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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor State of California Dale E. Bonner, Secretary Business, Transportation and Housing Agency George Valverde, Director Department of Motor Vehicles
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DisclaiMer ....................................ii Where to Write ...........................ii DMV iNForMatioN .....................1 iNtroDUctioN ..........................2 tWo-Wheel Vehicle oPeratioN ...2
Motorcycles ...................................2 Motor-Driven Cycles ......................2 Motorized Bicycles ........................3 Motorized Scooter .........................3 Keeping Your Distance ................13 Lane Positions ..........................13 Following Another Vehicle ........14 Being Followed ........................14 Passing and Being Passed ......15 Passing.....................................15 Being Passed ...........................15 Lane Sharing ............................16 Merging Cars ...........................16 Cars Alongside .........................16 Search, Evaluate, and Execute (SEE) ..........................17 Search ......................................17 Evaluate ....................................17 Execute.....................................17 Intersections ................................18 Blind Intersections....................18 Passing Parked Cars ................19 Parking at the Roadside ...........20 Increasing Visibility ......................20 Clothing ....................................20 Headlight ..................................20 Turn Signals ..............................21 Brake Light ...............................21 Using Your Mirrors ....................22 Head Checks ...........................22 Horn ..........................................23 Riding at Night .........................23 Collision Avoidance .....................23 Quick Stops ..............................24 Swerving or Turning Quickly ...................................24 Cornering .................................25 Handling Dangerous Surfaces.....26 Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles ..............................26 Slippery Surfaces .....................27 Railroad or Trolley Tracks and Pavement Seams...................28 Grooves and Gratings ..............28 Mechanical Problems ..................28 Tire Failure ................................28 Stuck Throttle ............................29 Wobble .....................................29 Chain Problems ........................30 Engine Seizure .........................30
liceNse reQUireMeNts ..............3
Earning Your License.....................4 Basic Rider Course .......................4 Application Requirements — All Drivers ...................................4 Minors’ M1/M2 Permit Requirements .............................5 Minors’ M1/M2 License Requirements .............................5 Adults’ M1/M2 Permit Requirements .............................5 License Requirements — All Drivers ...................................5 Motorcycle Skills Test ....................6
PrePariNG to riDe ....................7
Wearing the Right Gear.................7 Helmet Use.................................7 Helmet Selection ........................7 Eye and Face Protection ............8 Clothing ......................................8 Know Your Motorcycle ...................9 The Right Motorcycle .................9 Get Familiar with the Motorcycle Controls.................9 Check Your Motorcycle .............10 Know Your Responsibilities..........10
riDe WithiN YoUr aBilities ....... 11
Basic Vehicle Control ................... 11 Body Position ........................... 11 Shifting Gears........................... 11 Braking .....................................12 Turning ......................................12
Animals .......................................30 Flying Objects..............................30 Getting Off The Road...................30 Carrying Passengers and Cargo ........................................31 Equipment ................................31 Instructing Passengers ............31 Riding With Passengers ...........32 Carrying Loads .........................32 Group Riding ...............................32 Keep the Group Small ..............32 Keep the Group Together .........33 Keep Your Distance ..................33
BeiNG iN shaPe to riDe ............ 34
Blood Alcohol Concentration .......34 Alcohol and the Law ....................35 Minimize the Risks ......................35 Fatigue ........................................35
MotorcYcle iNsUraNce Facts ................................. 35 eVaDiNG a Peace oFFicer .......... 36 treaD liGhtlY! ....................... 36
This handbook is only a summary of the laws and regulations. DMV, law enforcement, and courts follow the full and exact language of the law contained in the California Vehicle Code. You may buy a copy of the California Vehicle Code at any DMV office or visit our website at www.dmv.ca.gov.
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Department of Motor Vehicles Customer Communications Section MS H165 PO Box 932345 Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
© Copyright, Department of Motor Vehicles 2010 All rights reserved. This work is protected by U. S. Copyright Law. DMV owns the copyright of this work. Copyright law prohibits the following: (1) reproduction of the copyrighted work; (2) distribution of copies of the copyrighted work; (3) preparation of derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (4) displaying the copyrighted work publicly; or (5) performing the copyrighted work publicly. All requests for permission to make copies of all or any part of this publication should be addressed to: Department of Motor Vehicles Legal Office MS C128 PO Box 932382 Sacramento, CA 94232-3820
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dmv. toll free. and sample tests • Senior driver information • Teen driver information • Links to other state and federal agencies • Renew your driver license or vehicle registration with the Renewal Identification Number (RIN) provided on your renewal notice • Call 1-800-777-0133 during normal – Renew your vehicle registration using a check. but the significant contribution by the advertising sponsors is most appreciated. with DMV services. to 5 p. to 5 p. Thursday.gov for: • Field office locations. helps defray the printing costs of this publication. – Find office locations and • TTY hours.ca. If you would like to advertise in this publication. Go online at www.m. or credit business hours to: card. on Wednesday. Tuesday. forms. instead of your fees. on Monday. – Make an office appointment.DMV offices are open 8 a. 1-800-368-4327 for assistance – Speak to a DMV representative. ment. DMV iNForMatioN -1- . and phone numbers • Making appointments (except for commercial driving tests) • Ordering personalized plates • Driver license and identification card information • Vehicle/vessel registration information • Downloadable forms • Publications—handbooks. directions. – Access DMV’s voice recognition system.m. The products and services provided by the advertising sponsors are not promoted or endorsed by DMV. and Friday and from 9 a. Only typed • Call 1-800-777-0133 for automated messages from another TTY are service 24 hours a day. 7 days a received and responded to at this week to: number. Advertising sponsorship. A few offices offer only driver license or vehicle registration services.m. Go online or call the toll-free number below to find the office locations and service options of an office near you.m. and publications. brochures. You will need to have the – Get driver license and vehicle Renewal Identification Number registration information. please call the Office of State Publishing Advertising Department at 1-866-824-0603. – Persons with speech or hearing – Make a driving test appointimpairments can call. provided on your billing notice. hours. debit card.
California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). The MSF. registration. safe driving rules.iNtroDUctioN This handbook supplements the California Driver Handbook concerning traffic laws. bicycle path or trail. When using this handbook. and operation requirements. or bicycles with a motor attached. motordriven cycles. various motorcyclist enthusiast groups. Do not ride a moped on a freeway. motor-Driven cycles A motor-driven cycle is: • A motorcycle with a 149 cc or less engine size. This supplement provides information for both novice and experienced drivers of two-wheel vehicles. California Highway Patrol (CHP). or motorized bicycle. Portions of this handbook which deal with safe driving practices (rather than traffic laws) were developed initially by the National Public Services Research Institute in cooperation with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) all agree that improved licensing. remember that it is only a summary of the laws and regulations. and similar vehicles may fall within the definition of motorcycle. hiking trail. and courts follow the full and exact language of the law contained in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). tWo-Wheel Vehicle oPeratioN The basic rules of the road contained in the California Vehicle Code apply to all two-wheel vehicles which include motorcycles. licensing. Study the California Driver Handbook as well as this supplement. If any of these vehicles are operated on a highway. along with quality motorcycle rider education and increased public awareness. motorcycles A motorcycle: • Has a seat or saddle for the rider and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels. law enforcement. Minibikes. if required. DMV. trail bikes. NOTE: You may not operate a motor-driven cycle on a freeway if -2- . tote-goats. Any person registering a motorcycle is required to obtain a Class M1 or M2 driver license prior to operating the vehicle. has the potential to reduce the number and severity of motorcycle collisions. or recreational trail unless that path or trail is on or next to a road or permission to use the trail or roadway is granted by local law. and driver licenses. mopeds. they must meet applicable equipment. motor-driven cycle. equestrian (horse) trail.
and • The options of having: – a driver seat which cannot interfere with the operator’s ability to stand and ride. motorizeD scooter motorizeD Bicycles There are two definitions of motorized bicycle (moped). A motorized bicycle is: • A two. handlebars. Be careful of bicyclists using the lane. A motorized scooter is defined as any two-wheeled “device” with: • A motor. motor-driven cycle. NOTE: A motorized scooter may be driven with any class driver license. with or without pedals for human propulsion. • Class M2—You may operate any motorized bicycle. or motorized scooter and all vehicles listed under Class M2. NOTE: The permit and license requirements in this handbook pertain to two-wheel vehicles and are referenced in Section 12804. A motorized scooter may not be used to take a Class M1 or M2 skills test. (CVC §406[a]) • A vehicle with pedals and an electric motor (not more than 1. you: • Must be 16 years of age or older. moped. (CVC §406[b]) If you operate a motorized bicycle which meets the definition of CVC §406(b). The motorized scooter’s exhaust system must not be modified or altered.9 of the California Vehicle Code. liceNse reQUireMeNts California issues the following license classes for two-wheel vehicle operation: • Class M1—You may operate any two-wheel motorcycle. (CVC §12804. and a floorboard for standing on when riding.000 watts) which cannot be driven at speeds of more than 20 mph on level ground even if assisted by human power.9) You may ride a moped in a bicycle lane at a reasonable speed.or three-wheeled device. and moped plate requirements. – a motor producing less than two gross brake horsepower and an automatic transmission. capable of no more than 30 mph on level ground. and equipped with: – fully operative pedals for human propulsion. – an electric motor. or a -3- . • Are exempt from the motor vehicle financial responsibility. driver license. • Must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet. – the ability to be powered by human propulsion.signs are posted to prohibit motordriven cycle operation.
• Pass a test(s) on traffic laws and signs for the class of license you now have unless you have taken the test(s) within the prior twelve months. DMV’s licensing exams are designed to be scored objectively. To obtain an instruction permit to operate an M1/M2 vehicle on public roads. practices. several years. The on-cycle skill test is conducted in either an actual traffic environment or in a controlled off-street area. Motorcycle law tests and skill tests are required.bicycle with an attached motor. • Pay the required application fee. you must pass a knowledge test and an on-cycle skill test. • Have your picture taken.ca-msp. application requirements — all Drivers earning your license Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. For more information you may contact CMSP at 1-877-RIDE411 or visit www. You may obtain a Class M1 or M2 license at any DMV office which provides driver license services. -4- . Testing two-wheel vehicle operators is the best measurement of the skills necessary to operate safely in traffic because people often overestimate their own abilities. • Give a thumb print and signature. This course offers hands-on motorcycle skill training for novice and returning riders. NOTE: Class C licensees may operate a motorcycle with a side car attached or a three-wheel motorcycle. CMSP has trained thousands of riders over the past These are the requirements if you already have a basic class driver license. NOTE: The Class M1/M2 permit does not allow you to carry passengers and you must ride during daylight hours only and not on a freeway. and ideas from this handbook.org. To obtain your license. The DMV motorcycle skills test is waived upon completion of the Basic Rider Course and submission of the Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL 389). or a motorized scooter. • Pass an eye exam. Refer to the California Driver Handbook for basic class driver license requirements. Basic riDer course Motorcycle applicants are encouraged to enroll in the Basic Rider Course offered by the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). you must: • Submit a completed DMV application form (DL 44 or DL 44C). • Pass an additional law test on motorcycle driving rules. Knowledge test questions are based on information.
you must: • Complete the requirements listed above. • Provide a Completion of Motorcycle Training certificate (DL 389) from an approved CHP motorcycle rider training course. you must: • Complete the application requirements. • Be 18 years of age. Check with your insurance company to see if you qualify for a reduced rate. ca-msp. • Pass a road test. Additionally. the knowledge and skills you learn in this motorcycle rider training course may help you avoid a serious injury or a fatal collision. • Have your parents’ * signatures on the application form. DL 388A. or all legal guardians unless only one legal guardian has custody. • Pass a DMV skill test or present a Completion of Motorcycle Training Certificate (DL 389) to waive the skill test. (DL 387.minors’ m1/m2 permit requirements To obtain a Class M1/M2 permit. your insurance cost may be reduced. -5- . license requirements — all Drivers minors’ m1/m2 license requirements To obtain a Class M1/M2 license. DL 388.org. if you are applying for a Class M1/M2 license only. or OL 238). or older. OL 237. If you complete this motorcycle training course and submit a valid DL 389. Applicants under 21 years of age are required by law to provide a DL 389. The skill test is waived for any person presenting a valid DL 389. To obtain a Class M1/M2 license. aDults’ m1/m2 permit requirements To obtain a Class M1/M2 instruction permit. you must: • Complete the application and permit requirements listed above. Motorcycle training courses are located throughout California. NOTE: If you are 21 years of age or older. call 1-877-RIDE-411 or visit www. you must: • Be 15 ½ years of age and bring proof you have finished both driver education and driver training. * The term parents means both custodial parents unless only one parent has custody. For more information and to locate the nearest training site. This motorcycle training course is highly recommended. • Be at least 16 years old. you can attend a CHP approved motorcycle training course. • Complete the application requirements.
At the end of the row of cones you will begin the circle ride. begin the circle ride twice in a counterclockwise direction or by turning right into the circle tracking path. At the end of the tracking path. you will weave through a row of five traffic cones. • Circle Ride – Ride around the circle twice in a clockwise direction keeping the front wheel within the tracking path. • Gear Shift Ride – Ride in a straight path. shifting gears up. return to the starting point weaving once more through the row of five cones. which include tracking paths (the area within and including the tracking lines): • Serpentine Ride – Beginning on the right of the first cone. shifting gears up.motorcycle skills test Basic vehicle control skills are included in the motorcycle skills test to determine your ability to maneuver in normal traffic situations. You will be asked to identify nine items on your motorcycle before the actual riding portion of the test. then down. • Slow Ride – Ride slowly between two parallel lines keeping the front tire within the tracking path. The items you will be asked to identify are the: • Starter • Kill switch • Clutch • Throttle • Gear selector • Dimmer switch • Brakes • Turn signals • Horn The motorcycle skills test allows the rider to demonstrate his/her ability to control the motorcycle through several skills tests. -6- . The motorcycle skills test is a pass/fail test. You will be asked to demonstrate the following four skills. complete a U-turn and return. then down and end in a smooth stop at the starting point.
PrePariNG to riDe What you do before you start a trip goes a long way toward determining whether you’ll get where you want to go safely. Helmet Selection There are two primary types of helmets which provide two different levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. Helmet Use Collisions can occur—particularly among new riders. Before starting any trip. • Protective clothing. you get the most protection by making sure the helmet: • Meets U. Many collisions result in head or neck injuries with head injuries being far more common. Research shows that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal motorcyclist injuries and that with few exceptions.S. Wearing the right gear When you ride. motordriven cycle. • Check the motorcycle equipment. All operators and passengers must wear an approved safety helmet when riding on a motorcycle. if you are wearing a helmet you are three times more likely to survive a head injury than if you aren’t wearing one. motorized bicycle. or motorized scooter. In any collision. your gear is “right” if it protects you. • Wear the right gear. • An approved helmet lets you see as far to the sides as necessary. Here are some facts to consider. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state safety standards. • Most collisions happen on short trips (less than five miles long) just a few minutes after starting out. Whichever style you choose. • Be a responsible rider. a safe rider makes a point to: • Become familiar with the motorcycle. At these speeds. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury when you wear: • An approved helmet. • Face or eye protection. No matter what your speed in a collision. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a collision occurs. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. Unsafe Helmet Interior Safe Helmet Interior -7- . head and neck injuries are reduced by properly wearing an approved helmet.
loose padding or frayed straps. Goggles protect your eyes.• Has the DOT lettering on the back of the helmet for your safety. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. dirt. Keep your helmet securely fastened on your head when you ride. • Be resistant to punctures. debris. it’s likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. Glasses won’t keep your eyes from watering. A windshield is not a substitute for a face shield or goggles. nor will eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Give a clear view to either side. Eye and Face Protection A plastic shatter-resistant face shield can help protect your whole face in a collision. if needed. The heels should be short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. but still allow you to move freely. Clothing The right clothing protects you in a collision. Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. • Jacket and pants should cover arms and legs completely. you can devote your full attention to the road. • Permit air to pass through. even on summer days. as well as protection from heat. but they don’t protect the rest of your face as a face shield does. rain. Soles should be made of hard. to reduce fogging. cold. -8- . Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. It also provides comfort. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. if you are involved in a collision. and the hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. slip-resistant material. If you don’t have to deal with these types of problems. all the way around. insects. dust. • Fasten securely. Leather or a sturdy synthetic material offers the most protection. so it does not blow off. Otherwise. durable. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. and pebbles thrown up from the vehicles ahead. • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Boots or shoes should be high and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and support them. To be effective. NOTE: The DOT lettering should not be a stick-on label or easily removed. and they might blow off when you turn your head. It also protects you from wind. • Fits snugly. eye or face shield protection must: • Be free of scratches. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. • Has no obvious defects such as cracks.
and turn signals. brake light. • Headlight. • Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. Get Familiar with the Motorcycle Controls Be completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. your clothes should keep you warm and dry. To make sure that your motorcycle won’t let you down: • Start with the right motorcycle for you. • A horn and two mirrors. • Check the motorcycle before every ride. your street-legal motorcycle must have: • Tires with sufficient tread for safe operation. take turns more slowly. • Find out where everything is. and engine cut-off switch. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. horn. -9- . and leave extra room for stopping. • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. At minimum. as well as protect you from injury.• Gloves allow a better grip and help protect your hands. • Read the owner’s manual first. • Know the gear pattern. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. • Front and rear brakes. You should be able to find them without having to look for them. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. fuel-supply valve. taillight. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. In cold or wet weather. particularly the turn signals. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. headlight switch. The Right Motorcycle First. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. make sure your motorcycle “fits” you. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. Good-quality rain suits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. Work the throttle. Your motorcycle should not be one of them. wrists. All controls react a little differently. Accelerate gently. knoW your motorcycle There are many things on the highway that can cause you trouble. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb. and waist. If you use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the safety and maintenance checks you would on your own motorcycle.
When properly adjusted. fasteners. check the following items at least once a week: Wheels. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. and tread. • Fluids—Oil and fluid levels. Most often in traffic. cables.) Remember that more than half of all collisions occur on motorcycles ridden by riders with less than six months experience.Check Your Motorcycle A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams work.10 - . a mirror may show the edge of your arm or shoulder—but it’s the road behind and to the side that is most important. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. • Mirrors—Clean and adjust both mirrors before starting. Once you are on the motorcycle. • Brakes—Try the front and rear brake levers one at a time. If something is wrong with the motorcycle. most people involved in a collision can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. Collisions are fairly common among new riders. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle—Make sure they work smoothly. • Horn—Make sure the horn works. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. Make sure all lights work properly. There . In fact. knoW your responsiBilities “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone’s fault or negligence. that is not the case. • Turn Signals—Turn on both right and left turn signals. In addition to the checks before every trip. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. The throttle should snap back when you let go. (No matter how experienced you may be. • Headlights and Taillight— Check them both. Make the following checks before every ride: • Tires—Check the air pressure. The clutch should feel tight and smooth. preferably in a controlled area. Get familiar with any motorcycle that is new to you. At a minimum. general wear. Blame doesn’t matter when someone is injured in a collision. • Brake Light—Try both brake controls and make sure each one turns on the brake light. you’ll want to find out about it before you get in traffic. and fluids. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind and as much as possible of the lane next to you. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak.
Basic vehicle control Body Position To control a motorcycle well: • Posture—Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. Start with your right wrist flat so you won’t accidentally use too much throttle.is rarely a single cause of any collision. . and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. and ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. Also. don’t point your toes downward—they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. being followed. Shifting Gears There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Bending your arms permits you to press on the handlebars without having to stretch. You learn this only through practice and by knowing your abilities and riding within them. any collision. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. brake light. This allows you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. Also. turn- riDe WithiN YoUr aBilities This handbook cannot teach you how to control direction. passing. Keep your feet near the controls. Don’t drag your feet or you could be injured and lose control of the motorcycle. • Identify and separate multiple hazards. • Feet—Keep your feet firmly on the footpegs for balance. Use the proper signals. The ability to be aware. • Communicate your intentions. Allow yourself enough space when following. • Seat—Sit far enough forward so your arms are slightly bent when holding the handlegrips. or balance. • Hands—Hold the handlegrips firmly. use your headlight. you can’t be sure that others will see you or yield the right of way. lane sharing. It is up to you to keep from being the cause of. • Knees—Keep your knees against the gas tank to help with your balance as you turn the motorcycle. make critical decisions. • Be prepared to act. or an unprepared participant in. • Maintain an adequate space cushion. and lane position. Wear proper clothing. Look at least 10 to 15 seconds ahead. To reduce the chances of a collision: • Be visible. adjust the handlebars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. As a rider.11 - . • Scan your path of travel. Remain alert and know how to carry out proper collision-avoidance skills. speed. and being passed.
Work toward a smooth. Turn only your head. some of the traction is used for cornering and less traction is available for stopping. When you lean the motorcycle. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. Also. Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear brake. even clutch release especially when downshifting. sometimes you may need to shift while in the turn. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear brake can cause the brakes to lock and result in control problems. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. • If you know the technique. It is best to change gears before starting a turn. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. Use four steps for better control: 1. Look—Look through the turn to where you want to go.ing. Braking Your motorcycle has two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. Remember to shift smoothly because a sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid.) Turning Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. However. which you may need in an emergency. if necessary. not your shoulders. .12 - . Use caution and squeeze the brake lever. using both brakes in a turn is possible. • Some motorcycles have integrated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together when you apply the rear brake pedal. When they can’t hold the turn. Remain in first gear while stopped so you can move out quickly if needed. Approach turns and curves with caution. Or. never “grab” it. applying both brakes. (Consult your owner’s manual. Slow—Reduce your speed before the turn by closing the throttle and. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to slow to downshift safely. although it should be done very carefully. Use both brakes at the same time. The front brake is safe to use when you use it properly. or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. Ride slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear or the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. Using both brakes for “normal” stops permits you to develop the proper habit and skill of using both brakes properly. REMEMBER: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. they overreact and brake too hard causing a skid and loss of control. 2.
• Communicate your intentions. lane positions keeping your Distance The best protection you can have is distance—a “cushion of space”—all around your motorcycle. 3. the motorcycle must lean. In general. Roll—Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. In normal turns. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more.13 - . Change your lane position as traffic situations change. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel. . Position yourself in the lane that allows the most visibility and space around you.and keep your eyes level with the horizon. • Space to maneuver. the rider should keep his/her body straight and only lean the motorcycle. • Provide an escape route. If vehicles are on both sides of you. Select the appropriate lane position to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more visible to others on the road. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. • Avoid others’ blind spots. as indicated in the illustration. • Protect your lane from other drivers. If someone else makes a mistake. Press right—lean right—go right. 4. the center of the lane (path 2) is usually the best option. Press left—lean left—go left. To lean the motorcycle. Press—To turn. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. Ride in paths 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left side. Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. • Help you avoid wind blasts from other vehicles. there is no “best lane position” for riders in which to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. In slow tight turns. Lane Positions In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. distance gives you: • Time to react.
A two-second following distance gives you a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve. motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars. Following Another Vehicle “Following too closely” (tailgating) could be a factor in collisions involving motorcyclists. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead of you passes the marker.14 - . This will make it easier to get out of the way if a driver behind you is traveling too quickly or the vehicle ahead starts to back up. Unless the road is wet. It also gives you a better view of potholes and other road hazards. you should maintain a two-second following distance. But remember that most drivers don’t look at their side view mirrors as often as they check the rearview mirror. one-thousand-two. To gauge your following distance: • Ahead of you. your image should be in the middle of the driver’s rearview mirror—where he/ she is more likely to see you. or someone may squeeze in front of you. the driver may see you in his/her side view mirror. When you are stopped. Normally. So if the traffic situation allows.” • If you reach the marker before you reach “two. Open up a threesecond or more following distance when the pavement is slippery. . You can ride just to the left or right of the oily strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane. the average oily center strip permits adequate traction on which to ride safely. Being Followed When you speed up to lose a tailgater. You will need a larger space cushion if your motorcycle takes longer than normal to stop. If you ride in the center portion of the lane. keep well behind the vehicle ahead of you. count off the seconds: “one-thousand-one. In traffic. ride where the driver can see you in his/her rearview mirror. Try to travel in the most heavily traveled portion of the traffic lane (path 1 or 3) where other vehicles tires have traveled. Avoid riding on oil and grease buildups which are usually found at busy intersections or toll booths. or traffic is heavy. you only end up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. if the driver ahead stops suddenly.The oily strip in the center portion of the lane is usually no more than two feet wide. If you ride in the left or right portion of the lane. or you cannot see through the vehicle ahead.” you are following too closely. the center lane position is usually the best place for you to be seen by the driver ahead and to prevent lane sharing by others. pick out a marker such as a pavement marking or lamp post. When behind a vehicle.
Being Passed When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle. Passing 1. But if the tailgater doesn’t pass. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. When safe. Ride through the driver’s blind spot as quickly as possible. Ride in the left portion of your lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. It might invite the other driver to move back into your lane too early. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you which will allow space for both you and the tailgater to stop. If you can’t do this. Avoid being hit by: • The other vehicle—A slight mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe. • Objects thrown from windows—Even if the driver knows you are there. . This will also encourage the tailgater to pass. Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle. Remember. Select a lane position that doesn’t crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane.A better way to handle tailgaters is to allow them to pass you. • Blasts of wind from larger vehicles—They can affect your control. Passing and Being Passed Passing and being passed by a larger vehicle is not much different than with a smaller passenger vehicle. passing must be completed within posted speed limits. You have more room for error if you are in the middle portion of the lane when hit by this blast than if you are on either the left or right portions of the lane. visibility is more critical. you have at least given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency develops. However. • Extended mirrors—Some drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. Then cancel your turn signal. Signal again and complete mirror and head checks before returning to your original lane.15 - . and only where permitted. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. move into the left lane and accelerate. stay in the center portion of your lane. 3. Be sure other drivers see you and that you see potential hazards. 4. Riding any closer could put you in a hazardous situation. 2. Signal and check for oncoming traffic.
Change to another lane if one is open. • When you are moving into an exit lane or leaving a highway. bumper-to-bumper traffic.16 - . adjust your speed to open up space for the merging driver. The driver could change lanes without warning. • When they want to pass you. Discourage lane sharing by others. • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. Give them plenty of room. or a hand could come out of a window.Lane Sharing Cars and motorcycles each need a full lane to operate safely. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable. BlinD spots . a door could open. Lane sharing is not safe. A car could turn suddenly or change lanes. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. Merging Cars Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. merging Cars Alongside Do not ride next to passenger vehicles or trucks in other lanes if you don’t have to because you might be in the driver’s blind spot. Keep a center position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. If there is no room for a lane change.
warning signs. Apply the old saying “one step at a time” to handle two or more hazards. or school and construction zones. evaluate. • Hazardous road conditions. • Adjust your lane position and/ or direction of travel. • Road and surface characteristics such as potholes. Search Actively search ahead. and Execute. regulatory signs. or slowing. • Traffic coming from either the left. Think about your time and space requirements in order to maintain a margin of safety. guardrails. Evaluate Think about how hazards can create risks for you. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: • Communicate your presence with lights and/or your horn. bridges. You must leave yourself time to react if an emergency arises. or behind. and behind to help you avoid potential hazards. stopping. vehicles in the next lane can block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. • Vehicles and other traffic may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a collision. and pavement markings will help you evaluate circumstances ahead. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. right. Then . Execute Carry out your decision. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. a three-step process for making appropriate judgments and applying them correctly in different traffic situations.Also. to the sides. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. Evaluate. SEE stands for: Search. telephone poles and trees won’t move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. search. anD execute (see) Experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them. They improve their riding strategy by using SEE. Anticipate potential problems and have a plan to reduce risks. How you search and how much time and space you have. • Traffic control devices such as traffic signals. can eliminate or reduce harm. Adjust your speed so you can deal with each hazard separately. Search for factors such as: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. shopping areas.17 - .
Over one-half of motorcycle/passenger vehicle collisions are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. large intersections . Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield to you. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. move to the portion of the lane that brings you into another driver’s field of vision at the earliest possible moment. select a lane position that increases your visibility to the driver. and cars on side streets that pull into your lane. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. but to stay out of it. As you approach an intersection. Your use of SEE at intersections is critical. or school and construction zones. Too often. There are no guarantees that others will see you. In this picture the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane—away from the parked car—so the driver on the cross street can see him/her as soon as possible. The driver might think that you are preparing to turn. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce your reaction time. including those illegally turning left from the wrong lane.18 - . If you have a stop sign or stop line. shopping areas. assume that it will. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. such as intersections. are the biggest dangers. After entering the intersection. Vehicles that turn left in front of you. Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. Maintain a space cushion around your motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. If a vehicle can enter your path. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to the hazards.deal with them one at a time as single hazards. Do not change speed or position radically. a driver can look right at a motorcyclist and still fail to “see” him/her. intersections The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. In high-risk areas. Blind Intersections When you approach a blind intersection. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides you with the best view of oncoming traffic. An intersection is anywhere traffic may cross your path. Good riders are always “looking for trouble”—not to get into it. It can be in the middle of an urban area or at a driveway on a residential street.
you can avoid problems caused by doors opening. parked cars. lean your body forward and look around buildings. he/she may fail to see you. or people stepping from between cars. This way. In either event. parkeD cars BlinD intersection Passing Parked Cars When passing parked cars. They may cut you off entirely. A bigger problem can occur if a driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. . slow down and get the driver’s attention. Vehicles making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you are looking. If oncoming traffic is present. the driver might enter your path. it is usually best to remain in the center portion of the lane to maximize your space cushion.stop there first. Sound your horn and continue with caution. drivers getting out of cars. From that position.19 - . Even if the driver looks. Then edge forward and stop again. Since you can’t tell what a driver will do. blocking the whole roadway and leaving you with no place to go. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane. stay toward the left portion of your lane. or bushes to see if anything is coming. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone to enter.
thinking they have plenty of time. More likely. Headlight The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to always keep the headlight on. twowheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. Remember. Also. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a passenger vehicle’s. it’s hard to see something you are not looking for. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. Clothing Most collisions occur in broad daylight. parking at curBs increasing visiBility In collisions with motorcyclists. Even if a driver does see you coming. or green jackets or vests are the best for being seen. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your motorcycle. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. Studies show that during the day. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are. they are looking through the skinny. use the low beam. . Wear brightly-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. Using your high beam during the day and at night increases the chances that oncoming drivers will see you. you aren’t necessarily safe. yellow. they are wrong.20 - . However. When it is foggy.Parking at the Roadside Park at a 90° angle to the curb with the rear wheel touching the curb. Bright orange. Brightly colored helmets can also help others see you. Use your high beam if it is legal and safe to do so. Too often. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. a motorcycle with its light on is twice as likely to be noticed. red. From ahead or behind. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers see you from the side.
it’s a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow. thinking you plan to turn again. Brake Light Your motorcycle’s brake light is usually not as noticeable as a vehicle’s—especially when the taillight is on. . It is especially important to flash your brake light before you slow: • For a tight. Use your turn signals even when you think no one else is around. • Where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley).21 - . fast turn off a highspeed highway. Using your turn signals before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you. turn signals are even more important. due to a rider’s added vulnerability. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your turn signal blinking and make room for you. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn. If the situation permits. If bright sunlight makes your turn signal lights hard to see. If you are being tailgated. signals LEFT TURN RIGHT TURN SLOW or STOP However. be sure to turn them off or a driver may pull directly into your path. They tell others what you plan to do.Turn Signals The turn signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. Signal your left or right turn during the last 100 feet before reaching the turning point. Your turn signals also make you easier to see. it is best to signal at least five seconds before changing lanes. Once you turn. help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down. When you enter a freeway. use hand signals. At highway speeds.
Before you change lanes. If you are not used to convex mirrors. can you be fully prepared to deal with it. you can’t ignore situations behind you. Watch cars coming up from behind. you can get familiar with them by: • Picking out a parked car in your mirror (while you are stopped). Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. turn your head and check that lane for other vehicles. turning around and looking to see how close you came. rather than at a nearer driveway. • Before you slow down. Motorcycles have “blind spots” just like other vehicles. For example. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection.Using Your Mirrors While it’s most important to know what’s happening ahead. These mirrors provide a wider view of the road behind than flat mirrors. check the far lane and the one next to you. Frequent head checks should be part of your normal scanning routine. Make a special point of using your mirrors: • When you are stopped at an intersection. On a road with several lanes. you must know what is going on behind you. In order to make safe decisions about how to handle trouble ahead. Traffic conditions change quickly.22 - . • Practicing with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. • Before you change lanes. BlinD spots . Make sure no one is about to pass you. • Then. he could be on top of you before he sees you. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. A driver in the distant lane may drive into the same space you plan to take. • Forming a mental image of how far away it is. If the driver isn’t paying attention. Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. Only by knowing what is happening all around. or may be unsure about where you will slow. Head Checks Checking your mirrors is not enough. The driver behind you may not expect you to slow. • Allowing extra distance before you change lanes.
Studies show that most collisions involved riders who: . The headlights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than your high beam. Open up a three-second or more following distance. you should: • Reduce Your Speed. Picking your motorcycle’s headlight or taillight out of the other lights is not easy for drivers. • Use the Car Ahead. Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. Get all the light you can. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. Be visible. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or approaching another vehicle. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. To make up for this. • Use Your High Beam. In an emergency.23 - . but don’t rely on it. Distances are harder to judge at night than during the day. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane. • Be Flexible about lane position. and keep an adequate space cushion. press the horn button loud and long. Often. a collision occurs because a rider is not prepared or skilled in collision-avoidance maneuvers. • Someone is in the street riding a bicycle or walking. so use it. This increases your chances of avoiding a hazard. Change to the portion of the lane that helps you see. collision avoiDance No matter how careful you are. Wear reflective materials when riding at night. You must also be able to swerve around an obstacle. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to bumps or rough pavement. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. be seen.Horn Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. • Increase Distance. Remember that a motorcycle’s horn isn’t as loud as a car’s. Riding at Night At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. You can’t always stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. Here are some situations: • A driver in the lane next to you is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. Two skills critical in avoiding a collision are knowing when and how to stop or swerve. • A driver is seated in a parked car ahead. Ride even slower than you would during the day—particularly on roads you don’t know well. These contrasts are missing or distorted at night. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is com- ing.
you can control the motorcycle on a straightaway if it is upright and going in a straight line. If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface. but don’t “grab” it either. Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. Don’t be shy about using the front brake. press down on the rear brake. then Brake Brake. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. then sWerve . apply the brakes lightly and reduce the throttle. Then in the last few feet of stopping. If you must brake while leaning. NOTE: Even with a locked rear wheel. If the front wheel locks. The front brake can provide almost three-quarters of your stopping power. Squeeze the brake lever firmly with continuing steady pressure. even if you use both brakes properly. it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. The only way to avoid a collision sWerve. Swerving or Turning Quickly Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. the best technique is to straighten the motorcycle first and then brake. The motorcycle should now be straight up and in balance.• Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. release the front brake immediately and then reapply it firmly. you can keep it locked until you have completely stopped. As you slow. you should “straighten” the handlebars. Quick Stops To stop quickly. However. apply both brakes at the same time. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might stop abruptly.24 - . At the same time. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose to swerve when it was appropriate.
Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. road conditions. If there is no traffic. Make your escape route the target of your vision. Press on the opposite handlegrip once you clear the obstacle and are ready to return to your original direction of travel. press the left handlegrip. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane. This causes the motorcycle to lean quickly. gets tighter. Keep your knees against the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. or involves multiple turns. then press the right to recover. gradually widens. If braking is required.may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. then left. separate it from swerving. apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip on the side of your intended direction of escape. Brake before or after—never while swerving. move to the outside to exit. start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. press right. the more the motorcycle must lean. or a rapid shift to the side. It can be two quick turns. . To swerve.25 - . As you turn. This allows you to see approaching traffic as soon as possible. The sharper the turn(s). move toward the inside of the curve. Change your lane position based on traffic. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. To swerve to the left. and as you pass the center. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. A swerve is any sudden change in direction. Every curve is different. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. Cornering A primary cause of single-vehicle collisions is motorcyclists running wide in a curve or turn and colliding with the roadway or a fixed object. and curve of the road. To swerve to the right. Another choice is to move to the center of your lane before entering a curve and stay there until you exit.
broken pavement. If you have to ride over the obstacle. • Railroad tracks or pavement seams. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. Avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible. first determine if it’s possible. potholes. Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. • Grooves and gratings. if you must go over the obstacle. . • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. However. • Slippery surfaces. or small pieces of highway trash. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact.26 - .constant curves multiple curves Decreasing curves WiDening curves hanDling Dangerous surfaces Your chance of falling or being involved in a collision increases whenever you ride across: • Uneven surfaces or obstacles.
ride in a vehicle’s tire tracks. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. or travel at a walking pace. and manhole covers. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. • Gravel roads or where sand and gravel collect. • Mud. shift gears. If you ride over an object. even on a slippery surface. • Lane markings. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. turn. Often. Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to reduce your chances of skidding. especially when wet. If you can’t avoid an icy or snowy surface. Wet leaves are just as slippery as wet road surfaces. steel plates. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce your speed. • Remember Rain Dries and Snow Melts Faster on Some Sections of a Road than on others. It is especially important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. The front brake is still effective. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. • Remember That the Center of a Lane Can be Hazardous When Wet. If . • Avoid Sudden Moves. Surfaces with poor traction include: • Wet pavement. Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. • Use Both Brakes. and ice. the left tire track will be the best lane position. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. Patches of ice tend to develop in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. Slippery Surfaces Motorcycles handle better on surfaces with good traction. • Be Cautious of the Edge of the Road. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce Speed. When slippery. snow. When it starts to rain. If you encounter a large surface so slippery that you must coast. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. Remember to use gentle pressure on the rear brake. You may slip and fall.27 - . roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid locking the front wheel. or brake. consider letting your feet skim along the surface.• Rise slightly off the seat with your weight on the footpegs to absorb the shock with your knees and elbows and avoid being thrown off the motorcycle. • Watch For Oil Spots when you put your foot down to stop or park. • Just before contact.
squeeze the clutch and coast. In dealing with any mechanical problem. you can catch yourself.the motorcycle starts to fall. or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°. If possible. “wandering” feeling is generally not hazardous. Relax and maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. move far enough away from tracks. Tire Failure You will seldom hear a tire go flat. Grooves and Gratings Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause your motorcycle to weave. ruts. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. crossing tracks-Wrong . The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. Turning to take tracks head-on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous because your path may carry you into another lane of traffic. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. make a quick. it may be a tire failure. This uneasy. Railroad or Trolley Tracks and Pavement Seams Usually it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. sharp turn. Be sure to keep off the brakes. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. Then. grate crossing-Wrong grate crossing-right crossing tracks-right mechanical proBlems You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle.28 - . Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane.
Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. You have to steer well to keep your balance. the steering will feel “heavy. worn steering parts. Instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold the handlegrips firmly. immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. Make sure the tire pressure. though engine noise may not immediately decline. If the front tire goes flat. misaligned. • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. braking could make the wobble worse. . react quickly to keep your balance. • If braking is required. This will remove power from the rear wheel. have the motorcycle thoroughly checked by a qualified professional. if you are sure which one it is. If none of these are the cause. If the throttle stays stuck. air shocks. or incorrect tire pressure. Check for poorly adjusted steering. Stop riding and check the tires as soon as possible. After you have stopped. unsuitable accessories. If the throttle cable is stuck. check the throttle cable carefully to find the trouble. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. If the rear tire goes flat. this may free it. If you can’t lighten the load. ease off the throttle. shift it. and keep a straight course. and swing arm bearings. Do not apply the brakes. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start riding again. gradually apply the brake of the tire that isn’t flat. and dampers are at the recommended settings for that much weight. lighten it.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. loose wheel bearings or spokes. ride to the side of the road. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. spring pre-load. Wobble A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed. and stop.You must be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts if you have tire failure. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable.29 - . or out of balance. squeeze the clutch. Stuck Throttle Twist the throttle back and forth several times. a front wheel that is bent.” leave the road and stop. If you are carrying a heavy load. but don’t fight the wobble. • Move your weight as far forward and down as possible. Once the motorcycle is “under control. • When the motorcycle slows.
If it is soft grass. slow way down before you turn onto it. Keep control of your motorcycle. an object could hit you in the eye. • Slippage. Whatever happens. Make sure the roadside is firm enough to ride on. When this happens. If you are chased. add oil as soon as possible or the engine will seize. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. be sure you: • Check the roadside. the sprockets. Without face protection. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big—like a car. Don’t kick at an animal. Check the oil. Chain Problems A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your motorcycle to skid. pull off the road. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. For larger animals (deer.• Leave the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. As you approach it. face. Check the chain and sprockets. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel. or mouth. If you are If you need to leave the road to check the motorcycle (or just to rest for a while). cattle) brake and prepare to stop—they are unpredictable. downshift and approach the animal slowly. Engine Seizure When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. accelerate away and leave the animal behind. pull off the road and repair the damage. or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. or if you’re just not sure about it. it might get smeared or cracked. If the engine’s moving parts can’t move smoothly against each other. in traffic. however. the engine overheats. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. remain in your lane. getting off the roaD animals Do everything you safely can do to avoid hitting an animal. making it difficult to see. cigarettes thrown from vehicles. Tightening the chain may help. If you are wearing face protection. Replace the chain. If the chain slips when you try to speed up or ride uphill. elk. or both before riding again. If needed. Let the engine cool before restarting. flying oBjects From time to time riders are struck by insects. if needed.30 - . . Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. loose sand. When safe. • Breakage—You’ll notice an instant loss of power to the rear wheel. Pull off the road and stop.
• Stay directly behind you leaning as you lean. tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you: Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. • Protective equipment should be the same protective gear recommended for operators. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. hips. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. chains. • Pull off the road. even when stopped. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. Instructing Passengers Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. • Avoid unnecessary talk or motion. speeds up. Also. You don’t want someone else leaving the road at the same place you are. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings. Equipment To carry passengers safely: • E q u i p a n d a d j u s t y o u r motorcycle to carry passengers. provide complete instructions before you start. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. . Drivers behind might not expect you to slow down. • Park carefully. It can be very hard to see a motorcycle by the side of the road. • Instruct the passenger before you start. Loose and sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. too. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. • Hold firmly to your waist. balances. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing and changing direction. Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. and slows down. or moving parts. carrying passengers anD cargo • Footrests for the passenger. practice away from traffic. Equipment should include: • A proper seat large enough to hold both of you without crowding. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you.• Signal. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. Get as far off the road as you can. • Keep both feet on the pegs. • Keep legs away from the muffler(s). Firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. or belt.31 - .
Load saddlebags with about the same weight. The heavier your passenger. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. the rear axle. Elastic cords with more than one attachment point per side are more secure. permitting the load to shift or fall. Fasten the load securely with elastic cords (bungee cords or nets). Warn your passenger of these special conditions: Starting. do it in a way that promotes safety and doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic. or put them in saddlebags. enter. Stacking loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and shifts its balance.• Approach surface problems. stopping quickly. causing it to lock up and skid. or riding over bumps. or in front of. Carrying Loads Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. • Open up a larger cushion of space ahead and to the sides. A tight load won’t catch in the wheel or chain. Small loads can be carried safely. Make sure the tank bag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. A small number isn’t separated as easily by traffic or red lights. It can also cause a wobble. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. Riding With Passengers Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger. • Warn that you will make a sudden move. if positioned and fastened properly.32 - . An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. Ropes tend to stretch and knots can come loose. Mounting a load behind the rear axle affects how the motorcycle turns and brakes. • Distribute the Load Evenly. corners. • Ride a little slower. Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for other drivers to get around them. • Check the Load. • Keep the Load Forward. Fasten loads securely. Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. group riDing If you ride with others. or bumps. Tank bags keep loads forward. Place the load over. • Secure the Load. especially when taking curves. but keep your eyes on the road ahead. Stop and check the load often to make sure it has not worked loose or moved. • Keep the Load Low. the longer it will take to slow down and speed up—especially on a light-duty motorcycle. turning sharply. Some riders won’t always be hurrying to . • Are about to start from a stop. • Begin slowing sooner as you approach a stop. or merge with traffic.
if someone is separated he/she won’t have to hurry to keep from getting lost or taking a wrong turn. – Passing in formation. wait until you are both stopped. Start lane changes early to permit everyone to complete the lane change safely. Place inexperienced riders behind the leader so the more experienced riders can watch them. – First. Keep Your Distance Maintain close ranks but at the same time keep a safe distance to allow each rider in the group time and space to react to hazards. and to the sides. Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. • Follow Those Behind. A close group takes up less space on the highway. • Put Beginners Up Front. However. After passing. There is no place to go to avoid a car or a hazard on the road. this formation must be done properly. • Staggered Formation. divide it into two or more smaller groups. the lead rider pulls out and passes when safe. Plan frequent stops on long rides. The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so there is plenty of time for everyone to follow. behind.catch up. Never operate directly alongside another rider. To talk. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. Keep the Group Together • Plan. If a rider falls behind. Let the last rider set the pace. Make sure everyone knows the route. • Don’t Pair Up. is easier to see. This is the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. A third rider rides in the left portion of the lane two seconds behind the first rider. and is less likely to be separated. The leader rides in the left portion of the lane while the second rider stays one second behind in the right portion of the lane. everyone should slow down a little to stay together. If your group is larger than four or five riders. • Know the Route. the leader returns to staggereD formation . The fourth rider keeps a two-second distance behind the second rider.33 - . Then.
Blood alcohol concentration or BAC is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body. This is not a good idea. or fortified wines or if you drink on an empty stomach. – After the first rider passes safely. These “one drink” equivalents change if you drink ale. malt liquors. or entering or leaving a highway. Skilled riders pay attention to their riding environment and to operating the motorcycle. As little as one alcoholic drink can have a significant effect on your performance. this rider returns to the right portion of the lane and opens up room for the next rider. Alcohol and other drugs. or a 12-ounce glass of 5% beer. and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. at the . identifying potential hazards. It’s simpler and safer to wait until there is enough room ahead of the passed vehicle to allow each rider to move into the same position held before the pass. are tired. upset. It encourages the second rider to pass and return to the lane before there is a large enough space cushion in front of the passed vehicle. – Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right portion of the lane after passing a vehicle. After passing. The more alcohol in your blood. • Your body weight. • Single-File Formation. • How fast you drink. the more alcohol accumulates in your body. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. more than any other factor. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: • The amount of alcohol you consume. sick. the second rider moves up to the left portion of the lane and watches for a safe chance to pass. The faster you drink. the greater the degree of impairment. BlooD alcohol concentration BeiNG iN shaPe to riDe Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of almost one drink per hour. turning. But a variety of other factors may also influence the level of alcohol retained. Move into a single-file formation when riding curves. or have taken medicines or drugs. making good judgments. Generally. affect your ability to think clearly and to ride safely.the left portion of the lane and continues riding at “passing speed” to open room for the next rider.34 - . If you drink two drinks in an hour. a 5-ounce glass of 12% wine. “One drink” is a 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor (even if mixed with non-alcoholic drinks).
a person 21 years of age or older with a BAC of . no matter how slightly. broker.01% or more (CVC §23136).08% or above is considered intoxicated. you (or your insurance agent. • Take frequent rest breaks. • Limit your distance. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. Fatigue can affect your control of the motorcycle. The law is very strict if you are under 21 and drive with a BAC that is 0.35 - . Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. Wind. or hard liquor if you are under the age of 21.end of that hour. If you. Experienced riders seldom try to ride more than about six hours a day. It doesn’t matter how sober you may look or act. MotorcYcle iNsUraNce Facts The financial responsibility sections of the California Vehicle Code apply to all two-wheel vehicle owners and operators. or legal representative) must report the collision to DMV. Dress warmly. . alcohol anD the laW In California. Or Don’t Ride. Once you start. wine. A breath or blood test is what usually determines whether you are riding legally or illegally. your resistance becomes weaker. The California Driver Handbook has more information. Avoid riding when tired. including yourself. • Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs. cold. is injured. IMPORTANT: You cannot legally purchase beer. You won’t be able to concentrate on the task at hand. especially on a long trip. The CHP or police will not make this report. fatigue Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. you must control your riding. Law enforcement is being stepped up across the country in response to the senseless deaths and injuries caused by drinking drivers and riders. including yourself. at least one drink will remain in your bloodstream. You must make this report within 10 days on the Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California minimize the risks Minimize the risks of drinking and riding by taking the following steps: Don’t Drink. • Protect yourself from the elements. Your chances of being stopped for riding under the influence of alcohol are increasing. Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression as they start to wear off. are involved in a collision which causes more than $750 in property damage to one person. and rain make you tire quickly. as an operator. or in which anyone. If you haven’t controlled your drinking.
or seven years or in a county jail for not more than one year. • Get permission to travel across private lands. The stress uses up their limited energy reserves. and California Department of Parks and Recreation would like you to TREAD LIGHTLY! • Obtain a Travel Map from your local USFS or BLM office. Know where the boundaries are. shrubs.gov. or ten years. • Stay out of designated wilderness areas. Forest Service (USFS). Respect landowner rights. • Stay away from wild animals that are rearing young—or suffering from food shortages. or stream banks and lake shores easily scarred by churning wheels. five. and grasses—this can damage or kill them. he/she is subject to: • Imprisonment in a state prison for three. or regulations from other public land agencies.ca. If a person is convicted of causing serious bodily injury during the course of a police pursuit (CVC §2800.000 nor more than $10. Check with your insurance company about your coverage before you buy or ride a motorcycle. eVaDiNG a Peace oFFicer Any person who willfully flees or attempts to evade a peace officer performing his/her duties is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year (CVC §2800. Learn the rules and follow them.(SR1) form. six. This form is also available on DMV’s web site at www.1). • Stay off soft. If a person is convicted of killing anyone during the course of a police pursuit (CVC §2800. • Obey gate closures and regulatory signs. .3[b]). or to cut across a switchback.S. • A fine of not less than $2.dmv. • Avoid running over young trees. treaD liGhtlY! The U.3[a]). steep hillsides. • Resist the urge to pioneer a new road or trail. You can get this form from any DMV or CHP office. Vandalism costs tax dollars. wet roads and trails readily torn up by vehicles.000. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). • Travel around meadows. he/she is subject to imprisonment in a state prison for four. Refer to the California Driver Handbook for more information.36 - . • Both that fine and imprisonment.
PL AD AC EM EN T .37 - .
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