If you are one of Florida’s many motorcycle enthusiasts or even an occasional rider, chances are you’ve shared your love of riding with others by carrying a passenger. If you do carry a passenger, you must remember that it is you, the one controlling the bike, who has the responsibility of keeping the passenger safe.
Passengers have rights under the law. Like motorcycle operators, passengers can file a claim for compensation for injuries sustained during an accident. The suit will likely be against an insurance company to recover for medical expenses. However, responsible riders not only take measures to protect their own lives, but also the lives of their passengers.
Therefore, there are some things we would like to remind you for motorcycle passenger safety:
Riding with a passenger requires a little more skill than riding solo. The bike is heavier and does not steer quite the same. Take the added weight into consideration before beginning a ride with a passenger.
Provide the passenger with protective gear such as a helmet and eye protection. Make sure the passenger is using the protective gear properly.
Check to ensure that the passenger’s helmet, either one you have supplied or one he or she already has, fits correctly. To do this, fasten the chin strap snugly. Then grab the back of the helmet and try to lift it up and slide the helmet off over the passenger’s head. If it comes off, he or she needs a smaller helmet.
Make sure the passenger has a footrest. Florida law requires a footrest for motorcycle passengers unless the passenger is in a sidecar or enclosed cab.
Make sure the passenger has proper seating. Florida law requires that passengers have their own seat firmly attached to the motorcycle. Only if the permanent and regular motorcycle seat is designed to carry more than one person may a passenger ride the permanent and regular seat.
In addition to a helmet and eye protection, advise the passenger to wear other protective gear. Recommend that the passenger keep his or her arms, legs feet and ankles fully covered. The passenger should also have gloves that cover his or her hands entirely.
Figure out methods of communication with the passenger. Work out a system of communication so the passenger can inform you if he or she has a problem or would like you to slow down.
Make sure the passenger knows how to mount, sit on and dismount the motorcycle.
Make sure the passenger knows how to lean when turning a corner. Remind him or her that if he or she feels uncomfortable while leaning into a corner, refrain from suddenly sitting up straight because this can cause the motorcycle to learn deeper into the corner.
If it is the passenger’s first motorcycle ride consider taking the passenger on a “provisional” ride. A brief ride will help the passenger get acquainted with riding. This will allow the passenger to develop a sense of comfort and will make them feel more at east during a longer ride. It also gives the passenger a chance to decline a longer ride if they decide they are not comfortable riding a motorcycle. If the passenger does not feel comfortable, do not pressure him or her to take a longer ride. Motorcycles are not for everyone.
When passengers ride your motorcycle, they place their lives in your hands. Protect your life and those of your passengers at all times while riding by being aware of the motorcycle passenger safety guidelines.