Carrying A Pillion On A Bike

Under no circumstances are you allowed to carry a pillion while learning to ride.

You may only do this once you have passed your practical riding test. You must provide adequate facilities for carrying a pillion

Footrests and a rear seat are necessary requirements, draping your passenger over the tank simply will not do.!

Show with your pillion what they can hold onto (either the rider or grab rail), and make sure they are sitting comfortably before taking off.

Bike adjustments

Adjust your tyre pressures and rear suspension as per the bike manual. Also, adjust your headlights and mirrors to allow for the extra weight.

With the best will in the world sometimes having a 20 stone pillion may be impractical and not particularly great for the suspension.

Insurance for a carrying a pillion

Check your policy before carrying a pillion. Many companies will ask if you intend to carry a pillion and will adjust your premium accordingly. The same applies for your licence – see our types of licence section.

Keep it smooth

Unless you want to be endlessly headbutted from behind, avoid harsh acceleration and braking.

Indeed, a real indication of how smooth you ride can be measured in head butts!

Be sure to brief the pillion before you set off. Some will try and lean for you, cheerfully wave at cars and fidget excessively while you are filtering.

Also, consider the fact that you might be recruiting another motorcyclist or at the very least portraying the image of one.

Being perched on the back can be quite intimidating at the best of times without the rider nailing it around at breakneck speeds in between a milk float and the local bus. Give yourself more braking distance and allow for harder turning circles.


Make sure that the pillion wears protective clothing which includes the right fitting helmet.

Metal tipped stilettos may look great at the local nightclub but are not so fantastic heading towards your face after an off.

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