Motorcycle Pillion Passenger Accident Claims Guide – How Much Could I Claim For A Passenger Accident?

Motorcycle pillion passenger claims accident guide

Motorcycle pillion passenger accident claims guide.

By Fern Easton. Last Updated 5th March 2021. Welcome to our guide on motorcycle pillion passenger claims. A motorbike pillion is a seat or sitting place behind the main rider’s seat on a motorcycle, scooter or moped. Motorcyclists and pillion passengers are more vulnerable to being injured in road traffic accidents than people using cars, vans and other larger vehicles. If you have been injured due to a motorcycle pillion passenger accident, you may be owed compensation for your injuries. Whether your pillion passenger injury was caused by the motorbike rider, another road user, or substandard conditions on the road, you may be able to claim compensation.

If you have suffered a motorcycle passenger injury due to an accident that was not your fault, trust Accident Claims UK to handle your claim for compensation. Accident Claims UK can provide you with a knowledgeable solicitor with up to three decades of experience to handle your compensation claim.

We offer a free personal injury claims consultation to anyone looking to claim compensation for a road traffic accident. Call us on 0800 073 8801, or use our online claims form to reach us. If we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation for injuries caused by a motorcycle passenger accident, we will provide you with a skilled solicitor to handle your compensation claim.

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A Guide To Claims For Motorcycle Pillion Passenger Accident

Motorbike pillion passengers are more vulnerable than many other road users. Unlike people riding in a car, their vehicle does not have an exoskeleton to take on the full force of the impact. Their vehicles are small and narrow, making them harder for other road users to see. The passenger is also dependent on the rider to make the right decisions for them on the road.

We have created this motorcycle passenger accident claims guide for a motorcycle passenger who was injured due to an accident that was not their fault. If you have a child under the age of 18 who has suffered a pillion passenger injury, you can also claim compensation on their behalf. In this guide to claiming compensation for a motorcycle pillion passenger accident, we will explain what sort of injuries they can cause and will advise you on how to make a personal injury claim. We have provided you with a personal injury claims calculator to help estimate how much compensation you could be owed.

If you wish to claim compensation for your injuries, call Accident Claims UK today for your free personal injury claims consultation. Alternatively, use our online claims form to reach us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and speak to you in-depth about your road traffic accident. If you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, we will provide you with an excellent solicitor to handle your case.

What Are Motorcycle Pillion Passenger Accidents?

A motorcycle accident or motorbike accident is when a motorbike experiences a collision with another vehicle, an object, or motorcyclist falls off their bike. Here are some examples of when a motorcycle accident can happen:

  • A motorbike rider loses control of their vehicle and hits a static object such as a lamppost or a tree. This may happen because the rider is distracted or intoxicated.
  • A motorcycle has a collision with a car or another vehicle. This is due to an error in judgement or negligence on the part of the rider or the driver of the other vehicle.
  • Poor road conditions cause the motorcycle to fall or flip. This can include a spillage on the road, which causes the motorcycle tyres to lose their grip on the road.

A motorcycle pillion accident is a road traffic accident in which the motorbike passenger who sits on the pillion (seat behind the rider’s seat) is injured.

Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents And Crashes

Here some of the most common causes of motorbike crashes and accidents:

  1. Left-hand bends on country roads often cause the motorcyclist to veer to the middle of the road to get a better view of what is coming around the corner. As a result, the motorcyclist has left themselves more vulnerable to oncoming cars.
  2. Sadly, when cars emerge from a junction, they often have difficulty seeing the oncoming motorcyclist or find it hard to judge the speed they are travelling at. Unfortunately, that leads to collisions with motor vehicles at junctions.
  3. A motorcyclist can collide with a car when overtaking. Overtaking at junctions, bends, and hills is incredibly dangerous because the rider cannot see if there is a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.
  4. The motorcyclist loses control of their bike. This could be because a substance has been spilt onto the road or because the motorbike rider suffers a rear-end shunt from a motor vehicle.
  5. A motorcyclist can be hit when filtering through the traffic. If the motorcyclist was filtering at a speed above 20 mph or not taking due care, a court might judge them to be partially to blame for the accident.

The Highway Code And Motorcycle Road Safety Laws

The Highway Code states the following rules for motorbike pillion passengers:

  • To carry a pillion passenger, the passenger must sit astride the machine on a proper seat.
  • The rider must only carry a pillion passenger if their motorbike is designed to do so.
  • The motorcyclist must not carry more than one passenger.
  • The motorcycle passenger must wear an appropriate helmet and protective clothing.
  • Provisional licence holders cannot carry a passenger.

Other rules about carrying a pillion passenger include the following:

  • There must be a place for the passenger to hold onto the bike.
  • The motorbike should be equipped with foot supports,
  • The collective weight of the rider and passenger must not exceed the maximum weight for the motorcycle model in use.
  • The rider’s insurance must cover carrying a pillion passenger.

How old does a pillion passenger have to be in the UK? There is not a lower age limit; however, the passenger must be able to reach the foot supports with their feet. If they are under 16, they need a parent’s permission to ride pillion.

Duty Of Care Owed By Motorcyclists To Pillion Passengers

Motorbike riders owe their passengers and other road users a duty of care. This means that they are supposed to take every measure possible to uphold their safety. When they agree to take a passenger on their bike, they assume responsibility for their safety. This means fulfilling the requirements for carrying a pillion passenger and riding in a safe and responsible manner. If a passenger is injured due to negligence on the part of the motorbike rider, the rider could be held liable for any injuries caused.

Motorists who drive cars, vans and other vehicles also have a duty of care. If a motorist causes an accident in which a pillion passenger is injured, they may be held liable for their injuries.

How To Safely Ride With A Pillion Passenger

There are added risks to riding a motorbike with a pillion passenger. First of all, having an additional passenger changes the way the motorbike handles, for example, how the vehicle balances and how the suspension performs. Because of this, the passenger should never shift weight or move suddenly when the motorbike is at a low speed or travelling around a corner. The Highway Code has rules about carrying a motorbike pillion passenger, which we have already highlighted in this motorcycle passenger accident claims guide. There are also steps that motorbike pillion passengers can take to help keep themselves safe, including never distracting the rider, having a suitable means of communication between the passenger and the rider, wearing suitable protective clothing and exercising good judgement about whether or not they believe the rider is fit to ride the bike.

Injuries Caused By Motorcycle Accidents

If a motorcycle pillion passenger accident occurs, the rider can be thrown off the back of the motorcycle, fall off whilst turning a corner, or be hit directly by an oncoming vehicle. Below are some examples of pillion passenger injuries that could be caused by a road traffic accident:


Whiplash is when the head is forced forward beyond its normal range of motion, causing the soft tissues in the neck to overstretch. Can you get whiplash on a motorbike? Yes, whiplash accidents can be caused by another vehicle hitting the back of the motorbike, forcing the rider or passenger’s head forward.

As a result, the person can suffer soft tissue injuries in the neck, shoulders, upper back and upper arms. Symptoms of whiplash can include stiffness and pain, difficulty moving one’s head, tingling in the upper arms, and dizziness. Fortunately, whiplash usually goes away on its own. Sometimes more serious cases of whiplash are treated with a course of physiotherapy. In a rare number of cases, whiplash can cause a permanent disability.

Head Injuries And Traumatic Brain Injuries:

Motorcycle passenger accidents where the victim experiences a blow to the head can result in severe head injuries. If the person does not go to a hospital for treatment immediately, they can experience brain damage. Symptoms of a severe head injury can include unconsciousness, concussion, fits or seizures, blood or clear fluid coming out of the ears and nose, swelling and bruising around the eyes, amnesia, vomiting, difficulty staying awake and poor coordination. If an injured person is displaying any of these symptoms, they should be taken to a hospital Accident & Emergency department for emergency treatment.

If the brain is suddenly altered due to trauma, this is known as a traumatic brain injury. Over the long term, this could result in a person suffering from impaired cognitive functions, including poor memory and poor mood control. Sadly traumatic brain injuries can result in complications such as a coma, falling into a permanent vegetative state, or death.

Neck, Back And Spinal Injuries:

A neck injury or back injury where the spine is damaged can result in the injured person becoming paralysed. According to the road safety charity Brake, road traffic accidents are the number one cause of spinal injuries worldwide.

Road Rash:

Road rash is an informal term for injuries caused by an accident where an injured person suffers from skin abrasions when their skin is scraped along the road. The skin can experience heavy bleeding, or new scars can be opened as a result of road rash. Cyclists, motorcyclists and people who skate or skateboard are vulnerable to suffering road rash.

Broken And Fractured Bones:

A traumatic impact, such as a road traffic accident, can cause bone breaks or fractures. Although these are treatable, they can be painful and debilitating injuries. If the motorbike passenger suffers facial injuries such as a facial fracture, the person may also experience psychological damage and a loss of self-confidence.

Statistics And Facts About Motorcycle Accidents And Casualties

Motorcycles are classed as vulnerable road users alongside pedestrians and pedal cyclists, and statistics show that they’re more susceptible to injury than non-vulnerable road users. The reported road casualties in Great Britain report 2019 revealed that motorcyclists are more likely to be killed than any other road user group, with a fatality rate of 113.3 per billion miles travelled, as the graph below shows.

Motorcyclists fatalities statistics graph

Motorcyclists fatalities statistics graph

Data released by the Department of Transport has shown that when we look at contributory factors to accidents reported in different vehicle types, the most common contributory factor to motorcycle accidents is driver or rider error or reaction. In fact, as the graph below shows us, motorcycle accidents had the highest percentage of accidents attributed to driver error of all vehicle types.

Accidents caused by driver error statistics graph

Accidents caused by driver error statistics graph

Other contributory factors which accounted for a large number of reported motorcycle accidents include the rider failing to look properly (2,133 accidents in 2019), injudicious action (2,022 accidents) and failure to judge another’s path or speed (1,950 accidents). Some accidents may have more than one of these contributory factors.

Although the data from the Department of Transport doesn’t go into detail regarding the rate of casualties for motorcycle passengers, we can assume that a number of these accidents involving motorcycles involved injury to a passenger riding pillion.

Motorcycle Pillion Passenger Accident Compensation Claims Calculator

You can estimate how much you could receive for your pillion passenger injury in general damages using our personal injury claims calculator. The calculator does not include special damages.

Type Of InjurySeriousnessSettlementComments
Neck injuryModerate (1)£23,460 to £36,120Including injuries to the neck such as a dislocation or a fracture which caused immediate symptoms. Chronic conditions may also be included in this category. The claimant may be more vulnerable to further injury in the future.
Neck injuryModerate (2)£12,900 to £23,460Including cases in which a wrenching type injury has happened to the soft tissues of the neck or disc lesions. There may be permanent pain, discomfort or stiffness.
Neck injuryModerate (3)£7,410 to £12,900Including injuries to the neck which exacerbate or accelerate existing conditions in the neck. May also include moderate soft tissue injuries where the recovery may be over a longer period of time.
Back injuryModerate (1)£26,050 to £36,390Instances where residual disabilities to the claimant are less severe than higher categories. There may be a wide range of injuries included within the category such as crush injuries, fractures and compression of the spine.
Back injuryModerate (2)£11,730 to £26,050Frequently seen back injuries such as those disturbing the ligaments or muscles and which could either accelerate, exacerbate or prolong existing injuries.
Fracture of Claviclen/a£4,830 to £11,490How much you could claim depends on how serious the fracture is and how serious the disability is.
Pelvis and hip injuriesModerate£11,820 to £36,770Those classed as moderate, at this level there may still be significant injuries to the hips and pelvis.
Elbow injuriesLess Severe Injuries£14,690 to £30,050Elbow injuries which might impair the elbows function but which does not need major surgery.
Leg injuriesModerate£26,050 to £36,790Including either multiple or complicated fractures or crushing injuries to (generally) a single limb.
Foot injuriesModerate£12,900 to £23,460Fractures to the metatarsal bones which may be displaced. May lead to continuing deformity and symptoms.

Alternatively, call Accident Claims UK to receive a personalised estimate of how much compensation you could claim.

Examples Of Costs And Losses You Could Be Compensated For

If you make a successful claim for a motorcycle pillion passenger accident, your compensation package will be split between these two heads of claim:

  1. General Damages: These are normally the largest part of a personal injury claim. They compensate the claimant for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity they have experienced.
  2. Special Damages: Special damages reimburse the injured person for any expenses or financial losses they have experienced as a result of their injuries. This can include travel expenses, medical expenses, home adaptation expenses, care expenses, mobility expenses or reimbursement for loss of income.

No Win No Fee Motorcycle Pillion Passenger Accident Claims

Good news. If you have legitimate grounds to claim, we can handle your claim on a no win no fee basis. This means that you will only be charged your solicitors fee if you win your claim, so there is less financial risk involved for you. To learn more, call us to make an enquiry.

How Can We Help With Motorcycle Passenger Injury Claims

If, after reading this motorcycle passenger accident claims guide, you believe that you are owed compensation for your injuries, trust Accident Claims UK to help you make your claim. What can we offer you?

The advice and skills of an experienced solicitor to handle your claim.
A promise that we will push to win you the optimum amount of money you are eligible to claim.
The option to make a no win no fee claim.

Contact Us To Claim For A Pillion Passenger Injury

To begin your claim, call us on 0800 073 8801 for your free consultation, or use our online claims form to reach us. If you have legitimate grounds to claim for a motorcycle passenger accident, a solicitor will start working on your claim as soon as possible.

Useful Resources

Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Can I Claim?

Cycling Accident Claims & Advice – How Much Compensation Can I Claim For An Injury?

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Pedestrian Accident?

External Resources

Brake’s Helpline For Road Crash Victims

Road Safety Charity Road Peace provides emotional support for people who have experienced road traffic accidents. They also offer advice on navigating the justice system.

Thank you for reading our guide on motorcycle pillion passenger claims.

Article by HC

Edited by MM.