Pilots are trained to walk around their planes before they fly, looking for anything out of the ordinary. They know their aircraft inside and out, and they will not fly if anything is out of sorts. They do this in deference to their own life, and, in the case of airline pilots, those in their hands. As motorcyclists, we should do the same.
Attention to bike and gear should be doubled when riding two-up. Your passenger’s safety is in your hands; you should take that seriously. Making sure every component – especially controls – is in tip-top shape is step one. The weight a passenger adds affects everything. Braking early and accelerating smoothly are imperative, as are coordinated inputs from you both.
Your most critical responsibility is ensuring your passenger has every piece of protective equipment you do. Jeans are fine, but riding pants provide more protection, and gloves and boots are just as valuable to a passenger as to the pilot in the event of a crash. An armored riding jacket provides a safety net that produces confidence, which translates into a safer and more enjoyable ride for everyone. Most importantly, a securely fitting, DOT-approved helmet may save your passenger’s life – Don’t assume your own skills will keep you both safe.
If you are not willing to extend to your passenger the same seriousness that you ask of your airline pilot when traveling at 30,000 feet, go solo. There is a reason experienced riders sometimes refer to unprotected two-up riders as squids.
This article on WomenRidersNow.com has some valuable tips for new passengers.
This CycleWorld.com article delivers great instruction for piloting a bike with a passenger.
Photo credit: Joey Funtjar
Pilot: Jesse Short
Co-Pilot: Candice Griffin