Quick Tips for Carrying Passengers

1. Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers:

  • A proper seat—large enough to hold both of you without crowding. You (rider) should not sit any farther forward than you usually do.

  • Footpegs for the passenger are required by law in Minnesota. A firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off, too.

  • Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. Add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if necessary (check your owner’s manual.)

  • While your passenger sits on the bike with you, adjust the mirrors according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle.
2. Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider, provide complete instructions before you start. The passenger should:

  • Mount the motorcycle after you have started the engine and have the bike pointed in the right direction.

  • Squeeze the front brake while the passenger mounts and dismounts.

  • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you.

  • Hold firmly to your waist, hips, or belt.

  • Keep both feet on the pegs at all times, even when stopped.

  • Keep legs away from the muffler(s).

  • Remain directly behind you, looking over your shoulder in turns.

  • Avoid unnecessary talk or movements when the bike is in motion.
3. Tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you:

  • Approach surface problems.

  • Are about to start from a stop.

  • Warn him or her that you are going to make a sudden move.
4. Your motorcycle will respond differently with a passenger on board. The more weight you carry, the more effort it will take to slow down, speed up, or turn—especially on a lighter bike.

  • Ride at a slower pace, especially when taking curves, corners, or bumps.

  • Maintain a larger cushion of space from other vehicles.

  • Wait for larger gaps to cross, enter, or merge into traffic.

  • Take time to practice braking, accelerating, and turning with a passenger on board to develop the different skills you'll need at the controls.
5. Other tips:

  • Start the engine before your passenger gets on the bike. Squeeze the front brake while the passenger mounts or dismounts.

  • Don’t try to impress your passenger with your skills or daring. For a new passenger, the best experience will be a smooth, relaxed ride with few surprises.