Carrying a pillion

How to ensure your passenger is safe

Many people come on tour with a partner who rides pillion. However, if the pillion is apprehensive or inexperienced they might become frightened on the bike if you don't follow these guidelines.

Check that they are holding on tight. If they are new to riding pillion or a nervous passenger, ask them to wrap their arms around you. As well as making them feel secure, it gives you peace of mind that they are holding on correctly.

Advise the pillion on bike handling because when you corner it is common for your passenger to lean in the opposite direction. Tell your pillion to stay relaxed and lean with you and the bike.

Remember they are there! If you are usually a solo rider it can be easy to forget you have a pillion behind you. Remember to ride smoothly, gently accelerating and braking to prevent your pillion moving abruptly.

Encourage your pillion to keep their feet still and warn them of the dangers around them. Their legs and feet will be close to the chain drive and hot exhaust pipe, at the very least it could damage their shoes, and at worst their feet. It may even leave a mark on your exhaust which is a nightmare to clean off!

Wear appropriate gear! Ensure your pillion is wearing properly fitting protective clothing, boots, helmet, gloves etc. Kit out the pillion as good as you would as a rider or better. If you have an airvest offer it to the pillion. Never use an ill-fitting or old helmet. Check it is a good fit and comfortable.

Most rental bikes come with a top box that can provide a back rest for the pillion but they should be discouraged from leaning too heavily against the top box because this can make the front-end light.

Stiffen the suspension to allow for the extra weight on your bike. Some bikes have electronic suspension settings, if not, seek out advice from guide so they can adjust this manually.

Avoid carrying backpack. This will restrict the space behind the rider and if worn by the pillion it could adversely affect handling.

In short if your pillion feels more comfortable on the bike it will make handling easier for the rider.

rider with pillion passenger