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5 Tips for Riding on the Back of a Motorcycle

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You don’t have to have a motorcycle license to end up on a motorcycle. Of course, you need one to be the rider, but being a passenger on the back doesn’t require a license — which also means it doesn’t come with any training. If a motorcyclist you trust offers to let you go for a spin, here are a few tips to help you out while riding on the back of a motorcycle.

Trust the motorcyclist

Don’t hop on a motorcycle with just anyone. You’re — quite literally — trusting this person with your life. Make sure they’re an experienced and safe rider, have ridden on that particular bike before, and know what it’s like to ride with a passenger.

Wear a helmet

Too many times, when a motorcyclist only has one helmet, either the rider or passenger go without. Don’t even think about getting on that motorcycle unless you have two helmets. In fact, many states require riders and passengers to have helmets by law.

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Don’t fight the turns

Making a turn on a motorcycle is a difference experience than turning in a regular car. The entire bike angles to one side, and your first instinct may be to try to remain upright. While you might feel uneasy being so much closer to the ground, you have to fight back against your instincts. Keep your body neutral as the driver turns the bike; don’t lean into the turn, but don’t fight it, either. Remaining neutral gives the rider more control over the bike and makes your movements predictable for them. Also avoid moving around too much, or leaning to one side on the bike, which can throw off the bike’s balance.

Prepare for stops

Riding on the back of a motorcycle usually requires you to keep your hands on the rider for some stability. However, when the motorcycle begins to stop, avoid leaning all of your weight into the rider’s back. That kind of pressure can throw off their balance and make them lose control of the bike. Instead, try to lean back against the back rest — if you have one — or use the foot pedals to stabilize your weight.

Keep your feet on the footrests

This is important not only for balance, but for your own safety. If your leg or foot accidentally touches one of the pipes, you may end up with a nasty burn. Be conscious of your foot placement during the entire ride.

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