Pillion Passenger Questions



At the end of your practical test you will be asked a question about carrying a pillion passenger. It could be any of the following.

Q. What must your bike have to allow you to take a passenger?

  • A proper seat
  • Foot rests for the passenger
  • You could also add that the passenger must have a British Standards Approved helmet

Q. What would you tell an inexperienced person who was going to be your pillion passenger?

  • The correct attire to wear
  • Hold on to the grab rails or the bottom of your jacket
  • Straddle the bike – don’t sit ‘side-saddle’
  • Put their feet on the foot rests
  • Don’t look behind or make hand signals for the rider
  • Lean with you as you take corners or else the bike will want to go in a straight line

Q. Before carrying a pillion passenger what would you consider adjusting on your bike?

  • Tyre pressure – inflate the tyres according to the makers recommendations
  • Suspension – increase the pre-load on the rear suspension to allow for the extra weight
  • Headlights (with a passenger the headlights will point slightly higher)
  • Mirrors
  • Even the chain for a heavy passenger

Q. How would the handling of a bike be affected by carrying a passenger?

  • Longer braking distance. Also, under heavy braking all the weight is transferred forward and the pillion may push into the back of the rider resulting in control difficulties
  • Slower acceleration so look for larger gaps in traffic when pulling out at junctions and roundabouts
  • Steering becomes lighter because there is less pressure on the front tyre
  • Cornering. The motorcycle may lean into a corner more than you think, so you must compensate for this
  • Balance. Especially at low speed, balance is affected

Q. What would affect your balance?

  • Wind
  • Drink/Drugs
  • Poorly maintained machine
  • Additional weight e.g. a passenger or luggage
  • Road surface e.g. wet, painted, manhole covers etc

For an in-depth look at how to ride with a pillion passenger see here.