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Idaho Transportation Department P.O. Box 7129 Boise, ID 83707-1129 dmv.idaho.gov 4-06
Cover photo courtesy of: American Motorcyclist Association 13515 Yarmouth Drive Pickerington, OH 43147
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is committed to compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all related regulations and directives. ITD assures that no person shall on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any ITD service, program, or activity. The department also assures that every effort will be made to prevent discrimination through the impacts of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. In addition, the department will take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to services for persons with limited English proficiency.
Operating a motorcycle* safely in traffic requires special skills and knowledge. The purpose of this manual is to educate Idaho motorcycle operators and to convey essential safe-driving information that will help them avoid accidents while safely operating a motorcycle. While designed for the novice, all motorcyclists can benefit from the information contained in this manual. The Idaho Transportation Department used information provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to compile the Idaho Motorcycle Operators Manual and written tests. The National Public Services Research Institute, under contract to the National Highway Safety Administration, developed the original Motorcycle Operators Manual. The Idaho Transportation Department also received assistance from a certified MSF Motorcycle Chief Instructor, representatives from the Department of Education, and a member of the Idaho Coalition of Motorcycle Safety. These individuals used their own riding experience, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s outlines used by other states, to assist the department in developing a motorcycle program for the state of Idaho. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation helped Idaho and 39 other states to adopt the Motorcycle Operators Manual for use in their licensing programs. In addition, Idaho and 27 other states utilize the related motorcycle written tests. Improved licensing along with quality motorcycle rider education and increased public awareness have the potential to reduce the number and severity of motorcycle accidents. * A motorcycle means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor and moped.
Do you need a motorcycle endorsement?
If you operate any motorized vehicle on public roadways, Idaho law requires you to have a valid driver’s license and acceptable proof of liability insurance. If you operate a motorcycle on public roadways, you will also need to add a motorcycle endorsement to your Idaho driver’s license. Review the chart on the following page to see if your vehicle is classified as a moped or a motorcycle.
• MOTORCYCLE: A motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding tractors and mopeds. • MOPED: A limited-speed motor-driven cycle having both motorized and pedal propulsion that is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of thirty (30) miles per hour on level ground, whether two (2) or three (3) wheels are in contact with the ground during operation. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement shall not exceed fifty (50) cubic centimeters and the moped shall have a power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged. OR, a limited-speed motor-driven two- or three-wheeled cycle with no pedals, which (1) is powered solely by electrical energy, (2) has an automatic transmission, (3) has a motor that produces less than two gross brake power and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum speed of no more than 30 miles per hour on level ground as originally manufactured, and (4) meets federal motor vehicle safety standards for motor-driven cycles.
HOW DO YOU GET A MOTORCYCLE ENDORSEMENT?
• You must pass a written knowledge test and a motorcycle skills test. • If you are under 21, you must also successfully complete an approved motorcycle rider training course. • See the Idaho Motorcycle Operator’s Manual for more information.
or three-wheeled cycle with no pedals. You need a motorcycle endorsement. NO Is the vehicle a limited-speed motor-driven two.Is your vehicle a moped—or a motorcycle? YES It is a MOPED YES Does the vehicle have both motorized and pedal propulsion? Is the vehicle designed to travel at no more than 30 mph on level ground? Also NO YES NO NO If the vehicle has a combustible engine. (3) has a motor that produces less than two gross brake power and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum speed of no more than 30 miles per hour on level ground as originally manufactured. is it YES 50ccs or less and does it shift automatically? You do not need a motorcycle endorsement. Motorcycles must be titled and registered. It is a MOTORCYCLE* Does the vehicle have three or fewer wheels and a saddle for the rider? YES *If you are under 18. and (4) meets federal motor vehicle safety standards for motor-driven cycles. (2) has an automatic transmission. . which (1) is powered solely by electrical energy. you are required to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle.
................ The Right Motorcycle for You................. Required Equipment............................................................... Braking............................................................................. Helmet Use................................................................................................................................................................................................. Turning.......................................................................Table of Contents EARNING YOUR LICENSE ENDORSEMENT AND TEST FEES.............................................................................................. Lane Sharing................. 2 2 3 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 7 9 RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL.......................... Passing and Being Passed.......................................................................................................... Following Another Vehicle....................................................... 19 ............................................................................................ Body Position.......... Eye and Face Protection................. 10 10 11 11 12 13 13 14 15 15 17 17 18 SIPDE..... Being Followed.................................................................................................. 1 PREPARING TO RIDE RIDING GEAR............... KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE............................................................................................... Borrowing and Lending................................... KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE.. Clothing......................................................................................... Get Familiar with the Motorcycle Controls............................................................... Helmet Selection............... Shifting Gears............. KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES.............................................................................. Lane Positions............................................................................................................................... Merging Cars.................. Check Your Motorcycle... Cars Alongside............................................................
................................................................................................. Signals................................................................. 36 FLYING OBJECTS................................ Parking at the Roadside................................................................. Railroad Tracks............................. Quick Stops....................................... Head Checks.................... Chain Problems............................... Swerving or Turning Quickly......................................................................... 37 37 37 38 37 ............... Brake Light..... Carrying loads.................................................................................................................................................................... Grooves and Gratings.................................................................................. MECHANICAL PROBLEMS........................................................... 36 GETTING OFF THE ROAD...................................................... Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles................................................................. Slippery Surfaces........... Passing Parked Cars....... Riding at Night............................. Riding with Passengers..................................................INTERSECTIONS....................................................................................... Engine Seizure................................................................................................................................... Using Your Mirrors................................................. Clothing.............. 36 CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO............................................................................................................................... Headlight......... Horn............. Wobble..................................................................................................................................................................... Riding a Curve................................................. Blind Intersections.. Equipment................................................................. SEE AND BE SEEN........................................................................................................................... Tire Failure.......................................................................................................................................................... Stuck Throttle.. CRASH AVOIDANCE............................................. 21 22 22 23 24 24 24 24 25 25 26 26 27 28 28 29 30 31 31 32 33 34 34 34 34 35 35 ANIMALS............. Instructing Passengers......................................... HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES......................................................
............................................... 44 .... 43 ON-CYCLE SKILL TEST............... 41 KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions).................. Keep the Group Together..................................................................... Keep Your Distance............................. Keep the Group Small.......................................................................................GROUP RIDING......... 41 ANSWERS TO SAMPLE QUESTIONS.................................................................................... 39 39 39 39 BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE FATIGUE........................................................
If you add the motorcycle endorsement to your Idaho driver’s license during the instruction permit period. Objectively assessing your own riding skills and knowledge is difficult at best. you must know and understand road rules and safe riding practices. you must pay the endorsement fee. This permit is valid for 180 days and allows motorcycle operators to practice riding under the following restrictions. Any person under 21 will be required to take a written knowledge test and successfully complete a motorcycle rider training course (see page 42 of this manual).50 (valid for 180 days) . • Daylight riding only • No freeway riding • No passengers You must pass the written motorcycle knowledge test before applying for an instruction permit. Knowledge test questions are based on information. It is a good idea to take this course even if you are over 21.50 (one-time fee) $11. The Idaho STAR tollfree number is (888) 280-STAR (7827). C. the one-time motorcycle endorsement fee will be waived.Earning Your License Safe riding requires a combination of knowledge and skill. For information and to register for the beginning or experienced rider course nearest you. go online to www.org. practices. A motorcycle instruction permit is available to anyone who holds a valid Idaho Class A. In order to pass the test. Any person who applies for a motorcycle endorsement after September 1.idahostar. or D license. and concepts found in this manual. On-cycle skills tests are conducted in a controlled. *Successful completion of an approved motorcycle rider training course may waive the requirement for the riding skills test. off-street area. You will have to pay one or more of the following fees in addition to the cost of your regular license: Motorcycle “M” Endorsement: Motorcycle Instruction Permit: 1 $11. or you may contact the STAR program at the Idaho Department of Education at (208) 426-5552. 1998. B. Once the instruction permit has expired. if completed within the year prior to adding the endorsement to your license. will be required to pass both a written knowledge test and motorcycle skills test*. and it’s even harder for friends and relatives to be totally honest about your riding skills. Taking a motorcycle knowledge test is the best way to determine if you have the minimum knowledge necessary to operate a motorcycle safely in traffic.
Some riders don’t wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. Helmet Use Collisions are not rare events—particularly among beginning riders. At these speeds. your gear is “right” if it protects you. And one out of every five motorcycle collisions result in head or neck injuries. Before taking off on any trip. 2 . • protective clothing.00 (paid to skills tester) $3.Motorcycle Skills Test: Motorcycle Written Test: $5. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury if you wear: • an approved helmet.00 (paid to county) If you fail a written and/or skills test. Idaho law requires all persons under the age of 18 to wear a DOT-approved protective helmet while riding on or operating a motorcycle or ATV on or off road. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries. • become familiar with the motorcycle. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. you must wait three days to retest and pay the fee again. • Most motorcycle collisions occur at less than 30 mph. just a few minutes after starting out. In any collision. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger. Consider the following: • A DOT-approved helmet lets you see as far to the sides as necessary. RIDING GEAR When you ride. A study of more than 900 motorcycle collisions. • Most collisions happen on short trips (less than five miles long). Accident analysis show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists. • face or eye protection. Preparing To Ride What you do before you start a trip goes a long way toward determining whether or not you’ll get where you want to go safely. where 40% of the riders wore helmets. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. • check the motorcycle equipment. a safe rider makes a point to: • wear the right gear.
Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. and pebbles thrown up from vehicles ahead. • Fits snugly. insects. and they may blow off when you turn your head while riding.S. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. you can’t devote your full attention to your safety and the road. Be made of shatter-proof material. to reduce fogging. dirt. it’s likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. If you have to deal with them. if you are involved in a collision. you can get the most protection by making sure that the helmet: HALF • Meets U. Permit air to pass through. or frayed straps. Give a clear view to either side. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. and full face. if needed. Goggles protect your eyes. Whatever helmet you decide on. dust. loose padding. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. rain. three-quarter. Glasses won’t keep your eyes from watering. though they won’t protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does.Helmet Selection There are three primary types of helmets. Eye and Face Protection A faceshield can help protect your face from wind. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state standards. These problems can be distracting and painful. all the way around. 3 . To be effective. • Has no obvious defects such as cracks. Wearing a faceshield may help prevent a collision. so it does not blow off. Fasten securely. Whichever style you choose. providing three different levels of coverage: half. eye or face protection must: • • • • • • Be free of scratches. Otherwise. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. Helmets with labels from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation give you an added assurance of quality.
Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. B. your clothes should keep you warm and dry. Answers to sample questions are located on page 41. D. Be made of shatter-proof material. Heavy denim usually does an adequate job for a reasonable price. All of the above. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb from the cold. even on summer days. as well as protect you from injury. Your gloves should be made of leather. and waist. Plastic face shields and goggles must: A. Boots or shoes should be high and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. Jacket and pants should cover your arms and legs completely. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. Not be worn at night if tinted. Gloves allow a better grip and help protect your hands in a crash. Wear a jacket even in warm weather. Leather is very popular and offers good protection. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. wrists. Be free of scratches and provide a clear view of either side. Soles should be made of hard. Tuck laces in so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. In cold or wet weather.Clothing The right clothing protects you in a crash. durable material. Choose boots or shoes with short heels so they do not catch on rough surfaces. yet loosely enough to move freely. C. 1. 4 .
Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. • Helmet: Any person under the age of 18 must wear a protective helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle or ATV. Required Equipment Idaho law requires all motorcycles operated on Idaho roads to have the following: • Brakes: The law requires a brake on at least one wheel. make sure your motorcycle is right for you. Passenger footrests must be designed exclusively for use by the passenger. Check the motorcycle before every ride. It can be operated by hand or by foot.KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble. • Passenger Seat and Footrests: Motorcyclists are prohibited from carrying passengers unless a permanently attached seat and footrests are provided for the passenger. To make sure that your motorcycle won’t let you down: • • • • • Start with the right motorcycle for you. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the cycle. It should “fit” you. • Horn: You must have a horn that can be heard up to 200 feet away. on or off road. Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your cycle harder to handle. 5 . • Headlight: Motorcycles must have a headlight sufficient to reveal a person or vehicle not less than 100 feet ahead when traveling 25 mph or less. and not less than 300 feet when traveling more than 35 mph. Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. Your motorcycle should not be one of them. • Fenders: All motorcycles must have fenders on both wheels that extend in full width from a point just forward of the center of the tire to a point not more than 20” above the surface of the highway. not less than 200 feet when traveling 25-35 mph. The Right Motorcycle For You First.
This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed cycle. Work the throttle. and brakes a few times before you start riding. beware. • Ride very cautiously. headlight switch. Get Familiar with the Motorcycle Controls Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. Borrowing and Lending Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles. Accelerate gently. Collisions are fairly common among beginning riders — especially in the first months of riding. • Find out where everything is. If you borrow a motorcycle. No matter how experienced you may be. ride extra carefully on any bike that’s new or unfamiliar to you. take turns more slowly.000. particularly the turn signals. All controls react a little differently. More than half of all collisions occur on motorcycles that have been ridden by the operator for less than six months. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. • Muffler: You must have a muffler that does not increase engine noise to a level above that of the muffler originally installed by the motorcycle manufacturer. get familiar with it in a controlled area and make sure it is insured—you are liable. If you lend your motorcycle to friends. • Taillight: Motorcycles must have one red taillight visible for 500 feet to the rear. 6 . • Know the gear pattern. horn. fuel-control valve. Learn to operate these items without having to look for them. and leave extra room for stopping. clutch. • Mirror: Motorcycles must have a mirror that provides a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear. • Stop Light: A red stop light that comes on when you work the brakes must be visible for 100 feet to the rear during normal sunlight. Riding an unfamiliar cycle adds to the problem. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. and engine cut-off switch.• Insurance: You must have (and carry on your person) liability insurance in an amount of not less than $25.
At a minimum.10 13 9 11 1. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. 3. 6. Light Switch Kick Starter Horn Button Front Brake Lever NOTE: Check this equipment before you pull onto the road. 2. you’ll want to find out about it before you get in traffic. 7 . Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. Check Your Motorcycle A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. A minor technical failure in a car seldom leads to anything more than an inconvenience for the driver. Turn-Signal Switch (may be on both handles) Gear-Change Lever Tachometer Speedometer & Odometer Rear Brake Pedal Throttle Clutch Lever Engine Cut-Off Switch Electric Starting Switch 10. 13. 5. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. each motorcycle may be different. 4. If something’s wrong with the motorcycle. 12. Look under the bike for signs of fluid leaks. 11. 7. Before mounting any motorcycle. 8. 9.
Happen at night. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind and as much as possible of the lane next to you. In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. The throttle handgrip should return quickly to the idle position when you let go. It’s difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror.p. More than half of all crashes: A. cables. 8 . a mirror may show the edge of your arm or shoulder — but it’s the road behind and to the side that’s most important. • Turn Signals — Turn on both right and left turn signals. check the wheels. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust both mirrors before starting.h. D. Make sure all four lights flash. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly. Test your dimmer to make sure both high and low beams are working. B. C. • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. Involve riders who have ridden their cycles less than six months. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. and make sure each one turns on the brake light. • Horn — Try the horn. Are caused by equipment failures. and fasteners at least once a week. • Brakes — Try the front and rear brake levers one at a time. Make sure it works. Occur at speeds greater than 35 m. When properly adjusted.• Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. 2.
Remember. being followed. it doesn’t leave any of us free of responsibility. Your light turns green. In fact. lane sharing. Neither of you held up your end of the deal.KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone’s fault or negligence. • Scan your path of travel 20 seconds ahead. and ride in the most visible lane position. There is rarely a single cause of any crash. It was the other driver’s responsibility to stop. You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers. most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. 9 . To lessen your chances of a crash occurring: • Be visible — wear proper clothing. it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. and being passed. brake light. or an unprepared participant in. As a rider you can’t be sure that other operators will see you or yield the right of way. Blame doesn’t matter when someone is injured in a crash. any collision. Most often in traffic. Consider a situation where someone tries to squeeze through an intersection on a yellow light turning red. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper collision-avoidance skills. That is all it takes for the two of you to tangle. Just because someone else is the first to start the chain of events leading to a collision. and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. And it was your responsibility to look before pulling out. passing. and lane position. that is not the case. • Maintain an adequate space cushion — allow extra space when following. use your headlight (set on dim during daylight hours). Awareness and the ability to make critical decisions. • Communicate your intentions — use the proper signals. • Identify and anticipate possible hazards in your path of travel.
Also. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them and the rules of the road. This permits you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. Start with your right wrist flat. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle — especially if you need to reach for the brake suddenly. 10 . or balance. • Posture — Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. Also. you can be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. don’t let your toes point downward — they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. • Feet — Keep your feet firmly on the footpegs to maintain balance.Ride Within Your Abilities This Manual cannot teach you how to control direction. BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL Body Position To control a motorcycle well: • Seat — Sit far enough forward so that arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. Bending your arms permits you to turn the handlebars without having to stretch. adjust the handlebars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. That’s something you can learn only through practice and proper training. • Hands — Hold the handlegrips firmly to keep your grip over rough surfaces. Don’t drag your feet. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them quickly if needed. If your foot catches on something. speed.
A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. However. To make a smooth stop. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. Also. It is best to change gears before entering a turn. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid. • Apply both brakes at the same time. The front brake is more powerful and can provide as much as three-quarters of your total stopping power. • If you know the technique.Shifting Gears There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Use both of them at the same time. resulting in control problems.) 11 . Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock. Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to use the brakes to slow down enough before downshifting safely. • Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. Using only the rear brake for “normal” stops will not permit you to develop the habit or skill of using the front brake properly in an emergency. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so that you can move out quickly if you need to. If so. Less traction is available for stopping. turning. • Some motorcycles have integrated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. squeeze the clutch lever and without releasing the lever. If not. or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. and the rear wheel may skid. the motorcycle will lurch. shift down through the gears so that you are in first gear when you come to a stop. Braking Most motorcycles have two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. Remember: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. Learning to use the gears correctly when downshifting. although it should be done very carefully. the sooner it will start slowing you down. remember to shift smoothly. using both brakes in a turn is possible. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering. The front brake is safe if you use it properly. The sooner you apply the front brake. (Consult the owner’s manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems.
In normal turns. Use four steps for better control: • SLOW — Reduce speed before the turn by closing the throttle and. • LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. To lean the motorcycle. 12 . B. • ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. lean the motorcycle only and keep your body straight. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. C. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually. When turning. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. Press right with your right hand — lean right — go right. Turn your head and shoulders to look through turns. Or.Turning Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. Press left with your left hand — lean left — go left. they overreact and brake too hard. In slow tight turns. the motorcycle must lean. When they can’t hold the turn. not your shoulders. Turn just your head and eyes. applying both brakes. push on the handgrip in the direction of the turn. • PRESS — To turn. 3. Approach turns and curves with caution. if necessary. causing a skid and loss of control. you should: A. Keep your arms straight. D. Avoid decelerating in the turn. Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more.
KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE The best protection you can have is distance — a “cushion of space” — all around your cycle. distance permits you: • Time to react. Avoid surface hazards. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three areas or paths of travel as indicated in the illustration below. 13 . Protect your lane from other drivers. If someone else makes a mistake. 1 ② 2 ➂ 3 ➃ Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more visible to others on the road. Provide a space cushion. Provide an escape route. Your lane position should: • • • • • • • • Increase your ability to see and be seen. Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. Communicate your intentions. Avoid other drivers’ blind spots. Lane Positions In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. • Room to maneuver.
Big buildups of oil and grease are usually found at busy intersections or toll booths.” 3. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. one-thousand three. there is no single best position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the cycle. Under normal circumstances. 2. 14 . In traffic. Normally. To gauge your following distance: 1. When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. or if you are pulling a trailer. You can operate to the left or right of this strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane.In general. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride safely. if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you. Unless the road is wet. are most likely to be seen.” you are following too closely. on or near the road ahead. This will make it easier to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. no portion of the lane need be avoided — including the center. If you reach the marker before you reach “three. Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. Change position as traffic situations change. open up a three-second or more following distance. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. one-thousand-two. Position yourself in the portion of the lane where you have the best view of the road. motorcycles need the same amount of distance as cars to stop safely. A three-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly. It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. The strip in the center portion of the lane that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide. Following Another Vehicle “Following too closely” is a major factor in crashes caused by motorcyclists. count off the seconds: “one-thousand-one. such as a pavement marking or lamppost. If the pavement is slippery. Pick out a marker. a minimum of three seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. and where you can maintain a space cushion around you.
But remember that most drivers don’t look at their sideview mirrors nearly as often as they check the rearview mirror. Be sure other drivers see you. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. Riding in the center portion of the lane should put your image in the middle of the rearview mirror — where a driver is most likely to see you. When someone is following too closely.When behind a car. Being Followed Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. If you can’t do this. ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror. If they don’t pass. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. Riding in the left third of a lane may permit the driver of a truck or van to see you in a sideview mirror and helps you see the traffic ahead. 15 . Passing and Being Passed Passing and being passed by another vehicle is not much different than with a car. If the traffic and road situation allows. visibility is more critical. and that you see potential hazards. However. the center portion of the lane may be the best place for you to be seen by the drivers ahead and to prevent lane sharing by others. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop. This will also encourage them to pass. change lanes when possible and let them pass.
Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. Move into the left lane and accelerate. • Extended mirrors — Some drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. choose your lane position to avoid the following: • The other vehicle — A slight mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe. 4. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. Passing Vehicles 16 . Know your signs and road markings! Being Passed When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle. Use your mirrors and turn your head to the left to look for traffic behind. 3. Ride through the blind spot quickly.Passing 1. Signal again. and only where permitted. and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane. 2. ➄➄ ➃ ➂ ② Remember. Signal and check for oncoming traffic. Select a lane position that doesn’t crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane.
When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. When they want to pass you. Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle.• Objects thrown from windows — Even if the driver knows you’re there. or leaving a highway. • Blasts of wind from larger vehicles — They can affect your control. a door could open. Give them plenty of room. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • • • • In heavy. If there is no room for a lane change. Merging Cars Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. bumper-to-bumper traffic. a car could turn suddenly. A hand could come out of a window. 17 . Discourage lane sharing by others. You have more room for error if you are in the middle portion when hit by this blast than if you are on either side of the lane. adjust your speed to open up space for the merging driver. Change to another lane if one is open. Lane Sharing Cars and motorcycles need a full lane to operate safely. When you are getting in an exit lane. Riding any closer to these hazards could put you in a hazardous position. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. Keep a center-portion position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you.
a good way to handle tailgaters is to: A. C. Usually. B. Use your horn and make obscene gestures.Cars Alongside Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other lanes if you do not have to. Ignore them. which could switch into your lane without warning. D. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next lane. Change lanes if possible and let them pass. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. 4. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. Cars in the next lane also block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. 18 .
They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. Completing this “what if . school and construction zones. Predict Consider the speed. roadway signs. distance. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others. • Other vehicles— may move into your path and increase collision risk. lumber. a 5-step process used to make appropriate judgments. guard rails. Predict where a collision may occur. • Stationary objects — potholes. • Traffic approaching from behind. Be especially alert in areas with limited visibility. and how much time and space you have. . Identify Locate hazards and potential conflicts. • Pedestrians and animals — are unpredictable. hedges. and make short. • Traffic coming from the left and right. shopping areas. and apply them correctly in different traffic situations: • • • • • Scan Identify Predict Decide Execute Let’s examine each of these steps. . Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you.SIPDE Good experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. Scan Search aggressively ahead. bridges. tire debris. Search for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. can eliminate or reduce harm. How assertively you search. or trees won’t move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. quick moves.?” phrase to 19 .
• Adjust your speed by accelerating. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards. Decision making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. Weigh consequences of each and give equal distance to the hazards.estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience. school and construction zones. shopping areas. Apply the old adage “one step at a time” to handle two or more hazards. whether single or multiple hazards are involved. such as intersections. Execute In high potential risk areas. Decide Decide when. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. 20 . or slowing. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to separate. • Adjust your position and/or direction. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. where. and how to act based on types of hazards you encounter: • • • • Single Hazard Multiple Hazards Stationary Moving Weigh consequences of each hazard separately. stopping.
Oncoming cars that turn left in front of you. If a car can enter your path. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. Too often. assume that it will. 21 . but to stay out of it.INTERSECTIONS The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. Over half of motorcycle/car collisions are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. Good riders are always “looking for trouble” — not to get into it. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. are the two biggest dangers. An intersection can be in the middle of an urban area or at a driveway on a residential street — anywhere traffic may cross your path of travel. Your use of SIPDE (see page 19) at intersections is critical. Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. Cars atSIntersections S There are no guarantees that other drivers see you. drivers look right at motorcyclists and still fail to “see” them. Ride with your headlight on (set on dim during daylight hours) in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic. and cars on side streets that pull into your path.
move away from oncoming vehicles preparing to turn. After entering the intersection. The driver might think that you are preparing to turn. Effective July 1. From that position. Motorcycle riders must still obey traffic signals when the traffic control signal device can be triggered by the size of motorcycle they are operating. or if the intersection in question does not have a signal triggered by a vehicle detection device. lean your body forward and look around buildings. select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver. you may only do so if the signal fails to operate after you wait through one complete cycle of that traffic signal. the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space. parked cars. Idaho Code (Obedience to and required traffic control devices). or bushes to see if anything is coming. If you have a stop sign or stop line. Do not change speed or position radically. move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field of sight at the earliest possible moment. 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 the rider as soon as possible. In this picture. after coming to a complete stop. Then edge forward and stop again. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane. Blind Intersections If you approach a blind intersection. Traffic Control Signals Due to their size. This law change does not provide a defense for violations of traffic laws under Section 49-801. the law has been amended to allow a motorcycle rider. motorcycles do not always trigger traffic control signals when approaching an intersection. stop there first. This strategy should also be used whenever a vehicle in the oncoming lane of traffic is signalling for a left turn. Just make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you’re looking. 2006. whether an intersection is involved or not.As you approach the intersection. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. Remember. and you must yield to any traffic in or approaching the intersection. 22 . to proceed with caution through a red light at an intersection—however.
Decreases your chances of being involved in a collision. 23 . You can avoid problems caused by car doors opening. Sound your horn and continue with caution. 6. B. Cars making a sudden U-turn are extremely dangerous. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in. Is a good sign that they see you. D.Passing Parked Cars When passing parked cars. get the driver’s attention. Since you can’t tell what a driver will do. or people stepping from between cars. Is important when approaching an intersection. Ride slower than the speed limit. They may cut you off entirely. Cover the clutch and the brakes. Shift into neutral when slowing. it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. drivers getting out of cars. blocking the whole road-way and leaving you with no place to go. C. A clear view is particularly important to turn across a lane of traffic. D. Parking at the Roadside Angle your motorcycle to see in both directions without straining or having the cycle in the lane of travel. back into the parking spot to permit riding the motorcycle out into traffic. Pull in the clutch when turning. Even a rider who does look may fail to see you. the driver might cut into your path. Making eye contact with other drivers: A. When possible. If oncoming traffic is present. 5. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. B. Doesn’t mean that the driver will yield. you should: A. stay toward the left of your lane. To reduce your reaction time. In either event. C.
Even if a driver does see you coming. thinking they have plenty of time. Headlight The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to keep the headlight on — at all times. or green clothing is your best bet for being seen. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes. Be sure the headlight is adjusted properly and use the “dim” setting during daylight hours. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. Studies show that. Signals The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. yellow. Wearing bright orange. Brightly colored helmets can help others see you. Wear bright clothing to increase your chances of being seen. and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are. Your helmet can do more than protect you in a collision. it’s hard to see something you are not looking for. However. Reflective material on the sides of your helmet and clothing will help drivers coming from the side notice you. two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your cycle. From ahead or behind. More likely. a motorcycle with its light on is twice as likely to be noticed. It’s the car you don’t see that’s going to give you the most trouble. Remember. signals are even more important. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. Also. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. Smaller vehicles appear farther away. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/cycle unit when viewed from the front or the back. they are looking through the skinny. Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. 24 . during the day. Reflective or bright colored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best. due to a rider’s added vulnerability.SEE AND BE SEEN In collisions with motorcyclists. They tell others what you plan to do. However. Clothing Most collisions occur in broad daylight. you aren’t necessarily safe. Too often. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors. they are wrong. Use them even when you think no one else is around. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a car’s.
Using Your Mirrors While it’s most important to keep track of what’s happening ahead. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down. 25 . If you are being followed closely. Knowing what’s going on behind can help you make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. make sure your signal is off or a driver may pull directly into your path. thinking you plan to turn again.) Help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly. Don’t make them guess what you intend to do. Traffic conditions change quickly.That’s why it’s a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. it’s a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. (It goes on with the headlight. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • You slow more quickly than others might expect (turning off a highspeed highway). Once you turn. Brake Light Your motorcycle’s brake light is usually not as noticeable as the brake lights on a car — particularly when your taillight is on. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). When you enter onto a freeway. you can’t afford to ignore situations behind. Turning your signal light on before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you.
Watch cars coming up from behind. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. The driver behind may not expect you to slow. Then. • Before you change lanes. or may be unsure about where you will slow. or pass another vehicle. merge onto a freeway. riding a bicycle or walking. Make sure no one is about to pass you. Form a mental image of how far away it is. (While you are stopped. get familiar with them. Here are some situations: • A driver in the lane next to you is driving too close to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. allow extra distance before you change lanes. he could be on top of you before he sees you. These provide a wider view of the road behind than do flat mirrors. Blind Spot S S Most motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. If you are not used to convex mirrors. you should turn your head and look to the side to spot any car(s) about to pass you. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. For example. Before you change lanes. On a road with several lanes. Horn Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection rather than at a nearer driveway. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take. 26 . • Before you slow down. Head Checks Checking your mirrors is not enough.) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. • Someone is in the street. If the driver isn’t paying attention. Make a special point of using your mirrors: • When you are stopped at an intersection. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. pick out a parked car in your mirror. check the far lane and the one next to you.Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal scanning routine. Even then.
press and hold the horn button. Merge onto a freeway.In an emergency. Noticing your headlight or taillight amid the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. D. Change lanes. be seen. etc. you should: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day — particularly on roads you don’t know well. 7. Change to whatever portion of the lane is best able to help you see. B. Wear reflective materials — vests. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. To compensate. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. Headlights and/or taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to bumps or rough pavement. Riding at Night At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. You should always perform a head check before you: A. Pass another vehicle. All of the above. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. • Use the Car Ahead — The headlights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. and keep an adequate space cushion. • Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. Open up a threesecond following distance. And allow more distance to pass and be passed. C. Be flexible about lane position. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. • Increase Distance — Distances are harder to judge at night than during the day. 27 . This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard because a headlight does not allow you to see as far ahead as in daylight.
it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. immediately release the front brake then reapply firmly. 28 . Riders must also be able to swerve around an obstacle.) Even with a locked rear wheel. If you must brake while leaning. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. a crash occurs because a rider is not prepared or skilled in obstacle-avoidance maneuvers. apply both brakes at the same time. (A skilled rider can release the rear brake. Often. but should only do so if the rear tire has not fishtailed to one side.CRASH AVOIDANCE No matter how careful you are. The front brake can provide 70% or more of the motorcycle’s stopping power. At the same time. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. Know when and how to stop or swerve. there will be times when you find yourself in a dangerous situation. keep it locked until you have completely stopped. either. Quick Stops To stop quickly. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. As you slow. If the front wheel locks. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. you can control the cycle on a straightaway if it is upright and going in a straight line. the motorcycle should be straight up and in balance. The following information offers some good advice. but don’t “grab” at it. two skills critical to avoiding a crash. If you accidentally lock the rear brake while on a straight section of road. Studies show that most riders involved in crashes: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. Determining the skill necessary for the situation is important as well. Squeeze the brake lever steadily and firmly. If you “straighten” the handlebar in the last few feet of stopping. Apply the front brake fully. Stopping Distance Rear Brake Front Brake Both Brakes Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. apply the brakes gradually and reduce the throttle. • Do not separate braking from swerving. press down on the rear brake. Don’t be shy about using the front brake.
or ride over the obstacle. Then Swerve IF BRAKING IS REQUIRED. The sharper the turn(s). Keep your knees against the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. This will get the motorcycle to lean quickly. Then Brake Brake. Change lanes only if you have enough time to make sure there are no vehicles in the other lane. the more the bike must lean. It can be two quick turns. SEPARATE IT FROM SWERVING.Swerving or Turning Quickly Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. press left then right to recover. To swerve to the right. swerve. The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly. You should be able to squeeze by most obstacles without leaving your lane. To swerve to the left. A swerve is any sudden change in direction. press right then left. Swerve. The car ahead might squeal to a stop or an object might appear suddenly in your path. Try to stay in your own lane. Once you clear the obstacle. Brake before or after — never while swerving. Make your escape route the target of your vision. Let the bike move underneath you. Apply hand pressure to the handgrip in your intended direction of escape. 29 . or a rapid shift to the side. press on the opposite handgrip to return to your original direction of travel. even if you use both brakes properly.
Use both brakes at the same time. You can adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line. Change lane position depending on traffic and road conditions. gradually widens. Use the front brake only. move to the outside to exit. your bike may straighten upright and cause you to swerve out into the oncoming lane of traffic. or involves multiple turns. C. Every curve is different. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. B.Riding a Curve A primary cause of singlevehicle crashes is motorcyclists running wide in a curve or turn and colliding with the roadway or a fixed object. gets tighter. 8. As you turn. or debris blocking part of your lane. and as you pass the center. The best way to stop quickly is to: A. If you brake too hard. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. Use the rear brake first. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. Another alternative is to move to the center area of your lane before entering a curve — and stay there until you exit. Throttle down and use the front brake. D. move toward the inside of the curve. Use caution when braking on right turns. you may choose to start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. If no traffic is present and your riding abilities are up to it. 30 .
First. Grooves and gratings. If you ride over an object on the street. Railroad tracks. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight up. Practice this in an area such as an empty parking lot away from traffic. 31 . pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. If you have to ride over the obstacle. controlling the throttle can be somewhat tricky. Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. Rising off the seat will reduce your chances of being thrown off the bike. • Rise slightly off the seat with your weight on the footpegs to absorb the shock with your knees and elbows.HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES Your chance of falling or being involved in a collision increases whenever you ride across: • • • • Uneven surfaces or obstacles. or small pieces of highway trash. determine if it is possible to go over the obstacle. Slippery surfaces. However. broken pavement. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible. you should: • Slow down to reduce the jolt if time permits. potholes.
Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement.Slippery Surfaces Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. If possible.Roads are the slickest when it first starts to rain until the dirt and oil are washed away. and manhole covers. steel plates. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. squeeze the clutch and coast.Watch for oil spots when you put your foot down to stop or park. even on a slippery surface.Rain dries and snow melts faster on some sections of a road than on others. especially when wet. snow. keep your bike straight up and proceed slowly. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. . turn. shift gears. • Lane markings. Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. If you can’t avoid a slippery surface. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid locking the front wheel. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. or brake. . • Mud. or where sand and gravel collect. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce Speed — Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding when stopping or turning. You may slip and fall. • Avoid Sudden Moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. • Use Both Brakes — The front brake is more effective than the rear.Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road — especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. Patches of ice tend to crop up in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. It is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. • Gravel roads. Be sure to keep off the brakes. . . Stay away from the edge of the road. and ice. 32 . Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane.
Turning to take tracks head-on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous — your path may carry you into another lane of traffic. Slowly zig-zag across the grating. C. Trolley Tracks. The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. When you ride across a bridge grating: A. or pavement seams that run parallel to your course to cross at an angle of at least 45°. D. 33 . Move far enough away from tracks. and Pavement Seams S Usually it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. Increase your speed. sharp turn. B. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. Ride at the far right of the lane. The uneasy. slow your speed and ride straight across. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane. 9. ruts.Railroad Tracks. Relax. Then. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. Relax. make a quick. slow your speed. Grooves and Gratings Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings will cause a motorcycle to weave. and ride straight across.
if you are sure which one it is. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. shift it. Stuck Throttle Twist the throttle back and forth several times. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. lighten it. edge to the side of the road and stop. check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. the steering will feel “heavy. spring pre-load. and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. Once the motorcycle is “under control. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the cycle. it may be a tire failure. gradually apply the brake of the tire that isn’t flat. though engine noise may not immediately decline. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. This will remove power from the rear wheel. this may free it. or misaligned tires and/or chain drive. You have to steer well to keep your balance. Make sure windshields and fairings are 34 . react quickly to keep your balance. If you are carrying a heavy load. unsuitable accessories. If you can’t. • If possible. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. Make sure tire pressure. • When the motorcycle slows. Wobble A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed. • If you must brake. the back of the motorcycle will jerk or weave from side to side. If the cycle starts handling differently. If the rear tire goes flat. If the throttle cable is stuck. You must be able to tell from the way the cycle reacts. Pull off and check the tires. coast to a stop. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. If the throttle stays stuck immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. incorrect tire pressure. If the front tire goes flat.” pull off and stop. After you have stopped. Tire Failure You will seldom hear a tire go flat. This can be dangerous. air shocks. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold the handlegrips firmly and keep a straight course. In dealing with any mechanical problem.
Grip the handlegrips firmly and close the throttle gradually. misaligned. 35 . D. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. If your motorcycle starts to wobble: A. a front wheel that is bent. If needed. Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. Pull off the road and stop. Do not apply the brakes. the sprockets. oil should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. Tightening the chain may help. • Close the throttle gradually to slow the motorcycle. If none of these are determined to be the cause. Use the brakes gradually. Accelerate out of the wobble. Chain Problems A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your cycle to skid. or both before riding again. worn steering parts. Downshift. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. When this happens. Check the chain and sprockets. Engine Seizure When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. braking could make the wobble worse. and swingarm bearings. There Is No Substitute For Frequent Cycle Maintenance. C. 10. • Move your weight as far forward and down as possible. Check for poorly adjusted steering. Check the oil.mounted properly. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets. loose wheel bearings or spokes. B. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. Breakage — You’ll notice an instant loss of power to the rear wheel. Let the engine cool before restarting. replace the chain. and the engine overheats. • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. but don’t fight the wobble. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the cycle more unstable. or out of balance. Instead: • Grip the handlegrips firmly. The engine’s moving parts can’t move smoothly against each other. pull off the road. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel.
You don’t want someone else pulling off at the same place you are. or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. shift down and approach the animal slowly. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. an object could hit you in the eye. If you are in traffic. Don’t kick at an animal.ANIMALS Naturally. 11. 36 . Swerve around the animal. Approach the animal slowly. it might get smeared or cracked. Kick it away. If you are chased. If it is soft grass. As you approach it. be sure you: • Check the Roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. If you are wearing face protection. It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. Whatever happens. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. When safe. B. If you are chased by an animal: A. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big — like a car. or mouth. Stop until the animal loses interest. GETTING OFF THE ROAD If you need to leave the road to check the motorcycle (or just to rest for a while). or if you’re just not sure about it. speed up and leave the animal behind. loose sand. however. • Park Carefully — Loose and sloped shoulders make setting the kickstand difficult. remain in your lane. making it difficult to see. • Signal — Drivers behind might not expect you to slow down. face. and look to where you want to go. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. Without face protection. then speed up. slow way down before you turn onto it. cigarettes thrown from cars. D. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal. • Pull Off the Road — Get as far off the road as you can. C. pull off the road and repair the damage. FLYING OBJECTS From time to time riders are struck by insects. Keep control of your motorcycle.
permanently attached passenger seat. • A Helmet — any person under the age of eighteen (18) must wear a DOT-approved helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle. Stay directly behind you. Equipment To carry passengers safely: • • • • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. Have your passenger wear the same type of protective gear recommended for motorcycle operators. even when stopped. or belt. Before taking a passenger or heavy load on the street. Instruct the passenger before you start. • Footrests — for the passenger. practice away from traffic. Also.CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. Add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. over the center of the motorcycle. speeds up. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. hips. too. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. provide complete instructions before you start.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. Keep legs away from the muffler(s). tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you (1) approach surface problems. Keep both feet on the pegs. Hold firmly to your waist. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. or a separate. turns. The following equipment is required by Idaho law: • A Proper Seat — large enough to hold both of you without crowding. (Check your owner’s manual. balances. and (3) warn that you are going to make a sudden move. 37 . Instructing Passengers Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. A firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off. Tell your passenger to: • • • • • • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. (2) are about to start from a stop. Avoid unnecessary motion. and slows down.
the rear axle. The heavier your passenger. • Keep the Load Low — Fasten loads to the seat.Riding With Passengers Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board. or turn — especially on a light cycle. especially when taking curves. D. Small loads can be carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. • Secure the Load — Fasten the load securely with elastic cords (bungee cords). or bumps. Never hold onto you. • Keep the Load Forward — Place the load over. but keep your eyes on the road ahead. or merge in traffic. Always sit upright. Carrying Loads Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. corners. Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. or put them in saddle bags. turn sharply. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. • Distribute the Load Evenly — Load saddlebags with about the same weight. 38 . the longer it will take to slow down. Open up a larger cushion of space ahead and to the sides. Passengers should: A. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. C. Warn your passenger of special conditions — when you will pull out. causing it to lock up and skid. • Check the Load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose or moved. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. A tight load won’t catch in the wheel or chain. Stay directly behind you over the center of the cycle. Wait for larger gaps to cross. Tankbags keep loads forward. permitting the load to shift or fall. • • • • Ride a little slower. enter. or in front of. or ride over a bump. stop quickly. B. Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the cycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. It can also cause a wobble. Sit as far back as possible. 12. Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the cycle turns and brakes. speed up.
Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. do it in a way that promotes safety and doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic. • Don’t Pair Up — Never operate directly alongside another rider. The leader rides in the left side of the lane. if someone is separated they won’t have to hurry to keep from getting lost or taking a wrong turn. There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. • Follow Those Behind — Let the tailender set the pace. Start lane changes early to permit everyone to complete the change. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. • Put Beginners Up Front — Place inexperienced riders behind the leader. wait until you are both stopped. Riders won’t always be hurrying to catch up. Then. However. divide it up into two or more smaller groups. A small number isn’t separated as easily by traffic or red lights.GROUP RIDING If you ride with others. • Know the Route — Make sure everyone knows the route. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. If a rider falls behind. If your group is larger than four or five riders. A close group takes up less space on the highway. where more experienced riders can watch them. Keep Your Distance Maintain close ranks at a safe distance. • Staggered Formation — This is the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. it must be done properly. Keep the Group Together • Plan — The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so “the word gets back” in plenty of time. To talk. while the second rider stays one second behind in the right side of the 39 S– –SpS . everyone should slow down a little to stay with the tailender.
Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. behind. A third rider stays in the left position. After passing. and discourages traffic from breaking into the formation. and to the sides. After passing. the leader should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. two seconds behind the first rider. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider.lane. The fourth rider would keep a two-second distance behind the second rider. It encourages the second rider to pass and cut back in before there is a large enough space cushion in front of the passed vehicle. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe. It’s simpler and safer to wait until there is enough room ahead of the passed vehicle to allow each rider to move 40 . • Passing in Formation — Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. This is not a good idea. the second rider should move up to the left position and watch for a safe chance to pass. First. When the first rider passes safely.
identifying potential hazards. 14. Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and to operating the motorcycle. 11-D. When riding in a group. Avoid riding when you are tired. 2 hours a day. 10-C. C. inexperienced riders should position themselves: A.into the same position held before the pass. 5-B. 4-A. 13-A. FATIGUE Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. C. 10 hours a day. 2-D. and get off the cycle at least every two hours. cold. 13. and when entering or leaving a highway. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. 7-D. 8-D. • Single-File Formation — It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves or turning. making good judgments. To avoid fatigue. In the middle of the group. D. 6 hours a day. In front of the group. Beside the leader. • Don’t Drink or Use Drugs — Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression when they start to wear off. 4 hours a day. • Take Frequent Rest Breaks — Stop. Fatigue can affect your control of the cycle. 9-D. • Limit Your Distance — Experienced riders seldom try to ride more than about six hours a day. 14-C 41 . you’ll tire sooner than you would in a car. Dress warmly. and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. making it very difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. D. BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. B. On a long trip. 3-D. Answers: 1-D. B. and rain make you tire quickly. • Protect Yourself From the Elements — Wind. 12-A. Behind the leader. you should ride no more than: A. 6-C.
helmets and motorcycles are provided. EXPERIENCED COURSE: This second-level course is designed for riders with at least three-month’s experience. fun to ride. Both courses take place in controlled. off-street environments. THE TRAINING PROGRAM: Think of it as a desk with two wheels! There are two levels to the STAR Program: one for beginners and another for more experienced riders. controlling rear-wheel skids. Motorcycle Rider Courses teach and improve skills such as effective turning. and stopping. obstacle avoidance. using your own motorcycle. This way. and swerving. shifting. some you may not have realized you were missing! Rider courses are available throughout Idaho. BASIC COURSE: This is the beginner course. and emergency-braking skills. students with similar skill levels learn together.idahostar. You’ll learn the effects of drugs and alcohol. you’ll have valuable new riding skills. their controls. specially designed for novice riders. understanding. Both courses are taught by Idaho-certified instructors. traffic strategies. and maintenance. You’ll begin with straight-line riding. so you don’t have to worry about traffic. then advance to more complex cornering. protective apparel selection. You are responsible for providing the required protective clothing (eye protection. proper cornering. stopping quickly. you’ll practice techniques of managing traction. When you’re finished. The course takes place over two-and-a-half days—evenings and weekends. Unfortunately. sturdy pants. Even if you’ve been riding for some time. The Idaho STAR toll-free number is (888) 280-STAR (7827). or you may contact the STAR program at the Idaho Department of Education at (208) 426-5552. For the location of the one nearest you. You’ll spend a short time in the classroom fine-tuning the mental skills needed for survival in traffic. turning. swerving. . go online to www. boots that cover the ankle. many riders never learn the critical skills needed to ride safely. and easy to park.PROFESSIONAL TRAINING Motorcycles are inexpensive to operate. This one-day course puts you through the paces. and knowledge to help you develop skills you can’t learn from family members or friends. .org. 42 . You’ll spend about seven hours in the classroom and about nine hours riding a motorcycle. there’s always something new you can learn. braking maneuvers. and you’ll discover how to create your own strategies for riding in traffic and dealing with critical situations. Professional training for beginning and experienced riders prepares them for real-world traffic situations. These are highly-experienced riders with the patience. Then. You’ll become familiar with different types of motorcycles. and how they operate. In the beginner course. and a jacket). gloves.
C. All of the stopping power. It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: A. 3. 4. make eye contact with the driver. The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? A. maintain speed and move right. About one-quarter. B. C. 2. there is a stop sign ahead. B. use both brakes and stop quickly.KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions) (The answers are printed at the bottom of the next page. C. your signals are not working. you will be slowing suddenly. D. shift your weight toward the good wheel and brake. C. 5. press the handgrip in the opposite direction of the turn. D. or avoid braking. C. B. D. About one-half. brake on the good tire and steer to the right. 43 . D. B. hold the handlegrips firmly and apply the brake on the good tire. maintain speed and position and be ready to react.) 1. reduce speed and be ready to react. turn the handlebars quickly. shift your weight quickly. If a tire goes flat while riding. D. B. it is usually best to: A. The car is waiting to enter the intersection. About three-quarters. To swerve correctly: A. someone is following too closely. press the handgrip in the direction of the turn. It is best to: A.
Completing normal and quick turns. Knowledge Test Answers: 1-B. 3-C. be seen. Make critical decisions and carry them out.MOTORCYCLE SKILL TEST Basic vehicle control and obstacle-avoidance skills are included in skill tests to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations. or swerves. Accelerate. brake. and communicate with others. Stop. For example. you may be tested for your ability to: • • • • • • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits. Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • • • • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers. Completing normal and quick stops. and swerve quickly. Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. Choosing the correct path and staying within boundaries. 2-C. 4-A. See. 5-C 44 . turn. and turn safely.
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