A pillion is a secondary pad, cushion, or seat behind the main seat or saddle on a horse, motorcycle, bicycle or moped. A passenger in this seat is said to “ride pillion”.
The word is derived from the Scottish Gaelic for “little rug”, pillean, from the Latin pellis, “animal skin”. One or more pelts often were used as a secondary seat on horseback; the usage has carried over to motorcycles.
It is associated with terrorist or criminal attacks in some South Asian countries. In Pakistan, for instance, pillion riding is often banned by local authorities around sensitive times, such as the Ashura commemoration, when there have been violent attacks on worshippers.