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Road Users

Pillion passengers

Safety advice for motorcycle pillion passengers.

Whether you’re riding as a pillion passenger for the first time or have vast experience you need to have complete trust in the attitude and riding skills of the person in charge of the motorcycle. Your life is in their hands.


The importance of safety gear

It’s the law that everyone on a motorcycle wears a properly fastened, approved crash helmet at all times.

We also recommend that as a pillion passenger you should wear approved motorcycle personal protective equipment (PPE), including jacket and trousers, protective gloves an motorcycle boots.

It’s critically important that you avoid wearing loose clothing or scarves which could be dislodged by the wind and catch in the bike or obstruct the rider’s view of the road. You should never do anything which would distract the rider.

Safety gear

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is there to protect and save you and your motorcycle rider

Motorcycle safety gear

Motorcycle safety gear. Personal protection equipment (PPE) for motorcyclists includes helmet, gloves, jacket and trousers suitable for all weather conditions.

Is the motorcyclist safe and socially responsible?

Before getting on the back of a motorcycle, ask yourself the following important questions. Your life may depend on the answers.

Before carrying a pillion passenger, a motorcyclist must have a full licence for the category of motorcycle. Some insurance companies may charge an extra premium to carry a pillion passenger, so it’s important to seek clarification of these issues before agreeing to ride pillion with any motorcyclist.
Are either you or the motorcyclist tired or fatigued? Have you consumed alcohol or drugs?  Some prescribed medication can have an adverse effect on your manual dexterity and ability to concentrate. Some riders may attempt to impress the pillion or fellow riders with dangerous displays of bravado. If this is the nature of the rider, you would be best advised avoid sharing the bike with them.

It’s best practice for a motorcyclist to fully brief the pillion passenger before a journey to ensure you understand the safety precautions. As a pillion passenger you will affect the balance, steering, acceleration and braking efficiency of the motorcycle. If a pillion fidgets, moves about or leans the wrong way, it creates a hazard that could result in a crash. Always keep both feet firmly on the foot rests at all times and alert the rider before mounting or dismounting the bike.

Has the motorcyclist adjusted tyre pressures and suspension settings as recommended by the bike manufacturer? Depending on the weight involved, most motorcycles require some adjustment for carrying pillion passengers. The extra weight could affect headlight adjustment and cause a hazard. Reduced ground clearance could cause the bike to contact the road, causing a loss of control.
Is the motorcycle designed to take a pillion passenger? Is there adequate room on the saddle and proper foot rests? Is there a grab-rail or will you have to hold onto the motorcyclist? A motorcyclist is not permitted to carry any more than one pillion passenger who must sit facing forward and resting both feet on the foot-rests.