Being on a motorbike is a thrilling experience, whether you’re controlling it or if you’re simply along for the ride. Everyone remembers their first time riding pillion and having two people on a motorbike is a great bonding opportunity. But there’s a lot of responsibility for the rider and passenger, meaning you’ll need to consider if you have the right kind of motorbike insurance. Not only is the rider responsible for the behaviour of the pillion, but they need to ensure their safety as well. We’ve put together a guide on pillion cover to make sure you’re aware of everything that goes into riding with a passenger.


What is the law when it comes to pillions?

In order to carry a passenger on a motorbike you need to have a full motorbike licence for the class of machine that you own. Anyone with a provisional licence isn’t legally allowed to carry pillions under any circumstances. In addition, the motorbike must feature a dual seat and rear footrests fitted for pillion use.

There’s no age limit for a passenger, though they need to be able to sit astride the seat in a secure fashion. It might sound obvious, but it’s a legal requirement that a pillion sit facing forwards at all times. The rider and pillion passenger are also required to wear helmets that meet UK safety standards.

Another requirement is that the rider needs to have the correct motorbike insurance to cover travelling with a pillion.


What is pillion insurance cover?

It used to be common practice for pillion cover to be included as standard in all policies. These days it’s more common for insurers not to have it in a policy unless requested. When you sign up for a motorbike insurance quote with us, we’ll ask if you plan on carrying a pillion. If you are then we’ll include it in your policy and you’ll be covered to carry a passenger.

Pillion cover is essential, especially in an emergency situation. If you don’t have the right insurance then you run the risk of voiding your motorbike policy and acquiring points on your licence.


How are pillions covered?

In the event of an injury, pillion passengers have the same right to claim as the owner of the policy. Similar to car passengers, pillions aren’t insured in relation to the vehicle and wouldn’t be able to claim on motorbike damage.

It’s also worth noting that passengers aren’t deemed as a third party when riding with pillion cover. However, if they were to be in an accident and appropriate insurance wasn’t in place, an insurer could deem the cost of the injury as a third party cost.


What’s the difference between car and motorbike passenger cover?

Motorbikes have separate passenger cover while cars don’t. This is due to the added risk of riding with a pillion. Although an argument could be made that the weight of a passenger in a car could affect handling, a motorcyclist is likely to experience more danger. Riders are at risk from the following:

  • Difficult cornering and manoeuvrability due to added weight
  • Alteration to the centre of gravity in the motorbike
  • Harder braking, such as riding downhill
  • Chance of injury from passengers shunting forward when brakes are applied
  • Impact on clutch control


Making sure you have pillion insurance cover can make riding a motorbike much safer when carrying a friend or family member. For more information get in touch with us today.