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)
- 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?
- 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.