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Passenger safety on board motorcycles

When asked to go for a ride on someone else's motorcycle, many residents of Massachusetts might think twice, particularly if they are not experienced motorcyclists themselves. While being on the back of a bike can provide thrills and excitement, it can also pose safety concerns for both inexperienced riders as well as seasoned biking veterans. Staying safe on and around motorcycles is everyone's responsibility, from passengers to operators to other drivers on the road.

Now that spring is here, motorcycles are likely to become a more common sight in the local area. Those who find themselves taking up the extra spot on the back of many bikes can do several things to help avoid a motorcycle accident. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, passengers can consider themselves a sort of "extra driver" in the sense that they can aid the operator in following safety procedures.

While an alert and vigilant passenger can be an asset, the dynamics of having an extra person onboard a bike can affect the way the driver needs to operate safely. For instance, having an extra body aboard means that the driver will likely need to brake earlier or more intensely in order to safely come to a stop. When coming to a stop, both people need to be aware that the passenger may bump the driver In addition, starting from the stopped position may require the driver to exercise more finesse with clutch and throttle. When turning a corner, the additional weight can affect the cornering clearance and drivers may need to demonstrate increased caution when going around a bend.

When carrying a passenger, it's helpful to allow for more space and time when passing another vehicle. Interestingly, the effects of side wind may be stronger when a driver is carrying a passenger, so both drivers and passengers generally need to take weather conditions into account - as always - when riding a bike.

There are many steps that bikers and passengers can take to stay safe on the roads. However, some accidents are unavoidable and either person may end up suffering broken bones, head injury, spinal cord injury or all of the above. Sadly, fatal motorcycle crashes are not unusual when a negligent driver is at fault. A motorcycle accident victim or his or her family can obtain help from a Worcester motorcycle accident attorney.

Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, "Riding with a passenger," accessed April 6, 2016

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