Whilst browsing through the Survival Skills section on Visordown.com yesterday, I came across a question about how to ride with a pillion. The rider was suggesting that his pillion was getting a bit brave and he was now riding roundabouts as fast as he would solo, and was asking if he should stick his knee out as he was now at the kind of angles where he would be “maybe touching it down”.
He got a couple of sensible pointers about warning his co-rider first and that kind of thing but the dangers go far deeper.
I asked some questions:
If you’re cornering so quick you’d normally be getting your knee down, have you thought about how the bike will respond in an emergency? Drivers DO pull out on you – as I’ve said before, roundabouts are junctions and who in their right mind would go faster through a crossroads just for fun?
Even if you have thought about that issue, have you considered that the bike won’t handle exactly as you are used to when carrying a passenger, either in turns or under braking? How would you cope if you hit diesel and slid – a common roundabout issue – or had to swerve to avoid a car? Have you thought about hard braking? It’s difficult for the passenger to cope with anything like the same forces that the rider can – try doing a controlled e-stop with the full weight of the passenger hitting you between the shoulder blades after they’ve lost their grip on the grab rail. You can’t ask the same of the bike loaded as solo.
Whilst your passenger might trust your judgement, is she fully aware of the risks – does she ride herself?
Final point that might influence you – I believe that stats show that pillions generally come off worse than the rider in accidents.