You’ve drooled over your friend’s motorcycle long enough that he finally got the hint. You’ve finally gotten your chance to ride. All you have to do is climb on right? Wrong. Here are five tips to help keep you safe while riding as a motorcycle passenger:

Wear a Helmet

It’s the law in Maryland, and it is common sense. Helmets save lives for both motorcycle operators and their passengers. Decline the ride if an extra helmet is not available.

Hold On

Don’t be shy. Holding on tightly to the person in front of you will help you stay on the motorcycle if the operator takes a sharp turn along Sunrise Highway or has to stop suddenly. It will also keep both you and the operator safe from any sudden gusts of wind on the Capital Beltway.

Stay Still

Riding on the back of someone’s motorcycle is not the same as riding shotgun in a car. Sudden movements by a passenger can greatly affect the operator’s ability to control the motorcycle and may even move the bike itself in an unwanted direction. As much as possible, stay still and in tune with the operator’s body motions.

Watch Your Feet

When available, use the passenger foot pegs to rest your feet throughout the ride. Avoid the temptation to kick your feet out for fun as that may affect the operation of the bike. Also remember to keep your legs away from the mufflers, which can get extremely hot.

Operate the Motorcycle

Wait, what? No one wants to be called a “back seat driver” in a car, but on a motorcycle, a passenger is considered a second operator. This means that the passenger is keeping an eye on the road and bracing for any bumps, stops, or changes in speed. The more in tune the operator and passenger are, the more likely it is that they will enjoy a smooth ride.

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