Pillion Passengers

how_to-take-a-pillion-for-the-first-timeIt may seem obvious but carrying a pillion passenger at least doubles a riders responsibility. Anyone who elects to carry someone on the back seat of a motorcycle has an obligation to keep him or her safe. It is a responsibility that must never be taken lightly.

It’s advisable for any pillion to ask permission before hopping on so you as a rider have a secure grip of the bars and both feet on the ground. I’d say it’s not a good idea to mount a pillion on the stand as you may bend or break the stand especially if it’s a sidestand or you may not be able to rock the bike to get it from a centre stand.  Passengers should also be aware that the exhaust pipe will often be close to your feet or on an off-road style bike near your upper leg & will be burning hot.   If you wish to use the exhaust as a step, it’s best practice not to stand on the pipe as this will not only potentially damage or break the exhaust, but your footwear could melt on the tailpipe.

As a rider it’s probably best to park your bike without the passenger if you are not certain of your abilities and the surface of the parking area.   Consider as well to keep your gear changes & acceleration smooth as you may crack heads occasionally if you are aggressive on the bike controls.

Remember that the bike will be heavier & take longer to stop.  If you are stopping quickly or in an emergency braking situation your passenger may be flung  into your back. Be aware that in this situation you will most likely have to support all your weight on your arms & hands, but also the weight of your pillion which in some circumstances can lead you to lose control or potential injury if you are not prepared.

It is advisable for the rider to be as protected as the rider from the weather & to help prevent injuries by wearing appropriate clothing as opposed to casual wear or fashionable street wear.


The legalities of carrying a passenger are essential knowledge for every rider.

  • A learner driver is not allowed to carry a pillion passenger.
  • A secure seating position is required. If a child cannot place their foot on the pegs it does not comply with the law. Kits are usually available to modify footpegs etc to accommodate the length of children’s legs.
  • The rider is responsible for the safety of the passenger. This means if you are in an accident with a pillion passenger, they have the right to sue the rider if necessary.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the pillion passenger wears a correctly fitted and fastened helmet.
  • Some insurance companies don’t cover you for pillion passengers, so check your policy before carrying a pillion.
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