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What changes should you make to your motorcyle and riding style when carrying a passenger? What changes should you make to your motorcyle and riding style when carrying a passenger?

  • A. Deflate the tyres slightly, for a more comfortable ride and so that more of the tyre contacts the road

  • B. Adjust the mirror and headlight to compensate for the change in the angle of the motorbike because of the passenger

  • C. Adjust the shock absorbers to be softer for increased comfort

  • D. Ride further forward in the seat than you usually would

    The correct answer is B
    You should also put more air in your tyres, adjust your shock absorbers to be firmer to take the extra weight and always ride in your normal position; don't move forwards.

How to avoid injuries when riding a motorbike

If you want to see how bad your scars can be if you have an accident without wearing protective clothing, check this video out. The lady in question had a helmet on, but no other protective gear. She crashed and slid up the road for 522 feet - about 160m. She has extensive scarring, which is shown in the video.

What protective gear do you need for riding a motorbike?

This outlines how important it is for a motorcyclist to be properly protected on the road. Tarmac will shred your skin like a cheese grater. 

Protective clothing can do more than protect your skin, though. A back protector will cushion your spine against impacts, helping prevent debilitating spinal injuries. Sturdy boots will protect your ankles from being broken if they are twisted under the bike, and if they come with shin protection that is even better because if you go over the handlebars you are likely to hit your shins on them, which can shatter the bones.

Leather gloves will protect your hands and long trousers will protect your legs. A reflective vest will make you more visible to other road users.

The video above shows how important it is to have a full face helmet. You can see where the helmet took the impact - along the side. A half helmet or open face helmets do not have adequate protection. You can read our guide to motorbike helmets here. This article shows where most helmet impacts occur.

Carrying passengers

A passenger is also required to wear a helmet by law. They are not required to wear any other protective clothing. You must have a full class 6 licence before you can carry a passenger on a motorbike.

As well as adjusting your mirror and headlights and firming up your shock absorbers (if your bike comes with this ability), you should put more air in your tyres. You should always ride in your normal position; don't move forwards.

What equipment do you need to be able to carry a pillion passenger?

You must have foot pegs for the passenger, and enough room on the seat for you to sit normally and the passenger to sit safely without hanging over the end of the seat.

Avoiding hypothermia when riding

Hypothermia is when your core body temperature drops dangerously, reducing your reflexes. Even on a fine day, the wind chill can cause hypothermia. Riding a bike at 100kph means that winds of 100kph plus any headwind speed will be hitting your body. This can decrease the effective temperature by a lot. For example, if the air temperature is 20 degrees Celsius and you are riding at 100kph, the effective temperature is 12.4 degrees Celsius. You can find a wind chill calculator here.