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How Can I Ride Safely with a Passenger?

Colburn Law

Many Washington motorcyclists enjoy riding with a passenger, either on the back of the motorcycle or a sidecar. When you bring a passenger along for a ride, however, there are several safety considerations that you both need to know.

Always Follow the Law

Washington has several laws that apply to motorcyclists and their passengers. For example, everyone who rides a motorcycle in the state must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Additionally, you cannot take a passenger under the age of five on a two- or three-wheel motorcycle.

Failure to comply with these laws could lead to serious injury. Small children and infants could easily fall off a fast-moving motorcycle. Helmets help protect you and your passengers against serious, potentially fatal brain injuries.

Make Sure Your Bike Is Passenger Friendly

To transport passengers safely, it is important to ensure that your bike is appropriate for other riders. Under Washington law, passengers may only ride on motorcycles that meet the following criteria.

  • The motorcycle has dedicated passenger seats.
  • The motorcycle either has footboards or pegs.

You can also use an attached sidecar to carry a passenger. If you are transporting one passenger, he or she should sit in the sidecar. If you are carrying two passengers, the heavier one should sit in the sidecar to avoid tilting over.

Ensure That Passengers Know the Rules

Always make sure that your passengers know their responsibilities before you begin your ride. In Washington, passengers are required to keep their feet on the footboard or pegs at all times. They must also sit with their feet on opposite sides of the motorcycle. If a passenger fails to comply with these rules, he or she could cause an accident.

Avoid Distractions

Operating a motorcycle requires a great deal of focus. Any distraction that takes your eyes, hands, or mind away from the act of riding could lead to an accident. Passengers may inadvertently cause distractions that could result in a serious collision.

When riding your motorcycle, remove as many distractions as possible. Make sure your passenger knows to limit distractions as well.

What to Do If You Are in a Motorcycle Accident

Injured? Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers today

While these safety tips can help prevent collisions and serious injuries, accidents can still happen. A driver or another motorcyclist may act negligently, causing you to slide off the road. Your passenger could act in an irresponsible way and cause a collision during your ride.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident with a passenger, take the following steps to seek help.

  • Call 911. This will bring law enforcement and emergency medical services to the scene. If you can, speak to the officer and collect his or her information.
  • Seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Ensure that your passenger goes to the hospital as well.
  • Document evidence at the scene if you are able. Take photographs, collect witness contact information, and save physical items.
  • Exchange contact, insurance, and license information with any other drivers or motorcyclists involved in the accident.

If someone else is responsible for your motorcycle accident, you could even file a claim against him or her. However, accidents involving passengers could become very complex. In these situations, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. After your accident, schedule a consultation with a Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your next steps.