Super bike riders - one riding pillion

What you need to know about riding pillion

Saddle up

Riding on a pillion can be tricky especially when you are moving at high speeds or approaching traffic lights. The main reason is that the pillion passenger does not have a set of bars to hang onto. The most difficult part-riding pillion is that you do not have a clear view of ahead and therefore cannot anticipate what course of action the rider will take. If this is your first time be slow on the brakes and clutch to prevent the passenger from hitting your helmet. The passenger maybe tense during the first ride so try to take them for slow rides to calm them. The pillion meaning in the UK is different and stands for a seat for a passenger in a motorcycle.

What to expect during ride

Climbing the bike

If you have, new passengers avoid telling them not to lean to the right or left. This may unsettle them and tip the bike over. Instead have them seat upright on the saddle while their feet are on the pegs. Riding on a pillion can be unnerving with passengers constantly shifting to the sides. The passenger should also not dismount till the rider has both feet on the ground and they have informed you to dismount.

Exhaust heating

There is nothing that can put you into the hospital faster than putting your foot on a hot exhaust pipe. Your passenger should at all times keep their feet away from the exhaust.

Wear Gear

The pillion passenger should have their bike gear at all times. This includes reflective clothing when traveling at night and a helmet. The law requires these at all times. Try not to ping; this is where a passenger hits the back of your helmet when you slow down.

Hold on to the rider’s clothes

If you are riding on a motorbike at high speeds then make sure you hold on to the rider’s clothes. This can be thrilling while at the same time dangerous. Avoid making unnecessary body movements especially when doing sharp corners as this may unsettle the rider and tip the weight to one side. Avoid making unnecessary talk during the ride. Use hand movements when the bike slows down.

Practice emergency procedures

Before you embark on that adrenaline filled journey the rider should take the pillion passenger for practice rides where they practice what to do during emergency stops. This helps clear the tension for the passenger.

Adjust suspension

If you are going to be taking some extra weight then you need to adjust your suspension for this. This should be the case when you are also carrying extra loads.

What the law expects

  • Rider must carry their license at all times
  • You should always have your helmet on and wear reflective clothing at night
  • The responsibility of carrying passenger remains with the rider
  • There is no age limit for being a pillion passenger but parental consent should be sort
  • The bike should be fitted with necessary supports and rests for passengers

“Rider should be trained and experienced with sufficient skill and ability to carry a pillion safely. They should take refresher courses if need be.” Universal motorcycle training

Final thought

It can be unnerving riding a pillion but if you take safety measures first the ride should be an adrenaline filled especially at high speeds.



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