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passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!?

Posted By: Doug 55

passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 05:49 AM

My friend Rosita took her first ever motorcycle passenger ride today. We went about 100 miles from Bothell WA (Seattle suburb) to Snoqualmie Falls. She quickly became comfortable on the bike ... so comfortable that she nodded off to sleep for a short time now and then thumbsup

We would appreciate any advice from others who have experienced this ... can this possibly be (more or less) safe? Hope so, otherwise we will have to use as much Red Bull as gas to get anywhere!

GS with rider and passenger smile



Snoqualmie falls roaring with high water conditions

Posted By: enfoman

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 10:15 AM

Never a good thing IMO for rider or driver to doze off for even a second unless the rider is safely tucked in a side car and sometimes, that would be questionable. The reason being is that the rider is an integral part of the balance equation on a bike. The center of gravity changes very abruptly in normal maneuvers let alone the emergency dodge outs for critters or cages. Is Red Bull your answer? I don't think so. A good nights rest or even a nice long rest stop may be your answer.
Posted By: Chris K

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 12:32 PM

My wife cat naps behind me on the bike all the time, especially after lunch. I was worried at first but she has never come close to falling and seems to wake up when the bike gets leaned over.
There was a thread on this subject here some years ago and the conclusion was that no S.O. has fallen off while sleeping on the back of a bike. I wouldn't worry about it.
Posted By: johnlt

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 12:59 PM

Not a good idea IMO. Some bikes worse than others. Gold Wing with backrest and arm rests probably the best. No back rest/top box and no arm rests the worst.
Posted By: CVA-42

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 01:23 PM

Another vote for dangerous. On more than one level. How many times have we all woke disoriented from a nap with a start? That's okay on the couch but...
Posted By: tallman

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 01:52 PM

Love those falls, haven't been in a while.

AFAIK, no recorded instance of accident or problem casued by pillion sleeping.
Know plenty of folks who have had the experience.

It is hard for someone who fits between rider and topcase/saddle bags to get off of the bike to begin with.
Most instances of sleep seem to be on non technical roads
where rthe bike is mostly upright.
Posted By: Tri750

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 02:06 PM

I hate to be a wet blanket, but falling asleep on ones first motorcycle ride? That's a pretty thrilling experience for any first timer.
She may have Narcolepsy or suffer from sleep apnea. I would gently bring up the subject if for no other reason her own health and happiness.
Safety is important on the bike of course. You could use that as a lead in.
Posted By: Matts_12GS

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris K
My wife cat naps behind me on the bike all the time, especially after lunch. I was worried at first but she has never come close to falling and seems to wake up when the bike gets leaned over.
There was a thread on this subject here some years ago and the conclusion was that no S.O. has fallen off while sleeping on the back of a bike. I wouldn't worry about it.


+1
Posted By: upflying

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 03:38 PM

Is the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge still there? I had breakfast there 30 years ago and I recall I had to make reservations 6 months in advance.
As far as napping, your passenger becomes 140lbs of unsecure baggage. Not recommended.
Posted By: Smoky

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 04:15 PM

My wife naps behind me all the time. For a long nap, I lean forward, she tilts her head to one side and lays against my back, with her left arm around my waist, and I secure it with my left arm. She needs a nudge to wake up, when I get tired of that position. smile
Posted By: Mike

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 04:50 PM

My wifey doesn't ride with me all that often, but she's snoozed on occasion.

She has yet to fall off.
Posted By: BoisePilot

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 05:10 PM

I have had several female passengers sleep while riding. With a backrest, luggage and assorted gear I think it would have been difficult for them to fall off. When I first told a new passenger that my first wife frequently slept while riding they couldn't imagine doing that until they fell asleep themselves. Never seemed to be a problem. In fact I didn't know they had been asleep until they told me later. I wouldn't want a passenger asleep on twisty roads but long stretches of straight asphalt are boring for everyone. A quick pat on the passengers knee will alert them if you think they need to be awake. All things considered it is probably better if they are awake.
Posted By: CommuterChris

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 05:13 PM

Dangerous, more or less depending on road conditions. My parents have told me more than once about my mom falling asleep on the long haul through the plains states on his Goldwing. However those were long flat and straight roads, plus the GW did have passenger armrests.
Posted By: Twisties

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 05:55 PM

One of the first times we rode with Joe (Coarsegold Kid) and Juanita, over Sonora Pass, Juanita slept. Not only a very twisty road, but the way we found out was that when we stopped we are all talking about the large fire operation, multiple aircraft scooping water, dropping retardant, and a large base operation. She thought we were pulling her leg!

On the other hand, Joe is a remarkably smooth rider.
Posted By: Kathy R

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/10/14 07:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Smoky
For a long nap, I lean forward, she tilts her head to one side and lays against my back,......She needs a nudge to wake up, when I get tired of that position. smile


You are a thoughtful man and I hope you gain great joy from being such a comfort to the one you love.
Posted By: CoarsegoldKid

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/11/14 12:43 AM

Thousands upon 10s of thousands of miles on numerous motorcycles and wifey has not fallen off from sleeping. Nor has she caused any abrupt or odd machine balance issues. I can tell when she is asleep and as mentioned usually on boring highways not twisty roads. She always rides with a back rest.
Posted By: Norm 82

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/11/14 01:46 AM

On several trips from Wa. State, to Ca. my wife never slept... She was too busy pointing to the Speedometer.. thumbsup
Posted By: David13

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/11/14 02:45 AM

First, I have a rule. No passengers.
Second, my attitude about it is it would be ok if they don't fall off.
However, the fact that one never fell off doesn't mean they won't fall, or wake as they are about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way off. it only takes one time.
As to my riding, I never sleep while riding. I don't want to miss the scenery.
It may seem like I am sleeping, but I am enjoying the scenery.
dc
Posted By: Fred C.

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/11/14 03:58 AM

Mark Twain, in his account of crossing the Plains by stagecoach, commented about sprawling atop the roof of the moving coach at night, and sleeping up there. He said if the coach gave a sudden lurch a sleeper would grab the rail and not fall off. "A man will do that." That's what he said. Clinging to the flat roof of a stagecoach would be more of a challenge than to the seat of a motorcycle, I'm thinking.
Posted By: 4wheeldog

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/11/14 04:22 PM

Yup......My wife sleeps back there all the time. Only issue at all is the one time I actually called upon ABS in earnest......She wound up loading onto my back pretty hard, before she caught herself. Hell of a way to wake up, but no harm done.
Posted By: R & R

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/12/14 02:41 AM

Hey Doug. The falls were rockin. Rainy falls asleep frequently but I don't let her snooze after I realize it. Usually pop the brakes and then she's not only awake but back to being alert. She's not just along for the ride but an integral part of the whole shebang.
Posted By: Dieter30

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/13/14 10:53 AM

I could not sleep as a passenger on a motorcycle. This would be to inconvenient for me grin
Posted By: russell_bynum

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/13/14 06:04 PM

Originally Posted By: tallman
Love those falls, haven't been in a while.

AFAIK, no recorded instance of accident or problem casued by pillion sleeping.
Know plenty of folks who have had the experience.

It is hard for someone who fits between rider and topcase/saddle bags to get off of the bike to begin with.
Most instances of sleep seem to be on non technical roads
where rthe bike is mostly upright.


+1

Lisa fell asleep from time to time on the back of the bike. No problem. Occasionally she'd wake with a little jolt, but it was never enough to do anything other than let me know she just woke up. Even if we were lane-splitting at the time, it wasn't an issue.

Honestly, if you're riding so close to the edge that a little jerk from your passenger is going to cause an issue, you've got bigger issues.
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/14/14 12:44 AM

A good friend who rides passenger behind her husband once told me she falls asleep regularly. She did fall off the motorcycle once when it stopped for gas.

There must be some physical (or mental) dynamic the happens when the motorcycle is in motion that keeps the passenger from falling off.


Johnny J
Posted By: Daydream

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/17/14 12:32 AM

Just about every 2 years during Daytona Bike a passenger falls asleep and falls off a motorcycle. They almost always get hurt and sometimes they meet their demise.

Buy a sidecar and your passenger can sleep all they want without worry.

Tom
Posted By: d'Maineac

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/17/14 09:34 AM

Last fall, my daughter was dozing off on her first fairly long ride. I told her the story of my cousin who fell asleep on the back of a motorcycle on his way home from work. He woke up in the hospital with a major case of road rash...

We stopped for coffee.
Posted By: crawfcj

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/17/14 11:56 AM

While it is hard to argue that it is a safe practice, my wife and each of my daughters always seem to fall asleep after a couple of hours. I know it's happening when I start feeling the familiar helmet bump.

I don't know how to prevent my passengers from falling asleep. Straight slabs or curvy mountain roads make no difference. But when I become aware that she's asleep, I make a point of pushing back slightly in my seat so there is a tight fit between my lower back, the passenger, and the top case.
Posted By: tallman

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/17/14 02:13 PM

I've seen riders fall off their bikes at Daytona.

Too much alcohol, too much heat, too little riding...

not representative of this board at all.
Posted By: Doug 55

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/17/14 08:41 PM

Thanks for the great discussion and advice about sleepy passengers ... good that many have experienced it without problems.

I met a very nice couple at a Idaho beemer campout last summer, they had toured all over two up on a 1150GS and Mrs. Nice mentioned more than once the great naps she had on the back of the bike

To be fair to my friend Rose, she "cleans up pretty good" when not stuffed into mostly borrowed / oversize riding gear grin

Posted By: d'Maineac

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/18/14 12:34 AM

I'll be much more comfortable if/when she nods off on the RT. She was napping on the Harley last fall, which didn't have a very wide seat or backrest. I'd be even more at ease if I come up with some kinda velcro thingy that would keep her hands around my waist when she wants to doze off. I understand it can be boring back there at times.

On a related note, my ex-wife has epilepsy. We used to ride all over the northeast until the kids came around. Thank goodness she never had a grand mal on the bike, but she told me she had small ones. Otherwise, I don't think she ever napped while riding.

-Dave
Posted By: upflying

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/21/14 11:52 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Islamic or Muslim countries apparently do not permit female passengers to sit astride a motorcycle. Females must sit side saddle on motorcycles. Wonder how that works should the female passenger fall asleep?
Posted By: 4wheeldog

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 03/22/14 07:32 PM

Originally Posted By: upflying
If I'm not mistaken, Islamic or Muslim countries apparently do not permit female passengers to sit astride a motorcycle. Females must sit side saddle on motorcycles. Wonder how that works should the female passenger fall asleep?


As well as most "Muslims only" rules work out........Not well.
Posted By: drzep

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 04/02/14 11:47 AM

FWIW, unless someone has severe lower extremity neuropathy (up to the groin) or had damage to the lower part of the brain that monitors body position in space, no pillion with a backrest is falling off the bike.

If they do, its because the rider is riding like a goofball.
Posted By: notmyhome

Re: passenger falling asleep... OK or dangerous?!? - 04/02/14 07:32 PM

Imagine making a split second stop with 100 lb+ of unsecured bagage on the back, I say unsafe. Then again my wife talks to me the whole time...distraction?
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