The Motorcycle

Having passengers or luggage on a motorcycle changes how it behaves. The other thing that changes how it behaves is a sudden mechanical failure, like a flat tire.

Luggage

Luggage changes the weight of the bike and its distribution. It make the bike heavier, so it takes longer to stop. Luggage changes the bike's weight distribution, and its center of gravity, affecting how it handles. If you add luggage, it is better to add it as close as possible to the bike's center\, as this reduces the effect on stability. The best place to put luggage is directly behind you, where the passenger normally sits.

Passengers

You must be consciously aware you have extra weight

Passengers increase the bike's weight and change it's balance. With a passenger on board, ride slower, because you can't stop as quickly. This is not immediatley obvious. You must be consciously aware you have extra weight, e.g. take it easy cornering for a while. If the passenger sits directly behind you, it does not affect the centre of gravity much, but if they move unexpectedly, especially in a turn, it can be a problem. When you have a passenger, impress upon them, they do nothing but just sit there. You will drive the motorcycle safely.

If you are a man, and the passenger is women, you may start showing off: speeding, cornering too fast, etc. Its a problem. Try and think "Is she worth my life?". This sometimes helps.

Flat tires

When a tire blows you get a big wobble

When a tire blows you get a big wobble, so hold the handelbars firmly, keep as straight as you can, and slowly slide to the side of the road. None of the normal controls, like braking, work too well, so take it easy, hold it steady, and just ride to the side.

When motorcycles stop

There are many reasons a motorcycle can suddenly stop. Brakes can jam, a chain can brake, an engine can fail, or maybe you just ran out of petrol. Whatever the cause, you have a few seconds to do something about it. The main thing to do is get off the road or highway before you stop entirely. Even on a quiet road, get off it! Roads are for movement. If you are not moving, dont be on them. A road looks quiet, until a car passes by at 80mph! You dont want to obstruct it.

Whether it is jammed brakes, electrical failure or no petrol, doesn’t matter - get out of the traffic flow if the bike slows down

If your motorcycle slows down or stops while on a highway, the problem is even more urgent. You must get to side immediately, even if you are in the middle lane. If you feel the power go, with no response, go for the side directly. Dont wait. Dont worry that other cars might take offense. Stopping in the fast lane is a death sentence for car or motorcycle. Dont hesitate, and certainly dont worry what others think - indicate and get to the side right away. Whether it is jammed brakes, electrical failure or no petrol doesn’t matter - get out of the traffic flow if the bike slows down.