Going For A Ride On The Back Of Someone's Harley Davidson? A Few Tips For Being A Great Passenger

by Billy Price

If you have a friend who owns and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle, there may come a time when you will be asked if you want to go on a ride with him or her. If you do not have a lot of experience riding on the back of a motorcycle this can be a scary proposition. Before hopping on, there are a few things you need to know that someone who drives all the time may not think to tell you. Knowing how to be a great passenger will not only make the experience more enjoyable for you both, but will keep you safe, too. 


When riding on a Harley Davidson, it is almost impossible to talk with the driver. This means that before the engine starts, you and the driver need to come up with a few signals for communicating. You can tap the driver's hip, knock on his or her helmet, or reach forward to touch an arm where the driver can see it. Use signals to indicate the need to stop, to ask the driver to slow down, or to give a direction if you are being driven to a location unknown to the driver. At a minimum, always have a signal that will let the driver know to stop. 

Starting and Stopping

If there is no backrest, you are going to have to hold onto the driver when taking off. Even if you have very strong legs, and the driver accelerates slowly, the sudden, unexpected movement could have you tumbling off the back. Do not be worried about the driver, he or she will know that you are going to hold on and will make the necessary adjustments to hold you both in place. When stopping, even if you are holding a backrest, you may end up sliding into the driver; you may even bump helmets. Do not worry about this, the driver knows how the force jerks his or her own body and prepares for it. He or she not only has handlebars to hold onto, but has foot pegs to help take the impact of a stop.


All aspects of riding a motorcycle require balance, but none more so than going around corners. As a passenger, you are adding weight to the equation and making it more difficult to stay balanced. The driver is going to lean into the turn and you may naturally lean with him or her. This can really upset the balance and make it harder for the driver to pull the bike back to an upright position. A good practice is to stay neutral. Stay in a position that has you looking over the inside shoulder of the driver. Do not make any sudden shifts in your weight or you may very well end up on the pavement.

Riding on a motorcycle can be fun and exhilarating if you have an experienced driver and follow these simple steps. If you have any concerns about the ride, ask the driver what he or she needs you to do that may be different. You can always give the signal to stop so you can discuss a problem before it becomes dangerous. For further assistance, contact a local dealership, such as Edge Harley-Davidson motorcycles.