Blog / Motorcycle

Two-Up Safety tips for pillion passengers in Singapore





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Surprisingly in tightly-regulated Singapore, statutes regarding the carriage of pillions on motorcycles are sparse.

Your pillion must:

  • Be a minimum of 10 years old
  • Wear an approved helmet
  • Sit astride the motorcycle
  • Be seated on proper seat securely fixed to the motorcycle behind the driver’s seat

This relative lack of regulation may be refreshing, but it does mean riders need to exercise judgment when it comes to successfully carrying a passenger. Here are a few tips:

-Riding gear

The statutes only require an approved helmet, which means we get to see all sorts of attire on pillion seats – much of which is completely inappropriate. Women in spaghetti straps or stiletto heels are all well and good, but bare skin, speed and asphalt are not good friends. As with the rider, your pillion should be equipped with gloves, protective jacket, protective pants and boots. Bare skin shouldn’t be seen on a moving motorcycle.

-Pre-ride tips

Pillions don’t automatically know that they should lean with the bike and rider – let them know before you ride off, but stress that they don’t actually need to do anything except sit upright as though they’re part of the machine.

Fidgeting or moving around when underway can be quite unsettling or even lead to a tumble.

Ensure they know what they have to hold onto – it is better if it is you, rather than the grab-rail, because that will bring their weight further forward, and keep them as one with you leaning into corners. It is not advisable to hang off the side of the bike like Valentino Rossi when cornering with a pillion aboard.

Your pillion should also know where their feet should be, and whether there’s a hot exhaust pipe they need to avoid.

They should not mount or dismount until you are ready – an unexpected weight on one pillion peg can be enough to tip you both over.

Finally, they should be aware that they don’t need to take their feet off the footpegs when you stop, or when you are riding.

As communication is difficult when under way, a pre-arranged set of signals is a great idea on longer trips.

-Riding

Because motorcycles are relatively light, the extra weight of carrying a pillion – and the extra weight further back on the machine – can have a dramatic effect on the way your motorcycle handles. Acceleration will be slower, braking will require more distance, and the motorcycle will feel much less agile. Ride carefully with these differences in mind. The extra weight over the rear wheel does mean you can use more rear brake than usual, however.

Sudden acceleration, braking, or turning can be very unsettling for pillions. If you ride smoothly they will relax and enjoy the journey more, plus smoother gearshifts and braking will reduce the frequency of the almost inevitable helmet clashes.

-Bike Setup

Most motorcycles have adjustable rear suspension – spring preload is the most commonly available adjustment, and it will help the way the bike handles if you increase that. If the damper is adjustable as well, more compression damping and less rebound damping will aid in handling too.

-Comfort

Some motorcycles are much better for pillions than others. Be aware that a long journey on a sports bike may approximate cruel and unusual treatment. My partner never rode pillion again after a day trip to and from Sepang for the MotoGP races. Maybe I should have bought that touring bike after all.

-Insurance

As long as you follow the applicable laws, you and your pillion are covered under your affordable Budget Direct Insurance policy.

Stay safe with Budget Direct Insurance Singapore.