It’s a father’s worst nightmare and frequent movie scene: a young man pulls up in front of the house on a motorcycle to take the daughter on a date.
Sheer panic. Does she have a helmet?
Is she dressed appropriately?
Does this guy know what he’s doing? What if they have a motorcycle accident?
First of all, if this happens to you and you have concerns about the experience of the driver, by all means ask. Someone with just a learner’s permit is not allowed to have a passenger on the back of a bike. That’s a law.
Driving a motorcycle with a passenger on the back comes with responsibilities. If you’re an inexperienced rider, wait until you are more experienced before you allow someone to hitch a ride.
If you are going to carry a passenger on the back of your bike, here are some important safety tips:
- Carry a helmet for your passenger and insist he or she wears it. A helmet won’t mess up your date’s hair, and it just might save her life. Don’t go without your own helmet so your passenger can have one. Make sure you have two helmets.
- Your passenger should be dressed for riding. That means boots, long pants (leathers are best), and preferably long sleeves and a leather jacket. There is a reason avid riders wear the “costumes” they wear. They are as much about safety as image.
- It’s important that your passenger is aware of the balancing issues involved in riding a bike. Depending on the size of the bike, you may need to communicate with your passenger about leaning one way or another or sitting still at stops.
- Always obey all traffic laws, and be careful when crossing intersections. Don’t assume that a car sees you.
Safe driving with a passenger on the back takes practice, but it’s a key to enjoyable time on a motorcycle. If you are ever in a motorcycle accident, seek immediate medical attention. Bike accidents can cause severe injuries, so it’s not time to worry about whether your insurance will cover the trip to the hospital. If the accident was not your fault, a good attorney will insure that your medical expenses are covered.