Home / This Is How to Ride a Motorcycle With a Passenger

There’s nothing in the world like hitting the open road on your Harley. Just you, the highway, and the big blue sky. Or is there?

Don’t you find so many things in life are more fun when there are two of you? Heading out with a buddy or a loved one can double the fun, but only if you do so safely. As any seasoned rider will tell you, riding solo and riding a motorcycle with two people are completely different things.

Let’s explore how to ride a motorcycle with a passenger safely. We’ll also take a look at a couple of cool accessories that make doubling up safer.

Step 1: Prep Your Bike

The first step is to check if your bike is fully equipped to accommodate a passenger. You will need the following:

  • Passenger footpegs or floorboards
  • Pillion seat
  • Helmet (optional under certain circumstances in Texas for riders over 21)

If you’re planning a long journey, it’s good to review the manufacturer’s recommendations for carrying passengers. You may need to adjust the tire pressure and suspension to accommodate the extra load.

Don’t forget to prep yourself! If you don’t feel confident, taking a riding course can give you the skills to safely take a passenger.

Step 2: Educate Your Passenger

Handing a buddy a helmet and asking them to jump on is not sensible. Whether they’ve been a passenger before or not, you need to give them a safety pep talk first to keep both of you safe.

Check They’re Legal

First, check their age. For example, in Texas, a passenger must be at least five years of age. In addition, all passengers under 21 must wear a helmet.

It’s also important to make sure they’re appropriately dressed. They need full riding gear, including a leather jacket; thick, strong pants; gloves; and sturdy boots. Sunglasses are also essential to avoid being blinded by a low sun.

Clear Communication

Next, choose easy hand signals that will allow you to communicate. For example, you could agree on the following:

  • One shoulder squeeze means the driver needs to slow down
  • Two shoulder squeezes mean the driver needs to stop

Safe Handling

One of the biggest dangers is your passenger making a false move that forces the bike off-balance. Review the following safety measures with them so that they don’t accidentally put you both in jeopardy.

Tell them to always keep their feet on the footpegs—this is crucial for balance. They must also never put their feet on the ground until you tell them to. Keeping as close to you as possible will also help the bike keep balanced.

Another rule: no sudden movements. That means no reaching into their bag or fumbling with their phones; any movement could be deadly. Instead, tell them to relax, hold steady, and enjoy the ride.

The safest place for them to be is holding onto you or onto the handholds. That way when you accelerate or brake, the momentum won’t make them collide with you and disrupt your balance. If your passenger weighs significantly more than you, ask them to brace themselves with their hands against the gas tank to avoid propelling you forward.

Lean for Safety

Motorcycles lean when turning, and this can be disconcerting for new passengers. So instruct them to lean with the bike, keeping their focus on the back of your helmet. Also, help them understand that they can grip with their knees or thighs for extra security at any time.

Mounting and Dismounting Safely

The passenger must understand that you call the shots at all times. This includes telling them when it’s safe to get on and off. You’re not being a control freak—it’s the only safe way to go.

Make sure they always get off on the left-hand side to avoid burning their leg on the muffler.

motorcycle with passenger

Step 3: Test Drive

Heading straight out onto a busy street with a new passenger is not a good idea. You need a little time to adjust to the extra weight and how the bike responds to cornering. Instead, arrange to meet them in a quiet parking lot.

After completing the briefing, take them for a slow drive around the lot. This will help you get a feel for how the bike handles and help your passenger gain confidence.

Step 4: Hit the Road With Care

Now you’re ready for the open road. Bear these pointers in mind to keep both of you safe:

  • Accelerate smoothly and slowly
  • Brake earlier to compensate for the extra weight
  • Corner with care

The extra weight of a passenger will compress the bike’s suspension, so when driving a motorcycle with two people, take care not to scrape the ground while cornering.

Motorcycle Accessories Make a Difference

Planning on taking passengers out regularly? Consider investing in a few accessories to make their journey more enjoyable.

Pillion Seat

Harley Davidson stocks a range of designs, from classics to deluxe comfort models. If you’re heading out on a lot of long journeys, the Fat Boy Touring Passenger Pillion offers an extra-wide 14-inch seat that’s the ultimate comfort.


Sissy bars and backrests are also optional. However, they’re a nice touch, especially on long trips.

Bluetooth Headsets

If you’re planning to take a lot of journeys together, consider investing in a Bluetooth dual headset pack. You’ll be able to communicate easily and safely at all times.

How to Ride a Motorcycle With a Passenger

Safety is the number one priority when thinking about how to ride a motorcycle with a passenger. These motorcycle riding tips can be summarized in three points:

  • Prepare your bike
  • Prepare your passenger
  • Ride with extra care

Keep these points in mind, and you’ll find out for yourself that life on two wheels is more fun when there are two of you!

If you’re looking for the perfect motorcycle for those plus-one road trips, look no further than the Harley-Davidson of Kingwood dealership. We have an extensive new and pre-owned inventory to choose from, plus expert advice from our friendly team.

Check out our motorcycles for sale today!

Harley Davidson of Kingwood

Harley-Davidson of Kingwood is your #1 Texas Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer. Our full-service facility offers new and pre-owned motorcycles, parts, maintenance, riding apparel, and everything else you need to get your Hog on the road. As a winner of the Harley-Davidson Gold Bar & Shield Circle of Excellence, we’re committed to providing top-notch customer service every day of the week. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of Kingwood Showroom on Northpines Drive in Kingwood, TX!