Passenger on a motorcycle dies from wearing a novelty helmet.

The Press Enterprise - May 7, 2012. "(CHP Says) Woman’s helmet a factor in motorcycle death."

"I'm just a passenger."

If I hear this statement one more time, I'm going to cry. However, every passenger I've ever spoken to says this exact same thing.

No, you aren't just anything. You are a rider too. It doesn't matter if you're on the backseat. You are up against all the same obstacles as the driver (cars, other riders, deer, etc). Why should your level of safety be any less important?

The next time you hear someone say this, or if you are the one who says it, please think of Suzanne in the story above and GEAR UP. You need a full face helmet, gloves, a jacket, pants and boots too. And no, you don't have to spend a couple thousand dollars on full race leathers. But you do need protective gear that will save your head from serious injury. A jacket, full face helmet, gloves, boots and pants. 

If you were the driver, wouldn't you feel responsible for your passenger's injuries or worse, their death, if you were in an accident?

A passenger's choice to not wear gear is his/her own, yes. But you are the driver and you choose who gets on and who gets off. And that trumps any passenger's choice.