November 21, 2019
5 Ways for Motorcycle Passengers to Prioritize Safety
Safety should be your first priority while doing anything, but especially when you are going to ride a motorcycle. Nobody wants to think about what could happen if you get into a motorcycle accident. But thinking about what could happen helps you be prepared if one happens. When you’re the passenger, there’s not much you can control since it’s up to the driver to do most things. Still, there are some things you can do to prioritize safety while riding.
Before any other safety tips, you should know that a driver can only have a passenger if the motorcycle is fitted for two people. The passenger must ride behind the operator, or in a side car, but either seat must be securely attached to the motorcycle, according to Georgia law. That is the most basic rule that motorcycle passengers should pay attention to before these other five ways to stay safe.
Wear a Helmet
The first rule when riding a motorcycle is to always wear a helmet. In fact, state code requires any person operating or riding on a motorcycle must wear protective headgear and eyewear. Even though a helmet can’t prevent serious injury in every single accident, helmets reduce head injuries by 69% and decrease risk of death by 37%, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A helmet can also act as hearing protection, which you’ll need on a loud bike.
Other than a helmet, you should wear proper gear like long pants, boots, long sleeves, and goggles. Since your body is exposed to the elements when you’re on a motorcycle, you’ll want to wear clothing that covers you and boots that protect your feet and ankles. Dressing in the correct way will help prevent injuries in the event of an accident or while riding in general.
Ride with an Experienced Driver
To ensure you’re as safe as possible, your driver should have a full motorcycle license before taking you on as a passenger, not just a learner’s permit. While it’s not part of state law, the Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual states that passengers should only ride with experienced drivers because taking on a passenger increases risk while riding.
A beginner might not consider the difference in weight and drive more recklessly than an experienced driver. When your driver is more experienced, they’ll know to keep a slower speed and take curves and bumps more cautiously. They’ll also know to start braking earlier and not take as many risks when crossing or merging with traffic.
Don’t Distract the Driver
Any little movement or distraction can cause your driver to lose focus on the road. In that case, they might be thrown off balance or lose control. So when you’re the passenger on a motorcycle, you should avoid any unnecessary talk or motion.
The Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual elaborates that passengers should stay directly behind the driver and look over the driver’s shoulder to keep your eyes on the road as well. If there is a curve or a turn, you should lean with the driver so you can help with weight distribution. Even though many helmets have communication devices between riders, make sure to keep your chatting to a minimum so they can concentrate on the road.
Keep Feet on the Footrests
When you’re riding on the back of a motorcycle, you should keep your feet planted on the footrests at all times. Georgia code requires all motorcycles carrying a passenger to have footrests and a backrest for the passenger. You should also have firm hold of the driver, and grab tighter when there are surface problems, you’re starting from a stop, or about to turn. The safety of the ride hinges on you and your driver’s balance on the bike, so you sitting properly is important.
Ride with a Sober Driver
Much like in a regular vehicle, you should never get on a motorcycle with an intoxicated driver. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous as it is and is even more dangerous when drugs or alcohol are involved. Getting on a motorcycle with an intoxicated driver increases your risk of injury, or even death, because you are likely to have a serious accident from impaired judgement and reaction time. Only agree to be a passenger if your driver is completely sober.
When you’re on a motorcycle, you’re exposed and in more danger than in a regular vehicle. Because of that, motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Atlanta, you’ll want expert legal help from Bey & Associates, LLC. We can help you get justice for your injuries and damages so that you can start moving forward with your life. Contact us today so we can start your claim.