In this story, we will take your attention to a few basic pillion rider etiquettes and pointers that you should avoid while on a ride…

Pillion riding also needs some basic etiquette and presence of mind. In fact whenever you are on a moving object, you should always be wary of your surroundings.

The issues faced by the acts of pillion riders are generally not discussed much. In this story let me list a few pointers that pillion riders should avoid, always!

pillion rider etiquettes
  • The rider knows well where and when to negotiate a turn and he would turn on the side indicators accordingly. As a pillion rider, you don’t have to stretch your hand, thinking that you are actually helping the rider before the rider turns on the indicator. The consequence of this act is that you would create sheer confusion to the rider/driver following you.
  • At times, the rider would have no intention of turning and the pillion thinks that he will take a turn along the road and would show hand signal. But, at the end the rider continues going straight. Again an unnecessary confusion creator!
  • Don’t encourage holding the mobile phone onto the rider’s ear. Remember that you are totally shattering the attention of the rider to a great extent.
  • Sit comfortably without quivering. By these jerks, you make the rider lose his control, thereby creating unnecessary tension for the other riders on the road also. At times of long rides, ask the rider to stop and halt for a while and stretch yourself, if needed.
  • Pillion riders have a sense of responsibility. Don’t distract the rider by your continuous (and sometimes nonsensical) talks. However you can listen to him when he talks (if he must). Talking takes less effort than listening on a motorcycle. A better solution is to use Bluetooth enabled helmets for seamless communication.
  • Neither urge nor prompt the rider to jump traffic signals. I have often seen riders jumping just because of the consistent pestering by pillions.
pillion rider etiquettes

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  • The pillion rider’s legs should never disturb the rider. This has happened with me many times. The rider’s comfort is more important than yours. Think of the uneasiness you cause to him at times of riding a few hundred kms at a single stretch.
  • Don’t get on to the bike by placing your entire damn weight on the footpeg. The rider would lose control, just in case he is not ready to balance and eventually both of you, along with the bike, would fall. While getting down, place your foot on the ground.

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  • Never attempt to get down before the bike stops. Do you think it is stylish to get down on the move? You are risking the rider’s life too along with yours.
  • Lastly, don’t sit idly. If you find that the rider is tired, make him stop the bike; ask him to come out of the riding stress and then continue your onward journey.

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Many of these pointers are my personal experiences. If there is any other irritant you have faced, do mention in the comments section below and we may append that in this story for a wider know-how…


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  1. Lady pillion riders,beware of your dress waving in the air like dhupatta,saree which may get rolled in the wheels.Well tie your dhupatta before getting on to the bike.Keep saree under control.

    • And also their long dress many times covers tails lights and and indicators. These also crate problems for the vehicle coming behind. Though the riders gives the proper indicator but vehicles coming behind could not see that as it is covered by their dress.

  2. i completely agree with Naren what he said……These are actually valid points which the pillion riders shd keep in mind….

  3. One more thing i would like to share is that , happened to me dozens of times .
    When i am with someone the pillion will always say bus is coming , bridge is there , bump ahead, gutter ahead, the bus will stop etc etc. as if he /she has the full control over me and i am not. They think i cant see all these, makes me so uncomfortable when i hear these.

    Thanks for the article will show it to all the friends who travel wit me

    • Yeah bro. Same here. In my case not just on my bike, but in my car too.. The pillion/bydriver just warn me about the oncoming niggles as if he/she is the one who controls the bike/car. Actually, i would have noticed it long before they say, which really gets on my nerves

  4. Hi Naren,
    It seems like you have had some kind of accident recently, and would like the pillion rider to take responsibility (or maybe you are just creating a topic for the heck of it).

    The ten commandments you have enlisted, sounds more like instructions for an old uncle/aunty, grandparent, or for one who has never ridden a bike or for a person who has lost body control/coordination due to some condition. In all these cases the rider made a choice to give the person a lift/ride, hence all responsibility lies with the rider.

    I have only one rule for a pillion rider blend-in with rider and the bike, do not exaggerate any moves, become one with rider and the bike & enjoy the ride…

    It also the rider, who scares the **** of the pillion rider, because of rash riding, or careless maneuvering over speed breakers, ( throws the p.rider of the bike). If the rider is careful, p.rider will become comfortable and eventually blend with the rider & bike.

    Traffic signals, mobile phones, give me a break,, there are many things that can influence the rider and the sole responsibility lies with the rider…

    Having a chat while riding,,, that is all the part of the joy of sharing the moment…


    • The points 4 and 7 happened to me many times. Some pillion riders constantly move without noticing the discomfort on the part of rider. I will hold the tank tightly with knees, hold the handle bar firmly and will try my best to keep the motorbike under control but even then the pillion’s jerks are good enough to wobble the bike.

  5. Another thing to add to it. Never bend or lean when rider is taking a turn especially on curves. It increases the weight on one side, and both of you along with the bike will have a nice fall. Always sit straight while the driver is taking a turn, it helps to maintain the balance.

  6. Hi
    Naren this is a very good article by you. This will help the riders. But You have miss a point that ‘A rider should not cross the speed limit after the more encouragement of the pillion’. But other points are good.

  7. never sit behind a person whom u dont trust although the guy might b a excellent rider , u might b uneasy on the pillion seat unnoticably , it will cause to loss the rider’s controll over the bike. if u r seating behind some body u will have to believe his riding skill otherwise do never seat behind him

  8. good one… I had similar kind of experiences from the pillion rider many times…
    few other points to add to above

    1. “pillion rider should not encourase the rider for over speed”
    2. “Pillion rider should ensure not to put weight in one side”
    3. “Pillion rider should not put more weight on the rider by resting his hands (weight of the body) on the rider. Can rest his hand for support only. Preferably the pillion rider can rest his hands on his own thighs which gives a good balance to the rider.
    4. Pillion rider should not bend backward assuming that he is sitting straight.

  9. Also some times if the pillion rider is carrying some weight like some luggage our so then they should try and keep it in the middle or back because this also causes some imbalance at times on turns..

  10. good points dude..especially the footpeg one…that really irritates me to hell…and I’ve seen many bending down to spit and in the process losing the balance…!!! and another important point which i feel is the side stand…pleople often forget that the stand is still on and make a move which would end up in either the broken stand or the rider losing his balance…!!

  11. Thanks Naren, it’s very good article. Last week I’ve apillion riderin night, he give me some shoks to apply brakes in night because a truck come from front & he seems that I’m taking awrong turn but lastly I’ve control bike & save life. So my advise to riders that while driving plz ensure the psychology of pillion & act accordingly.
    Thanks again
    J.E. Mechanical
    MTIL group Damtal

  12. If an expert rider becomes pillion,he will do certain mistakes listed in tips. By the by pillion rider is not much safer than rider.He has to read rider’s mind and movement of bike… poor fellow . Be compromise with pillion and not loose patience. After pickup a pillion if you feel irritate the whole ride will be in vain.Thank you for tips.

  13. These are a very wonderful advices for pillion rider. Recognition of these advises places both riders in a safe riding mode, thanks for these great tips…

  14. Pillion should take care of their dupatta.

    Talk 2 pillion as some tired people have tendency to doze off when the breeze hits their face.

    Dont make sudden movements if pillion has a cram in leg please tell rider at once.

    As one of the comments read, all riders have the responsibility to make their pillions comfortable and dont ride carelessly their life and safety is the riders responsibility and please encourage pillions to wear a helmet.

    Tell the rider to hold the bike with their legs and watch the road as well so they are not taken by surprise when bike goes over a speed breaker.

    Ladies sitting wearing saris are at higher risk and rider has to be more careful…ideally no one should sit cross on a bike.its not circus.

  15. Good article. Funny thing is all the comments came from ‘riders’. I didn’t see any ‘pillion rider’ comment. So, how do we get the message (of the article) to the pillion riders? Anyone???

  16. One pillion rider was squeezing his legs with mine .it was disturbing my braking. he was indicating me to brake. I know the distance when to brake. In crowded places i request the pillion to show hands because hand signals are given more importance to indicator signals

  17. Well, there is a difference in the pillion seats in terms of comfort and size i.e. the same is different for the rider too. i mean that If its a cruiser kind of a bike its meant to be comfortable for both the rider and pillion but if its a racing or sports bike, which are meant to be for speed handling for te rider and they are not pillion centric bikes, its difficult for pillions. The posture i.e.e bent forward that too with powerful disk brakes….have you ever noticed that sitting behind as a pillion is harder than actually riding? All bikers are used to riding so don’t really have the feeling of how it is to sit behind in especially a sports bike for get about the R1 s and fireblades even R15, Apache etc will do.
    1) you keep slipping forward especially in braking situations and thanks to disk powerful brakes and forward bent postion
    2) seats are uncomfortable and tiny as hell. Eg apache rtr not at all suitable for ppl with big butts i.e. ladies
    3) you either gotta grab the rider or hold in the grab rails really tight for you life.. althout I would reccomend holding the rider in the stomach or the thigh area. to keep the balance and aerodynamics in mind
    these are from my personal experiences, although I m a rider but have experinced sitting a pillion.
    My cousin has RTR and riders kinda rash. the first time i told him I wanna ride, we had to go somewhere, he told me he should drive coz he thinks I wil not be able to ride fast enough to reach in time, He was then suprised to see me riding rash and fast but safe just like he does to show him how it feels for someone to sit behind a rash driver. It scared the crap out of him. although he has being riding regularly for quite some time, he got nervous and told me to slow down


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