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Thread: Suggestions for Car-Sick Prone Passenger?

  1. #1

    Suggestions for Car-Sick Prone Passenger?

    I'll be taking out a friend for her first motorcycle ride tomorrow. She says that she sometimes gets carsick. I'm thinking/hoping that as she'll have full view of the horizon, that it won't be a problem. Anyone have any experience/suggestions?


  2. #2
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    south of Los Angeles
    Motion sickness is often caused by a conflict between our sensory inputs: the eyes don't agree with the ears (our source of balance). Even though a bike provides more inputs, they don't typically conflict with each other.
    Advise her to keep her head perpendicular to gravity (and her spine perpendicular to the seat) - same as the rider. (Not talking "track" here.)
    When I was little, I got carsick sometimes - the doc said Coke syrup (the same stuff used to flavor Coca-Cola) would help, and it did. But a little kid on caffeine and sugar was another issue...
    Dramamine (the OTC sea-sickness pills)?

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Mar 2011

    Thumbs down

    Without sounding sarcastic, leave her home
    Only took one passenger to get sick in the back of my plane, to convince me to ask all who want to fly if their prone to air sickness. Smell never seems to go away

  4. #4
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    I agree that a motorcycle is likely to be different...and better...than being in a car. An airplane is not even in the same ballpark in terms of this problem. IMO...
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    south of Los Angeles
    Another thought: Don't watch "near by" scenery; watch the "far field" instead. The reduced rate of change of the optical input should reduce the sensory conflict. This sometimes works for sea-sickness too.

  6. #6
    All-round Motorcyclist MarkM's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    St. Louis
    I am prone to motion sickness, especially when I was a kid in the back seat of the family car. I never got motion sick riding on the back of my dad's motorcycles. My guess is she will be fine.
    Mark M, St. Louis, '13 R1200GS

  7. #7
    Lacking Dramamine, eating some candied ginger may also help.

  8. #8
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Acworth, GA
    When flying (GA aircraft not airliners) my wife would start to feel nauseous. But never has on the back of the motorcycle. When flying, here's what helped:
    • DON'T look at nearby objects or at the ground
    • Concentrate on items in the distance
    • Good airflow, on motorcyle perhaps the visor of the helmet opened a bit
    • Don't talk about it or keep asking how she's doing
    • Don't overdue it

    We eventually got her (for flying) a small electronic item like a watch that would send a small electronic pulse that she could regulate. She swears it worked like a charm and got to the point of wearing it and not turning it on. There are also wrist pressure bands that work for some people.
    Chris Ehlbeck
    BMWMOA 168990
    Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys

  9. #9
    Club President gsjay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Johnstown Pa.
    had good success with motion sickness armbands.

    they have little nub that press's on the inside of the wrist, hitting some magical stop.

    Worked for my SO.
    Jason Kaplitz
    Johnstown, Pa
    Laurel Highlands BMW Riders #294

  10. #10
    Thanks everyone. The ride went well, and she felt fine. A little nervous, but fine!

  11. #11
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada

    This is a bit off topic but sorta applies.

    My son, would get massively car sick to the point where I thought about strapping a barf bag to his face. I put static discharge straps on the family vehicle. It worked.

    When he got a little older, he wanted to be a pilot. I have a buddy that has a nice little Mooney(?) and we went for a bit of a ride. I had never seen so much puke come out of a little person as I did that day.

    I'm the Dad and I don't know anything so when I encouraged him to keep trying, he was convinced the pilot thing wasn't for him and he would become a bus driver instead.

    I got him on my bikes over the years. No problems. Got another buddy to take him for a wild ride in his HomeBuilt airplane. He loved it. Not a drop of effluent from him. Me on the other hand pretty much crapped my pants when I saw them inverted, doing stalls and the super low fly by's at full throttle.

    The drive to become a pilot revived itself and now he's a First Officer with 2000 hours on an A320. If I knew how much it would cost me for him to become a pilot, I might have encouraged him to be a doctor or a lawyer.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is there doesn't seem to be a great explanation for motion sickness but doing whatever you can to overcome it is worth the effort. Having fun seems to be the key to overcome it in my opinion.
    1997 R1100RT (Restored Basket Case) , 1981 KZ 440 LTD (Restored Basket Case, my baby, fast, fun)
    3xR90/6, two just sold, one for a sidecar. 1983 K100RS (Cafe now)
    Very Rough R80RT. 1987 K1100RS (freaking hooped I think)

  12. #12
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Wife is prone to car sickness, but never a problem when she rides her own bike, or as a passenger on the back. I only ride twisty stuff, and she has ridden pillion in the Alps several times, NO problem.

    Different animal, IMHO.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  13. #13
    Registered User mylanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Cape Elizabeth, ME

    From a Sailor and a Physician . . .

    This is an interesting question and there have been some excellent posts/suggestions. Pauls1150's description of motion sickness is accurate and the suggestions about positioning, ginger, arm bands, and dramamine are good ones with the following additional comments. It's hard to know what type of specific motion will set someone off -- some may get car sick but not sea sick, or vice versa, for example. And motion sickness may vary day to day depending on factors like amount of sleep the night before, dehydration, whether the individual is feeling unwell for other reasons, and whether alcohol was consumed the night previous or earlier in the day. One thing for sure is that for the person who suffers from motion sickness, having it and being trapped in the situation is torture. I suggest that you start with short rides and gradually increase the length. If the passenger does indeed become motion sick, obviously stop and allow them to recover. If they are still committed to riding with you, I would try nonpharmacologic approaches first -- ginger is pretty well tested and works for a lot of people. If you are going to use an antihistamine like dramamine, bonine may be better for some. Regardless, the person should try it on another day before you ride to be certain there won't be any significant side effects. Often, there can be significant drowsiness or "brain fog", which might not be good on a motorcycle.

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