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Co-Rider Techniques


Upon completion of this Seminar, you will be eligible for Level II of the GWTA Rider Education Program.

The safety of the passenger is often forgotten or taken for granted. We somehow assume that we, as Riders, have everything under control. Even if we don't, what they don't know won't hurt them. We need to change this way of thinking and involve our passengers more in our riding to help us ride better and safer. This Seminar will attempt to do this.

Clothing: The Co-Rider should wear similar type of clothing that the Rider does. After all, the Co-Rider is exposed to the same if not more weather than the Rider and should you have a "go-down" they are going to hit the same ground that we will.

  1. Helmets should be at least a DOT approved, but Snell is rated best. Full face will protect more than a 3/4 open face or half style, but definitely any is better than none at all.
  2. A shield is very important, even if it is hot when closed. If you don't wear protective glasses, it is mandatory to use a shield in most states.
  3. Leather is best, but even just long sleeve shirts offer some protection. If you buy leather, make sure it is lined and not hemmed. Any covering is better than none. Remember, don't expose any skin that you are not prepared to lose. Aside from the obvious warmth it will give you during the Winter, it will also keep you cooler in the Summer. Don't forget that there is sun and wind burn that you need protection from. Pants can be of denim and you should buy them a couple inches longer than normal as they ride up, when on the bike.
  4. Gloves made of leather and with full fingers, will give you good protection. Deerskin is preferred over cow skin for their abrasion resistance, long wearing and softness, especially after being wet.
  5. Boots or any other over the ankle sneaker will help protect the foot, ankle and lower leg from abrasions, etc.

Riding behind a Rider that is not Motorcycle Safety Foundation trained, could be dangerous. The Rider may think they know what to do in an emergency, but do they really? Your life is in the Rider's knowledge.

Holding this seminar is two fold; one is for you to have a better understanding of what is happening during the ride. The other is for you to push your Rider into taking an MSF course themselves, for both of your sakes. It is a great idea for you also to take the beginners MSF course. This would teach you to know what the Rider is supposed to be doing in front of you.

Motorcycle Orientation: You as the Co-Rider should read the "Owner's Manual". You would be surprised at how many Riders never do. You might even learn that if he says he can't hear you, all that might be necessary to do is turn the intercom dial up louder. Have your Rider show you all of the different controls and explain how they work. Have the Rider put the motorcycle on the center stand and go through the motions. Make sure he tells you not to trust the green light that says the motorcycle is in neutral. Especially learn how to use the "Engine Cut-Off Switch". It uses engine braking and it does not lock the wheels. Understand what the various gauges are for, as well as the levers and which one is the brake and which one is the clutch. Know how to use the C.B. Do you know that Channel 19 or what ever channel the truckers' use in your area, is a better channel to use than 9 when you need help? Not all areas monitor Channel 9. Do you know how to change stations? Are you aware that if either of you press the talk button on the C.B., that anything either of you are saying will then be broadcast over the air? Have the Rider show you how to change the air pressure, so that you can put your feet on the ground if you have to be the Rider. Make sure you know how to release a throttle lock.

Getting on the motorcycle: Make sure that you are not near the motorcycle while the Rider is mounting it. If they drop it, you will be blamed, if it falls over. In most instances, the Rider should hold the front brake when either of you are mounting or dismounting. You should never do either without first informing the Rider first. Remember that in most cases the Rider is holding the motorcycle up with their legs, so be gentle. You should also stay plugged into the intercom until you are off the motorcycle so that you still communicate with the Rider. The parking brake is leaving the bike in gear or with the reverse engaged.

During the ride: Keep your legs "in" at all times. If you want to stretch or shake your leg, tell the Rider first. For comfort sake, the thigh should be level with the ground. Observe the road ahead and look over the Rider's shoulder in the direction of the turn. You don't have to lean, just look. You will actually be sitting straight up, which is what you're supposed to do. You should never lean opposite the lean of the Rider. Both the Rider and Co-Rider should communicate with each other at all times. The Co-Rider should practice keeping their head and eyes level with the horizon. When you look down, you tend to pull your body weight with it and force the motorcycle in that direction. Remember, the motorcycle will go where you look! In addition, it will maintain you equilibrium (balance) and may also prevent dizziness.

Something just happened to the Rider, What do I do now? If the Rider does not feel well before the ride, don't go. It is your responsibility to keep the Rider home if they are ailing. If the Rider feels ill during the ride, stop as soon as possible. If the Rider slumps over while riding, get control of the motorcycle. You must reach the handle bars. You should practice this at home while the motorcycle is on the center stand. Push the Rider forward if possible, stand up if necessary. Engage the "Engine Cut-Off Switch". Try to remain calm. Talk to the Rider, if possible, to get information and calm them, if they are conscious. When you have control of the motorcycle, steer away from the group. Also steer the motorcycle to a soft place (if there is one) to fall over, if possible. You will be falling over! Let the motorcycle fall over at the slowest possible speed. Even though you will have a natural tendency to put your feet out, keep your legs in until after you fall over and stop. Don't worry if the bike sputters when it slows down. If you know how and can reach it, pull in the clutch. If there is a throttle lock or cruise control, disengage them. Squeezing just slightly on either the clutch or brake will disengage the electronic cruise controls. Once you are stopped, try to remove yourselves from the motorcycle. Give your Rider CPR if necessary. If CPR is not necessary, and you have someone call an ambulance, don't you remove the Rider's helmet. Let the Medics do that.

Can this happen to you? You better bet that it can!

If the Co-Rider is a little person, do not tie them to the rear seat. Don't give someone a ride if you have any doubts about them staying in the rear seat.

To end this seminar, let us assure you that the Co-Rider is a very important and unique part of the riding team. They deserve our respect.



For more information please contact:

Mark Hornstein - National Rider Education Director

13950 Herring Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80908
(719) 495-1968 voice/fax
Revised 07/28/97

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