How to Mount a Motorcycle

by Donna Thacker

There is more to mounting or getting on a motorcycle than just throwing a leg over the seat. You should follow a pattern in mounting the motorcycle, both for ease of mounting it and for safety reasons. Learning a few basic techniques for both the operator and the passenger will insure your safety, and will create a much more pleasurable ride.

Operator or Driver

Mount the motorcycle on the side away from the muffler. Most mufflers are on the right, so condition yourself to get on the motorcycle from the left side. If the motorcycle has exhaust down both sides, use caution so that you do not touch them. Even if the bike has not yet been ridden that day it is good practice to assume the mufflers are hot.

Reach out and hold both handgrips as you stand next to the motorcycle. Pull in the front brake lever to insure that the motorcycle does not roll. Hold the front brake lever while you are mounting the motorcycle.

Push the side stand up with your foot, just like you do on a bicycle. Some riders are more comfortable waiting until they have mounted the motorcycle to put the side stand up. This also applies if the bike is resting on a belly stand. With a belly stand, you will need to rock the motorcycle forward so that the belly stand folds up under it. Do not hold the brake if the motorcycle is on a belly stand, as it needs to roll forward slightly.

Keep the motorcycle standing upright as you mount it. Do not lean the bike towards you, as you may not be able to balance the weight as you mount it if it is leaning in either direction.

Holding firmly to the handle grips and front brake lever, keep your left foot firmly planted on the ground and swing your right leg out behind you and up and over the motorcycle seat. Place your right foot on the ground to settle into the seat and to make sure you have good balance on the motorcycle. Turn the key on and start the bike.

Passenger Mounting

Wait until the operator of the motorcycle is on the bike and completely in control of balancing it. Some motorcycle operators start the bike before the passenger mounts as a sign that they are ready.

Approach the motorcycle from the left side. Place your left hand on the rider's left shoulder. This will help balance you and will alert the rider that you are ready to get on.

Step your left foot onto the passenger foot peg. Use one single motion to stand on the left foot peg and swing your right leg out behind you and over the motorcycle seat and down to the right side foot peg. It will seem awkward, but will become smoother with practice.

Never attempt to help the motorcycle operator balance the bike by putting your feet to the ground as you get on. The operator should have total control of the balance.

Do not attempt to swing your right leg to the front of you as you get on. You may kick or jolt the operator causing them to lean or move suddenly. This could cause them to lose the balance of the motorcycle.


  • close Wear appropriate shoes and clothing on a motorcycle.


About the Author

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera black motorcycle image by Yuri Bizgaimer from