Motorcycle safety, vital for rider and passenger

The Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa devotes countless hours to researching, writing, testing, training and advising on motorcycle safety issues.

According to the institution, passengers need the same protection as you (the driver); appropriate clothing and helmet.

“First. Get to an open parking lot and work on assembly and disassembly techniques, then do a few drills like stopping, swerving, turning, etc. before hitting the road. It’s essential that both parties are very comfortable and that complete trust is instilled to maximize the experience,” said Hein Jonker of the Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa.

Jonker said that as the rider of the motorcycle, you have to ask passengers to hold on to your waist or hips; ask them to lean forward slightly when starting from a stop or accelerating along the highway.

The institution has proven some safety tips to help motorcyclists better transport a passenger or pillion:

  • Adjust your suspension and tire pressure; to compensate for the weight of your passenger.
  • Realize that your braking abilities have changed; the more weight you have on the bike, the longer it takes to come to a stop.
  • Passengers should be instructed to always board on the same side and to warn you before they board or alight. Work on a set of hand signals or invest in headset comms.

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  • Passengers need the same protection as you; appropriate clothing and helmet. You don’t want loose shoe laces or pant legs catching on the rear wheel or chain parts.
  • Never carry anyone side-saddle; passengers should always ride the bike with their feet firmly planted on the footrests. Tell passengers not to put their feet down when you stop. Show them where the hot stuff is; such as manifolds and silencers.
  • When you brake, passengers should be pressed firmly against your waist and should step back slightly. You don’t want their weight shifting forward.
  • When you lean into a bend, passengers must also lean; have them look over your shoulder in the direction of the bend when going through a bend, this will put the weight where you want it.

For more information, visit their Facebook ‘Motorcycle Safety Institute of South Africa’ page or website


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