Safety tips for riding “two-up”
As a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer, I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about PA motorcycle crash statistics and how they impact riders in my home state.
Today, I thought it would be interesting to change it up and give a few tips that will help you ride safely when you have the opportunity to be a passenger.
Safe passengers get invited to ride again
Sharing a ride with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse, child, or any friend is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to enjoy your bike. If everyone follows a few simple rules, your ride will be even better.
- Wear protective clothing – If your bike goes down, you’re going to want to have as little skin exposed as possible. One of the most common and painful injuries in a motorcycle crash is road rash, and sturdy, protective clothing can help. Leather or heavy denim jeans are good, as are hiking boots. A heavy jacket that zips up to your neck is also a good addition. Besides safety, remember to dress for the weather; if it’s cold out, it will feel a lot colder on the bike. Leather gloves are a must for hand protection.
- Wear a helmet and eye protection – PA Motorcycle crash statistics indicate that wearing a helmet increases your chances of surviving an accident by more than 30%, regardless of whether you are operating or simply riding on the bike.
- Always wait for the driver to tell you when you can mount or dismount the bike – Let the driver get on first, and do not try to mount the bike until he or she is ready for you. Approach from the left, and use the passenger foot pegs. Don’t surprise the driver by getting on or off before they are ready, because the shifting weight can knock the bike over, or throw the driver off balance.
- Move with the bike – Once you’re on board, get used to staying as still as possible, while leaning with the bike. Again, unexpected shifts in weight are dangerous, even more so when you’re at speed. One trick I’ve learned is to look over the driver’s inside shoulder as you make turns or take curves. This is a pretty much foolproof way for you to stay in position with a minimum of movement.
- Communicate with the driver – Let the driver know when you need a break. If you will be riding together often, it may be worth investing in a helmet intercom system. Refrain from backseat driving. That’s just annoying.
- Stay awake and alert – Riding on the back of a bike is not like being a passenger in a car. You are an active participant in every action the driver takes, from banking into a turn, to braking. Follow the driver’s lead, and keep your eyes open for animals, road debris, and other potential hazards.
- Take the PennDOT motorcycle safety course – If you and the driver will be taking regular trips, you may want to take the course together. Many participants report that the course gave them valuable insight, allowed them to become better passengers, and helped them to enjoy their trips even more.
Two-up riding is a great way for you and a friend to enjoy the open road together, and if you pay attention to these safety tips, you lower your risk of becoming a PA motorcycle crash statistic significantly.
Here’s a final reminder from a PA motorcycle personal injury lawyer to the motorcycle operators. When you’re riding with a passenger, it is even more important that you check to make sure your motorcycle insurance policy says you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and that the amounts are the same as your liability coverage.
If you have further questions about anything to do with Pennsylvania or New Jersey motorcycle law or safety, contact Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney Lee D. Gaber right now at 1-888-292-5352, and remember there is never a fee for a consultation.