right behind you, so if there is something urgent, they need to let you know.

You need to tell them they are only able to get off of the bike after you say it is alright, and when getting off of the bike, they need to keep their weight centered.

If you have a microphone built into your headsets, it is possible to let them talk to you, but tell them it is best to avoid conversations until a light or when the motorcycle is stopped. The occasional question is fine, but extended conversations is not always desirable as it can lead you to become distracted, which you want to avoid, especially if you are new to riding with a passenger.

riding with a passenger is fun!

While riding, make sure your passenger knows that you do not need any help leaning into turns. You control this aspect and any help might throw off the weight, which can cause the motorcycle to hit the ground on either side.

You also need to let them know that their feet needs to remain on the foot peddles at all times (or whatever foot board you have on the motorcycle).

Also, make sure they sit as close to you as possible as this makes it easier to control. If someone who is on the heavier side sits too far on the back of the motorcycle, it can make it incredibly difficult to steer.

Make sure to point out where they can hang on while riding. There are seat grips or rails that they can hold onto in order to maintain their connection to the bike.

Riding Safety

In order to ride safely, you need to make sure your passenger is able to reach the footrests. If they have nowhere to place their feet, it can prove incredibly different for them to maintain a safe connection with the bike. When this is not possible, they simply are too short to ride the motorcycle with you.

They also need to keep their feet on the footrests at all times. While riding, they should keep their legs away from mufflers as these can burn them, and should they suddenly burn during a ride they can flinch and move, causing you to lose control of the bike. if the person is on the heavier side, make sure they brace themselves against the tank while braking, this is going to prevent them from pushing you over the bars.

Beyond the general riding safety rules, you need to allow for more time when you pass, plus you need to be cautious when turning as your clearance might be a bit different with a passenger.

passenger motorbike ride

The extra passenger also increases the amount of space you need to stop, so ready yourself for this.

You also need to learn more clutch finesse and always make sure to avoid traveling at extreme speeds as well. It is also likely that you are going to run into different variations when it is windy out due to the excess weight.

All of these issues point to why you should practice with an experienced rider ahead of time. Just like you did when first learning to drive and ride a bike, practicing in a parking lot is a nice starting location, and from there you can ride around your neighborhood. Once you feel comfortable, it is possible to move on from there and graduate to regular riding.


Riding a motorcycle is an amazing experience not everyone is able to enjoy during their lifetime. Of course, as a rider yourself, you probably want to share this time with friends, family members and significant others.

To do this though, you need to prepare both yourself and your passenger for the ride ahead. This includes practicing with an experienced rider before offering rides, then, when you are ready, walking your passenger through what goes on and how they need to react during the motorcycle ride.

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