In terms of motorcycle insurance, carrying a passenger on the back of your bike is typically known as carrying a pillion.

Carrying a pillion, whether it be a friend or family member can be a great way of getting out on the bike and exploring some never seen before sights. However, before jumping straight in, there are a few rules you will need to follow to comply with UK law and the insurance policy you have set up.

So without further ado - let’s get into it!

What is pillion cover?

When setting up a motorcycle or moped insurance policy, you will be asked if you intend on ever having pillion ride with you. Whether it is just a one-off or a regular occurrence, you will need pillion cover to insure your passenger for personal injuries in the event of a collision.

Failure to add pillion coverage to your policy will cause your policy to be invalidated if you are caught carrying a passenger without the correct insurance. Also, if your passenger is injured when riding on the back of your bike, without pillion cover you will personally be deemed liable.

What are the rules for pillion on a motorcycle?

As well as having suitable insurance, there is a list of other factors you must also follow to carry a pillion correctly and safely. These include:

Can a learner take a pillion passenger?

No. Whether you’re a beginner riding with L plates on a provisional licence, or a seasoned veteran ‘CBT re-taker’ under no circumstances will you be able to carry a pillion.

Does a pillion passenger have to wear a helmet?

UK Law will require both you and your pillion to be wearing safety-crash helmets as a minimum. Whilst a UK Safety Standards-compliant helmet is the only part of the gear you are legally obliged to wear, it is advised that you wear specific motorcycle gear to keep you safe.

Can pillion riders sit with saddle bags?

In order for you to carry a pillion on the back of your two-wheeler, you must have a designated pillion seat and rear footpegs accessible at all times. Typically, saddle bags can be run under the seat and hang down either side of the bike and the pillion area will stay free, still allowing for a passenger.

Am I responsible for my passenger?

The answer is yes. Any passenger on your motorcycle or scooter, whether a friend, family member or work colleague, their behaviour and safety is your responsibility. If your passenger is not wearing the correct gear or misbehaves and causes a collision, you are personally liable.

Does carrying a pillion increase insurance?

Opting to add pillion cover onto your insurance can increase your premium, however, to which degree will vary between insurers. When shopping for a motorcycle insurance quote, make sure to look around and try to find a policy that will suit you and your bike’s needs the most.

Can a child be a passenger on a motorcycle?

Anyone can be a pillion on your motorcycle, whether that be your child, a pregnant woman or even your old man - providing that they wear the correct safety gear and at the very minimum, a protective motorcycle helmet.

Is pillion cover included in my motorbike insurance?

It is worth noting that pillion cover does not typically come as standard on a motorcycle insurance policy, so make sure to check with your insurers beforehand or you may run the risk of having your policy voided and/or having points on your licence.

Key takeaways

So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed by run down on everything you need to know regarding carrying a pillion on your motorcycle or moped.

Remember, you must:

  • Only carry a single pillion at any time
  • Pillions must sit in the pillion seat and have rear footpegs
  • Passengers must sit face forward
  • Both you and your pillion should be wearing motorcycle helmets
  • You are solely responsible for your passenger and their behaviour

Before every ride with a pillion passengers (with the insurance set up!), it is well worth having some ground rules as to what you need them to do as passengers, and how comfortable they are in the seat. For example, a tap on the left shoulder to slow down and on the right to pull over - as well as rules for corners and whether they lean with you or sit firm in the seat. It’s critical stuff to consider before setting off.

Get pillion insurance cover with Lexham!

Last but not least, if you do have your very own motorcycle or moped you need to insure, get a quote direct with Lexham!