Team AckoSep 20, 2021
A motorcycle with a sidecar is an iconic combination. It takes us back down the memory lane as such motorcycles are rarely in sight these days. Adding a sidecar to your bike gives it a unique look and enhances the vehicle's functionality. A sidecar allows you to accommodate an extra pillion rider and carry more luggage. But it also brings its own set of challenges to the table in terms of riding dynamics. Read ahead for some tips to ride a bike with a sidecar in India.
A motorcycle is a vehicle with two wheels, but it becomes a three-wheeled vehicle when you add a sidecar to your motorcycle. The addition of a sidecar changes the riding dynamics of a bike. Therefore, you need to adapt the riding style as per the dynamics of the vehicle.
Here are some tips that will help you to overcome the hurdles you face while riding a bike with a sidecar.
Ride in a straight line: With three wheels fitted on odd planes, it may be challenging to maintain a straight line while riding a bike with a sidecar. To overcome this, keep both your hands on the handlebars and put the necessary effort to ride in a straight line. That means you may have to pull the handlebars constantly. Avoid distractions and look far ahead to make the maneuvers as early as possible.
Use the throttle to steer: A bike with a sidecar on the right side moves differently than a regular bike when you steer to the left or right. If you are turning left, release the throttle and allow the rear wheel to spin slower than the sidecar’s wheel. This way you will have better control. While steering right, open the throttle to allow the rear wheel to spin faster than the outside wheel (sidecar). By modulating the throttle, you will have better control while steering.
Use the brakes: Remember that your sidecar also has brakes. To engage the front brake, use the right-hand lever on your motorcycle. If the sidecar has rear brakes, you can operate it via the bike’s right foot lever. It's better to use both brakes to stop the motorcycle. However, you may use the front brake to drop the anchor in emergencies because the front brake provides more stopping power.
Switch-off two-wheel drive: Some sidecars are equipped with a driving wheel, and you will also have the option to switch to two-wheel drive. Ensure that you use two-wheel drive only in emergencies where your bike is stuck on a loose surface. Do not engage 2WD on firm surfaces because it causes both the wheels (sidecar and bike’s rear-wheel) to spin at the same speed. It can imbalance the motorcycle when you try to steer.
Practice regularly: Lastly, you need to practice regularly to understand the dynamics of a bike with a sidecar. Ride the bike in a safe environment to practice lifting off the sidecar from the ground when steering left. Also, practice with empty sidecar and loaded sidecar to get a feel of riding with and without a pillion.
If you are not careful while riding a motorcycle with a sidecar, the chances of losing control of the vehicle are very high. It may result in an accident leading to damages to third-party property or injury/death of a third party and/or damage to your bike. In such a scenario, a bike insurance policy comes into the picture. A 2-wheeler insurance policy covers third-party losses and damages to your vehicle (Comprehensive Policy).
Apart from following the tips mentioned above, remember that a bike insurance policy is mandatory for all motor vehicles, including a bike fitted with a sidecar. Two types of 2-wheeler insurance plans are available for motorcycles with sidecar: Third party Bike Insurance Plan and Comprehensive Bike Insurance Plan.
Third-party Bike Insurance Plan: Covers financial and legal liabilities arising from damage/loss to third-party property or life. It is mandatory as per The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Comprehensive Bike Insurance Plan: Covers damages to your bike with sidecar and third-party liabilities. Provides broad coverage, including Third-party and Own Damage cover.
Below are the advantages of ACKO Comprehensive Insurance Policy for a bike with a sidecar.
Covers damages to your bike (fitted with a sidecar) caused due to accidents, natural calamities, man-made disasters, fire, etc.
Covers third-party liabilities (property damage, injury or loss of life).
Can opt for add-on covers to enhance the coverage (Engine Protect Cover, Roadside Assistance Cover, Consumables Cover, etc.),
Example: If your bike’s engine is damaged, the standard Comprehensive Policy will not cover such loss. In such situations, the Engine Protect add-on of bike will come to your rescue. The add-on covers the repair costs and reduces your financial burden.
Covers total loss or theft of the insured vehicle.
Riding a motorcycle fitted with a sidecar can be tricky due to the change in the vehicle's dynamics. You may need to adapt some new skills to ride such a bike. But once you have enough practice and follow the tips mentioned above, you can easily ride a bike with a sidecar.
Remember that a bike with a sidecar has three wheels, and that should give you an idea about how the vehicle behaves in different riding conditions. Lastly, insure your motorcycle with a Comprehensive Insurance Policy for broad coverage for your bike. You can instantly purchase the policy online on the ACKO website/app within a few minutes.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycles with a sidecar.
Is it safe to ride a bike fitted with a sidecar?
Yes, it is safe to ride a motorcycle with a sidecar, provided the sidecar is fitted correctly and you have the skills to handle such a vehicle.
Do I need to buy a separate insurance plan for the sidecar?
No, you need not buy an individual insurance plan for a sidecar. The bike insurance policy will cover the entire vehicle (Comprehensive Plan), including the sidecar. However, while purchasing the policy, you need to inform ACKO that the motorcycle is fitted with a sidecar.
What is the use of a sidecar in a motorcycle?
With a sidecar fitted to your bike, you can carry cargo or accommodate an extra pillion rider. But note that the pillion rider should also wear the necessary safety gear to ride in a sidecar.
Why do I need to use the throttle to steer the motorcycle with a sidecar?
It's better to use the throttle while steering the bike with a sidecar to avoid any imbalance. If both wheels spin at the same speed, the motorcycle may topple. To avoid such a scenario, you need to modulate the throttle and vary the speed of the wheels.
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