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The number of motorcycles on our roadways is increasing every year. Currently, there are nearly 270,000 motorcycles on Illinois roads. Because of their size and vulnerability in a crash, it is important to take special precautions when riding a motorcycle. Learning and then practicing proper cycling skills can significantly reduce the risk of an accident.
This Illinois Motorcycle Operator Manual provides information that will help you learn how to operate your motorcycle safely and skillfully. Information needed for the Illinois Secretary of State motorcycle license exams also is included. I hope you will use this resource not only as a study aid, but as a tool to develop your motorcycling skills.
In addition to studying this manual when preparing for your motorcycle exams, please review the Illinois Rules of the Road booklet as well. This booklet provides an overview of important traffic safety laws. Motorcycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists. By obeying traffic laws and practicing good motorcycling skills you will ensure not only your safety but the safety of others who share the road with you.
Jesse White Secretary of State
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Motorcycle Classification. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Instruction Permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 License Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Motorcycle Traffic Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Quick Stops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23-24 Swerving or Turning Quickly . . . . . . . . . . 24 Cornering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-25
Dangerous Surfaces Preparing to Ride
Helmet Use/Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Eye and Face Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7 Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles . . . . . . . 26 Slippery Surfaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Tracks and Pavement Seams . . . . . . . 27-28 Grooves and Gratings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Know Your Motorcycle and Your Responsibilities
Borrowing and Lending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Get Familiar with the Controls . . . . . . . . . 8 Check Your Motorcycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9 Your Responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Tire Failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Stuck Throttle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Wobble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Chain Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Engine Seizure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Motorcycle Control and Operation
Body Position. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Shifting Gears. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Braking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Turning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-12 Keeping Your Distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Lane Positions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13 Following Another Vehicle . . . . . . . . . 13-14 Being Followed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Passing and Being Passed . . . . . . . . . . 14-15 Lane Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Merging Vehicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-16 Vehicles Alongside . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 SIPDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-17 Intersections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17-19 Passing Parked Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Parking at the Roadside and Curbs . . . . 19
Animals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Flying Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Getting Off the Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Carrying Passengers and Cargo
Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Instructing Passengers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Riding with Passengers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Carrying Loads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31-32
Protect Yourself and Others
Group Riding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-33 Alcohol and Other Drugs . . . . . . . . . . 33-36 Fatigue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Earning Your Motorcycle License
Skills Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36-39 Required Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39-40 Knowledge Test — Sample Questions . . 41 Knowledge Test/Test Yourself Answers . 41 Motorcycle Rider Safety Training Program Regional Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Classification Criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Headlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Signals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Brake Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Using Your Mirrors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21-22 Head Checks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Horn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Riding at Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23
Illinois driver’s licenses are classified according to the type and weight of the vehicles to be driven. There are two classifications for motorcycle licenses: Class L: Any motor-driven cycle with less than 150cc displacement. Class M: Any motorcycle or motordriven cycle. To obtain a motorcycle classification on your driver’s license, you must pass a separate motorcycle examination (see pages 36-39). Drivers age 16 or 17 wishing to obtain a motorcycle license also must successfully complete a motorcycle training course approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Persons age 18 and over who successfully complete an IDOT motorcycle training course are not required to pass a written or driving examination at a Driver Services facility.
Motor-Driven Cycle — Persons age 16 or 17 who have successfully completed driver education, may apply for a 24-month instruction permit to operate a motor-driven cycle (under 150cc). The permit allows driving only during daylight hours, under the direct supervision of a licensed motor-driven cycle operator age 21 or older with at least one year driving experience. Motorcycle — Persons age 18 or older may apply for a 12-month instruction permit to operate a motorcycle other than a motor-driven cycle. The permit allows driving only during daylight hours, under the direct supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator age 21 or older with at least one year driving experience. A 24-month instruction permit for a Class M license may be issued to an applicant under age 18 only after successful completion of an approved driver education course and after successful completion of an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. Rental/Out-Of-State Drivers — A person must have a valid driver’s license with the appropriate motorcycle classification to rent a motorcycle or motordriven cycle. Out-of-state drivers may drive for the period during which they are in Illinois, providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country. Moped Operators — Motorized pedalcycles, often called mopeds, are low-
• Become familiar with the motorcycle. Any person who operates a motorcycle on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving. signals and traffic laws. Preparing to Ride Before taking off on any trip. • Check the motorcycle equipment. therefore. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs. signs and signals in the same way as other drivers. • Be a responsible rider. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways. a safe rider makes a point to: • Wear the right gear. two-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycle drivers are prohibited from passing between two other vehicles going in the same direction unless there is an unobstructed traffic lane available to permit such passing safely. along with applications for transfer and title. Moped operators are not required to obtain a motorcycle classification.speed. Motorcycle Traffic Laws Motorcycle drivers must obey all traffic laws. They also are prohibited from passing on the right unless there is unobstructed pavement at least 8-feet wide to the right of the vehicle being passed. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. 5 . If trading from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). the license plate must be sent to the Secretary of State. License Plates All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways. the correct piston displacement must appear on your license plate registration application.
head and neck injuries are reduced by the proper wearing of an approved helmet. Research also shows that.You have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury in a crash if you wear: • Helmet (A helmet is not required under Illinois law. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. if you are involved in a crash. such as cracks. A study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes. with few exceptions. loose padding or frayed straps. helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. You get the most protection by making sure that any helmet: • Meets U.) • Face or eye protection. it is likely to fly off your head. and • Protective clothing. No matter what the speed. At these speeds. Eye and Face Protection A plastic shatter-resistant faceshield can help protect your whole face in a 6 . where 40 percent of the riders wore helmets.S. Helmet Use/Selection Motorcycle crashes are common. providing two levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. Some riders do not wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. There are two primary Helmets types of helmets. Department of Transportation and state standards. • Has no obvious defects. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a crash occurs. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists. however. Whatever helmet you wear. just a few minutes after starting out. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of a fatal head injury in an accident. • Fits snugly all the way around. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. • Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long). Otherwise. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. particularly among beginning riders. Following are some facts to consider: • An approved helmet lets you see as far to the sides as necessary.
1. Sturdy synthetic material also provides a lot of protection. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. Goggles protect your eyes. although they will not protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. c. dust. Soles should be made of hard.crash. • Gloves allow a better grip and help protect your hands in a crash. To be effective. It also protects you from wind. Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. • Permit air to pass through to reduce fogging. cold. even on summer days. • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. dirt. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. Only protects your eyes. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. Glasses will not keep your eyes from watering and they may blow off when you turn your head while riding. • Jacket and pants should cover arms and legs completely. Clothing The right clothing protects you in a crash. insects and pebbles thrown from cars ahead. d. • Boots or shoes should be high and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. and divert your attention from concentrating on the road. • Give a clear view to either side. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. if needed. Leather offers the most protection. slip-resistant material. debris. In cold or wet weather. as well as protect you from injury. Is not necessary if you have a windshield. Keep heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. Answer — page 41 7 . eye or faceshield protection must: • Be free of scratches. and hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. It also provides comfort as well as protection from heat. yet loosely enough to move freely. rain. b. • Fasten securely so it does not blow off. These problems are distracting and can be painful. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. wrists and waist. Test Yourself A plastic shatter-resistant face shield: a. • Be resistant to penetration. durable. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. Helps protect your whole face. Does not protect your face as well as goggles. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. your clothes should keep you warm and dry.
Borrowing and Lending Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware.Know Your Motorcycle and Your Responsibilities Many things on the highway can cause you trouble. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. Check Your Motorcycle A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. horn. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. get familiar with it in a controlled area. Before mounting the motorcycle. All controls react a little differently. No matter how experienced you may be. If something is wrong with the motorcycle. • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. If you borrow a motorcycle. headlight switch. 2. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. • Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. Occur at speeds greater than 35 mph. Happen at night. • Know the gear pattern. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. • Check the motorcycle before every ride. And if you lend your motorcycle out. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. make sure the driver is licensed and knows how to ride. Work the throttle. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. Are caused by worn tires. Get Familiar with the Controls Familiarize yourself completely with the motorcycle and review the owner’s manual before you take the motorcycle out on the street (see diagram on page 9). • Accelerate gently. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding. particularly the turn signals. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. c. Answer — page 41 8 . More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience. d. • Start with the right motorcycle for you. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. To make sure your motorcycle won’t let you down: • Read the owner’s manual first. Your motorcycle should not be one of them. take turns more slowly and leave extra room for stopping. Involve riders who have ridden their motorcycles less than six months. • Find out where everything is. Test Yourself More than half of all crashes: a. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. b. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. general wear and tread. Your motorcycle should “fit” you. Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. you will want to find out about it before you get in traffic.
The throttle should snap back when you let go. It is difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly. and make sure each one turns on the brake light. • Brakes — Try the front and rear brake levers one at a time. When properly adjusted. Make sure it works. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. • Horn — Try the horn. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. cables. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust both mirrors before starting. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak. In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind you and as much as possible of the lane next to you. At a minimum. but it is the road behind and to the side that is most important. • Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. check the following items at least once a week: wheels. Horn Engine Cut-Off Switch Throttle Speedometer and Odometer Ignition Key Front Brake Lever Light Switch (High-Low) Clutch Left Turn Signal Switch Lever Electric Start Button Right Turn Signal Switch Tachometer (if equipped) Rear Brake Pedal Fuel Supply Valve Gear Change Lever Kick Starter (if equipped) 9 . • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. fasteners and fluids.• Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. Make sure all lights are working properly. Follow your owner’s manual for recommendations. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams are working. • Turn Signals — Turn on both turn signals. The clutch should feel tight and smooth. a mirror may show the edge of your arm or shoulder.
Remember. To lessen your risk of a crash: • Be visible — wear proper clothing. • Identify and separate multiple hazards. brake light and lane position. you cannot be sure that other motorists will see you or yield the right of way. Motorcycle Control and Operation This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. lane sharing. any crash. ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. make critical decisions and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper crash-avoidance skills. passing and being passed. follow these guidelines: • Posture — Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. Do not drag your feet. • Scan your path of travel 12 seconds ahead. or an unprepared participant in. If your foot catches on something. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them. speed or balance.Your Responsibilities As a motorcycle rider. • Maintain an adequate space cushion — following. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed. Body Position To control a motorcycle well. Also. use your headlight. • Communicate your intentions — use the proper signals. • Hands — Hold the handlegrips Holding Handlegrips firmly to keep your grip over rough surfaces. The ability to ride aware. • Seat — Sit far enough forward so your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips so you press on the handlebars without having to stretch. Also. 10 . it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. • Feet — Keep your feet firmly on the footpegs to maintain balance. being followed. Start with your right wrist RIGHT flat. don’t let your toes point downward — they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your WRONG balance as the motorcycle turns. adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows in order to use the proper muscles for precision steering. Those are things you can learn only through practice. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road.
Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. less traction is available for stopping. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. go right. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel may cause a skid. resulting in control problems. remember to do so smoothly.Shifting Gears There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Braking Your motorcycle has two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. 2. (Consult the owner’s manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems. Using both brakes for even “normal” stops will permit you to develop the proper habit or skill of using both brakes properly in an emergency. applying both brakes.) Turning Approach turns and curves with caution. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. causing a skid and loss of control. not your shoulders. • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. • Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever — never grab. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. Also. Use both of them at the same time. Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. 3. lean left. Or. • It is best to change gears before entering a turn. However. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more. 11 . The front brake is safe to use if used properly. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. When they can’t hold the turn. LEAN — To turn the motorcycle must lean. Press left. LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering. Work toward a smooth. • Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. go left. If not. Press right. • If you know the technique. • Use the brakes to slow enough before downshifting when riding downhill or shifting into first gear. Use the following four steps for better control: 1. if necessary. • Some motorcycles have integrated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. Turn just your head. using both brakes in a turn is possible. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. lean right. they overreact and brake too hard. especially when downshifting. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. SLOW — Reduce speed before the turn by closing the throttle and. If so. although it should be done very carefully. even clutch release. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock. To lean the motorcycle.
• Communicate your intentions. • Avoid others’ blind spots. In slow tight turns. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle.4. Lane Positions Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more easily seen by others on the road. In general. • Provide an escape route. • Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. there is no single best lane position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. including the center. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. • Protect your lane from other drivers. counterbalance by leaning the motorcycle only and keeping your body straight. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel. If someone else makes a mistake. • Avoid surface hazards. No portion of the lane need be avoided. ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. 12 . Slow Turning Keeping Your Distance The best protection you can have on the road is distance — a “cushion of space” — all around your motorcycle. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. Lane Positions In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. Normal Turns In normal turns. distance permits you time to react and space to maneuver.
count off the seconds: “one-thousand-one. open up a 3-second or more following distance. one-thousand-two. the center of the lane. motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars. Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. c. Normally. Keep your arms straight. Unless the road is wet. If vehicles are being operated on both sides of you. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride on safely. a minimum 2second following distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. To gauge your following distance: • Pick out a marker. The oily strip in the center portion that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide.” • If you reach the marker before you reach “two. such as a pavement marking or lamp post. Change position as traffic situations change. Avoid riding on big build-ups of oil and grease usually found at busy intersections or toll booths. If the pavement is slippery. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going. A 2-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly. You can operate to the left or right of the grease strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane. or if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you. d. b. In traffic.” you are following too closely. path 2.Position yourself in the portion of the lane where you are most likely to be seen and you can maintain a space cushion around you. Test Yourself When riding you should: a. Remain in path 1 or 2 if hazards are on your right only. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. This will make it easier 3. Answer — page 41 13 . Turn your head and shoulders. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. on or near the road ahead. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. is usually your best option (see illustration on page 12). Following Another Vehicle Following “Following too closely” could be a factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left only.
Answer — page 41 . Signal and check for oncoming traffic. 2. a good way to handle tailgaters is to: a. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. Passing — When passing. Use your horn and make obscene gestures. If the traffic situation allows. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. passes must be completed within posted speed limits and only where permitted. Know your signs and road markings. When behind a vehicle. 4. 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 (see illustration on page 13). Being Followed Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. d. This will also encourage them to pass. c. Remember. Change lanes and let them pass. b. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. however. Avoid being hit by: • The other vehicle — A slight mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe. Being Passed — When you are being passed. Select a lane position that does not crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane. Passing and Being Passed Be sure other drivers see you and that you see potential hazards when passing and being passed. • Extended mirrors — Some drivers forget that their 14 4. Ride through the blind spot as quickly as possible. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. follow these steps: 1. It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. Riding at the far side of a lane may permit a driver to see you in a sideview mirror. Riding any closer to the passing vehicle could put you in a hazardous situation. change lanes and let them pass. Test Yourself Usually. the center portion of the lane is usually the best place for you to be seen by the drivers ahead and to prevent lane sharing by others. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror. Ignore them. 3. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. move into the left lane and accelerate. If you cannot do this. If they do not pass.to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. When safe. most drivers don’t look at the sideview mirrors as often as they check the rearview mirror. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead. stay in the center portion of your lane. When someone is following too closely.
Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. Keep a centerportion position whenever drivers might Merging be tempted to squeeze by you. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. A hand could come out of a window. a car could turn suddenly.Passing Being Passed mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. • Objects thrown from windows — Even if the driver knows you are there. • When they want to pass you. a door could open. bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lane Sharing Automobiles and motorcycles need a full lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is usually prohibited. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected. Discourage lane sharing by others. Merging Vehicles Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. • Blasts of wind from larger vehicles — They can affect your control. • When you are getting in an exit lane or leaving a highway. Give them plenty of 15 . 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.
Decide.?” phrase to estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience.. guard rails. Vehicles in the next lane also block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. Predict. bridges. and apply them correctly in different traffic situation. Predict where a collision may occur. You might be in the blind spot of a vehicle in the next lane. shopping areas. Change to another lane if one is open. hedges or trees will not move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. roadway signs. Execute (SIPDE) Good experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them..room. How assertively you search and how much time and space you have can eliminate or reduce harm. Identify. The mental process of determining your course of action depends on how 16 . school zones and construction zones. • Traffic coming from the left and right. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. Scan for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. a five-step process used to make appropriate judgements. Identify — Locate hazards and potential conflicts. Decide — Determine what you need to do based on your prediction. Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. adjust speed to open up space for the merging driver. • Hazardous road conditions. Completing this “what if. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. • Traffic approaching from behind. • Stationary objects like potholes. distance and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you. which could switch into your lane without warning. Blind Spots Vehicles Alongside Do not ride next to vehicles in other lanes if you do not have to. They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others. • Pedestrians and animals may be unpredictable and make short. Be especially alert in areas with limited visibility. Scan. Predict — Consider speed. quick moves. Scan — Search aggressively ahead. If there is no room for a lane change. • Vehicles and other motorcycles may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a crash.
school zones and construction zones. Too often. are the biggest To reduce your reaction time. others see you. Vehicles that turn left in front of you. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. Using SIPDE (see pages should: 16-17) at intersections is critical. 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. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards.” to handle two or more hazards. including those turning left from the lane to your right. you dangers. The result is your action and knowing which strategy is best for the situation. stopping or slowing. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to hazards. and 5. You want to eliminate or reduce the potential hazard. Shift into neutral when slowing. • Adjust your position and/or direction. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. The decisions you make can be grouped by types of hazards you encounter: • Single hazard • Two hazards • Multiple hazards Execute — Carry out your decision. b. a. Cover the clutch and brakes. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to separate. Apply the old adage. Intersections The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. Over one-half of motorcycle/automobile crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s rightof-way. Never count on d. a Answer — page 41 driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to Small Intersection 17 . There are no guarantees that c. Ride slower than the speed limit. Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. “one step at a time. “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. Your constant decision-making tasks must stay sharp to cope with constantly changing traffic situations. Pull the clutch when turning.aggressively you searched. You must decide when. where and how to take action. Test Yourself those on side streets that pull into your lane. In potential high-risk areas.
Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. Do not change speed or position radically. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. assume that it will. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field Blind Intersection Blind Intersection 18 . Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. If a car can enter your path. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection.Large Intersection “see” him/her. Large Intersections — As you approach the intersection. The driver might think you are preparing to turn. but to stay out of it. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. Good riders are always “looking for trouble” not to get into it. Blind Intersections — If you approach a blind intersection. After entering the intersection. select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver.
Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you are looking. Then edge forward and stop again. In the illustration on page 18. Vehicles making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. Also.of vision at the earliest possible moment. the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. stay toward the left of your lane. slow down and get the driver’s attention. Sound your horn and continue with caution. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in. they are looking through the skinny. drivers often say they never saw the motorcycle. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. Because you cannot tell what a driver will do. More likely. stop there first. it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. parked cars or bushes to see if anything is coming. They may cut you off entirely. Parked Cars Parking at the Roadside and Curbs Park at a 90-degree angle to the curb with the rear wheel touching the curb. it is difficult to see something you are not looking for. From that position. From ahead or behind. he/she may fail to see you. If oncoming traffic is present. lean your body forward and look around buildings. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening. In either event. so the driver on the cross street can see him/her as soon as possible. blocking the entire roadway and leaving you with no place to go. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than that of another vehicle’s. the driver might cut into your path. the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space. Being Seen In crashes with motorcyclists. Even if the driver does look. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane (see illustration on page 18). two-wheeled silhouette 19 . Passing Parked Cars When passing parked cars. away from the parked car. If you have a stop sign or stop line. Remember.
red. Headlight The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to keep the headlight on at all times (although motorcycles sold in the U. They tell others what you plan to do. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are.S. Too often. 20 . yellow or green jackets or vests are your best bets for being seen. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers coming from the side to spot you. signals are even more important. Your helmet can do more than protect you in a crash. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors. Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. you are not necessarily safe.in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. Bright orange. Reflective. Reflective material also can be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. Even if a driver does see you coming. thinking they have plenty of time. It is the car you do not see that is going to give you the most trouble. Illinois law requires that the headlight be on when operating on streets and highways. Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. Use the low beam at night and in cloudy weather. Due to a rider’s added vulnerability. Signaling Signals The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. Remember. they are wrong. Use them even when you think no one else is around. since 1978 automatically have the headlights on when running). Brightly colored helmets also may help others see you. however. That is why it is a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. You can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your motorcycle: Clothing Most crashes occur in broad daylight. bright-colored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best.
or may be unsure will yield. This will hopefully discourage them from tailgating and warn them of hazards ahead they may not see. he/she could be on top of you before 6. you cannot afford to ignore situations behind. it is a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow.) If the situation permits. Make a point of using your mirrors: • When stopped at an intersection. Test Yourself he/she sees you. the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection. Once you turn. • Before changing lanes. If the driver is not paying attention. you signal a turn and will yield to you. Is not worth the effort it takes. Turning on your signal light before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for traffic around you. The b. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly. Traffic conditions change quickly. particularly when your taillight is on. a. Does not mean the other driver you to slow. Using Mirrors Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal scanning routine. Brake Light Your motorcycle’s brake light is usually not as noticeable as the brake lights on a car. or a driver may pull directly into your path thinking you plan to turn again. 21 . Do not make them guess what you intend to do. Guarantees that the other driver example. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • You slow more quickly than others might expect (turning off a high-speed highway). Using Your Mirrors While it is most important to scan what is happening ahead. Watch cars coming up from behind. make sure your signal is off. Knowing what is going on behind is essential for you to make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. For d. about where you will slow. Is a good sign they see you. help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down.When you enter a freeway. driver behind may not expect c. • Before slowing down. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). Make Making eye contact with other drivers: sure no one is about to pass you. If you are being followed closely. Answer — page 41 rather than at a nearer driveway. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down. (It goes on with the headlight.
use it. Then.) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. turn your head and look to the side for other vehicles. This will 7. particularly on roads you do not know well. Frequent head checks also should be your normal scanning routine. riding a bicycle or walking. but don’t rely on it. • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. allow extra distance before you change lanes. Riding at Night At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. • Someone is in the street. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. In an emergency. Be worn at night.Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. Be worn during the day. They also make vehicles seem farther away than they really are. therefore. Be worn day and night. These provide a wider view of the road behind than flat mirrors. If you are not used to convex mirrors. Following are some situations: • A driver in the lane next to you is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. These contrasts Answer — page 41 are missing or distorted under 22 . Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. Your eyes b. Test Yourself increase your chances of avoiding a hazard. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn is not as loud as a car’s. Before changing lanes. Horn Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. pick out a parked car in your mirror. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone who may move into your lane. Picking your headlight or taillight out of the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like other vehicles. Not be worn. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take. away an object is and how fast it is coming. check the far lane and the one next to you. rely upon shadows and light c. Form a mental image of how far away it is. To compensate: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day. Head Checks Checking your mirrors is not enough. than during the day. (While you are stopped. get familiar with them. On a road with several lanes. press the horn button loud and long. Only by knowing what is happening all around you are you fully prepared to deal with it. • Increase Distance — Distances Reflective clothing should: are harder to judge at night a. Even then. contrasts to determine how far d.
two skills critical to avoiding a crash. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. apply both brakes at the same time. Riders also must be able to swerve around an obstacle.• • • • artificial lights at night. Know when and how to stop or swerve. release the front brake immediately then reapply it firmly. crashes occur because a rider is not prepared for crash-avoidance maneuvers. Even with a locked rear wheel. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. Open up a 3-second following distance or more. Squeeze the brake lever firmly and progressively. Test Yourself control the motorcycle on a straight away if it is upright and The best way to stop quickly is to: going in a straight line. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. 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. be seen and keep an adequate space cushion. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. Be Visible — Wear reflective materials when riding at night. At the same time. Don’t be shy about using the front brake. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. Always use both brakes at the c. brake can provide 70 percent or d. Use the front brake only. Be Flexible About Lane Position — Change to whatever portion of the lane is best to help you see. Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. Often. Use both brakes simultaneously. Quick Stops To stop quickly. Crash Avoidance No matter how careful you are. you can 8. a. Use the rear brake first. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to rough pavement. Answer — page 41 Stopping Distance 23 . If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface. If the front wheel locks. Throttle down and use the front same time to stop. Determining the skills necessary for the situation is important as well. keep it locked until you have completely stopped. more of the potential stopping power. Studies show most crashinvolved riders: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate. press down on the rear brake. b. The front brake. but don’t “grab” it either.
A swerve is any sudden change in direction. never while swerving. If you must brake while leaning. Press on the opposite handlegrip once you clear the obstacle to return to your original direction of travel. You should “straighten” the handlebars in the last few feet of stopping. The sharper the turn(s). press the left handlegrip. Swerving or Turning Quickly Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. separate it from swerving. Cornering A primary cause of single-vehicle crashes is motorcyclists running wide in a Swerve. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might squeal to a stop. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. Then Swerve 24 . then press the right to recover. even if you use both brakes properly.the best technique is to straighten the bike upright first and then brake. As you slow. Apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip located on the side of your intended direction of escape. press right. Brake before or after. Then Brake Brake. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. apply light brakes and reduce the throttle. then left. Make your escape route the target of your vision. the more the motorcycle must lean. This will cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. However. The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. If braking is required. To swerve to the right. It can be two quick turns or a rapid shift to the side. The motorcycle should then be straight up and in balance. it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. To swerve to the left. Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn while keeping your knees against the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs.
and grooves and gratings. 25 .Constant Curves Multiple Curves Decreasing Curves (Tighter Turns) Widening Curves curve or turn and colliding with the roadway or a fixed object. and as you pass the center. If no traffic is present. move to the outside to exit. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. Every curve is different. Another alternative is to move to the center of your lane before entering a curve and stay there until you exit. Change lane position depending on traffic. railroad tracks. road conditions and curve of the road. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. Dangerous Surfaces Your chance of falling or being involved in a crash increases whenever you ride across uneven surfaces or obstacles. move toward the inside of the curve. start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. This permits you to spot approaching traffic as soon as possible. slippery surfaces.Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. As you turn. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane. gradually widens. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant.
particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact. • 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. Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. If you must go over the obstacle. broken pavement. or where sand and gravel collect. potholes or small pieces of highway trash.Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles Obstacles Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. Approach it at as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce your speed — Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding. • Mud. • Gravel roads. roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. • Lane markings. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. Your motorcycle needs more distance to Beware of Slippery Roads 26 . snow and ice. If you ride over an object on the street. Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement. especially when wet. • Just before contact. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. Slippery Surfaces Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. If you have to ride over the obstacle. steel plates and manhole covers. first determine if it is possible.
• Avoid the center of a lane — When it starts to rain. move far enough away from tracks. Be sure to keep off the brakes. Turning to take tracks head on (at a 90-degree angle) can be more dangerous and may carry you into another lane of traffic. You may slip and fall. Be aware of what is on the edge of the road. Trolley Tracks and Pavement Seams It is usually safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. • Watch for ice patches — Ice develops more quickly on some sections of a road than on others. shift gears. turn or brake. • Avoid sudden moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. Often. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. gentle pressure on the rear brake. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce speed. Remember. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid locking the front wheel. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. If you cannot avoid a slippery surface. If you encounter a large surface so slippery you must coast or travel at a walking pace. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. If the motorcycle starts to fall. you can catch yourself. • Watch for dirt and gravel — Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. If possible. ruts or pavement Crosstracks — RIGHT Parallel Tracks — RIGHT Crosstracks — WRONG Parallel Tracks — WRONG 27 . Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. squeeze the clutch and coast. Railroad Tracks. • Use both brakes — The front brake is still effective. even on a slippery surface. ride in the tire tracks left by cars. Patches of ice tend to form in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. • Watch for oil spots — Be careful when you put your foot down to stop or park. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. consider letting your feet skim along the surface. It is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery.stop. the left tire track will be the best position.
The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. make a quick.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. The uneasy. Tire Failure You will seldom hear a tire go flat. and keep a straight course. Grooves and Gratings Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause a motorcycle to weave. Pull off to the side until the rain several times. if you are sure which one it is. Test Yourself squeeze the clutch and stop. Following are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold handlegrips firmly. If the rear tire goes flat. react quickly to keep your balance. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars. If the throttle cable stops. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. If the c. however. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. • When the motorcycle slows. edge to the side of the road. ease off the throttle. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. it may be a tire failure. is stuck. When it starts raining it is usually best to: Stuck Throttle a. immediately d. 9. You have to steer well to keep your balance. throttle stays stuck. You should be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts. Then. operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same Answer — page 41 time. maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. • If braking is required. Ride in the center of the lane. gradually apply the brake of the tire that is not flat. If the front tire goes flat. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. this may free it. the steering will feel “heavy. Twist the throttle back and forth b. Grate Crossings — RIGHT Grate Crossings — WRONG Mechanical Problems You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle.seams to cross at an angle of at least 45 degrees. Pull off and check the tires. sharp turn. Increase your speed. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. This can be dangerous. In dealing with any mechanical problem. This will remove power 28 . Relax.
Check the oil. Accelerate out of the wobble. misaligned or out of balance. If none of these are determined to be the cause. pull off the road. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable. Once the motorcycle is “under control. although engine noise may not immediately decline. Pull off the road and stop. Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. Chain Problems A chain that slips or breaks while you are riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your motorcycle to skid. c. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. Tightening the chain may help. If needed. loose wheel bearings or spokes. Check for poorly adjusted steering. b. spring pre-load. • Move your weight as far forward and down as possible. Engine Seizure When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. Answer — page 41 29 . lighten it. a front wheel that is bent. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. Check the chain and sprockets.from the rear wheel. Use the brakes gradually. • Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. If you are carrying a heavy load. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets. Downshift. oil 10. • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. and swingarm bearings. After you have stopped. unsuitable accessories or incorrect tire pressure. check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble. but do not fight the wobble. If you can’t. Do not apply the brakes. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. worn steering parts. Make sure tire pressure. The engine’s moving parts cannot move smoothly against each other and the engine overheats. replace the chain. Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. You should instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. the sprockets or both before riding again. shift it. Grip the handlebars firmly and close the throttle gradually. braking could make the wobble worse. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. Test Yourself If your motorcycle starts to wobble you should: a. air shocks and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. d. Wobble A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed.” pull off and stop. • Breakage — You will notice an instant loss of power to the rear wheel.
Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. they are unpredictable. 11. downshift and approach the animal slowly. If you are in traffic.). accelerate away and leave the animal behind. You do not want someone else pulling off at the same place you are. practice away from traffic. Test Yourself If you are chased by a dog you should: a. Do not kick at an animal. Swerve around the animal. When safe. It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. slow down before you turn onto it. As you approach it. Whatever happens. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. speeds up and slows down. Getting off the Road If you need to leave the road to check the motorcycle (or need to rest): • Check the roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. balances. remain in your lane. When this happens. cigarettes thrown from cars or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction. Stop until the animal loses interest. If you are wearing face protection. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. • Park carefully — Loose and sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. loose sand or you are just not sure about it. For larger animals (deer. it might get smeared or cracked. pull off the road and repair the damage. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal. etc. Answer — page 41 30 . face or mouth. like a car. If it is soft grass. b. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. c. • Signal — Drivers behind might not expect you to slow down. Let the engine cool before restarting. cattle. d. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big. Without face protection. brake and prepare to stop. If you are chased. an object could hit you in the eye. riders are struck by insects. • Pull off the road — Get as far off the road as you can. making it difficult to see. Flying Objects Occasionally. Approach the animal slowly. however. Keep control of your motorcycle and look to where you want to go. Carrying Passengers and Cargo Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. Obstacles Animals Naturally. then speed up.should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. Kick it away. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel.
Riding with Passengers Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. corners or bumps. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. hips or belt. • Protective equipment — the same as recommended for motorcycle operators. • Are about to start from a stop. even when stopped. • Open up a larger cushion of space ahead and to the sides. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings.Equipment To carry passengers safely: • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. The heavier your passenger. leaning as you lean. • Keep both feet on the footpegs. Carrying Loads Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. • Hold on firmly to your waist. • Instruct the passenger before you start. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. Small loads can be 31 . • Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. • Warn that you will make a sudden move. Instructing Passengers Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. Equipment should include: • Proper seat — large enough to hold both of you without crowding. especially on a light motorcycle. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. the longer it will take to slow down and speed up. • Ride slower. • Stay directly behind you. Also. • Footpegs for passenger — firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off too. • Avoid unnecessary talk or motion. • Keep legs away from the muffler(s). enter or merge in traffic. chains or moving parts. Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. provide complete instructions before you start. especially when taking curves. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. tell your passenger to tighten his/her hold when you: • Approach surface problems.
” If your group is larger than four or five riders. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. permitting the load to shift or fall. • Follow those behind — Let the tailender set the pace. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. Test Yourself 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. Elastic cords with more than one attachment point per side are more secure. the rear axle. b. Start lane changes early to permit others to follow. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. Tankbags keep loads forward. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes. • Know the route — Make sure everyone knows the route so if someone is separated they will not have to hurry to keep from getting lost or taking a wrong turn. A close group takes up less space on the highway. A small number is not separated as easily by traffic or red lights. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. Answer — page 41 32 . Protect Yourself and Others Group Riding If you ride with others. Make sure the tankbag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. It can also cause a wobble. Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. c. • Distribute the load evenly — Load saddlebags with about the same weight. everyone should slow to stay with the tailender. causing it to lock up and skid. Never hold on to you. Sit as far back as possible. • Secure the load — Fasten the load securely with bungee cords or nets. Passengers should: a. If a rider falls behind. Hold on to the motorcycle seat. Lean as you lean. or in front of. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. 12. However. it must be done properly. • Plan Ahead — The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so “word gets back” in plenty of time. Plan frequent stops on long rides. Riders will not always be hurrying to “catch up. A tight load will not catch in the wheel or chain. • Put beginners up front — Place inexperienced riders just behind the leader where more experienced riders can watch them from the back. • Keep the load forward — Place the load over. Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. d. do it in a way that promotes safety and does not interfere with the flow of traffic.carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. divide it into two or more smaller groups. • Keep the load low — Fasten loads securely or put them in saddlebags. • Check the load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose.
Answer — page 41 33 . After passing. After the first rider passes safely. A third rider maintains in the left position. b. • Staggered formation — This is the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. d. Beside the leader. Alcohol and other drugs.• Don’t pair up — Never operate directly Staggered Formation alongside another rider. In front of the group. After passing. First. • Passing in formation — Riders in a Group Passing Group Passing staggered formation should pass Stage 2 Stage 1 one at a time. Test Yourself When riding in a group. wait until you are both stopped. while the second rider stays one second behind in the right side of the lane. The leader rides in the left side of the lane. behind and to the sides. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. The fourth rider would keep a 2-second distance behind the second rider. Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. This is not a good idea. decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. To talk. c. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe. inexperienced riders should position themselves: a. the leader should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider. Alcohol and Other Drugs Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. It is 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. 2 seconds behind the first rider. There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. 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. 13. At the tail end of the group. more than any other factor. the second rider should move up to the left position and watch for a safe chance to pass. entering or leaving a highway. turning. It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves. Just behind the leader.
Generally. Annually. Within minutes after being consumed. • 7 drinks in 3 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in his/her system. more than 2. physical condition and food intake are just a few that may cause your BAC level to be even higher.Studies show that nearly half of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. enough to impair riding skills. • Body weight. the more alcohol accumulates in your body. BAC — Blood-alcohol concentration is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body. Without taking into account any of the other factors. And the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone. Alcohol and drugs make you less able to think clearly and perform physical tasks skillfully. alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of about one drink per hour. it reaches the brain and begins to affect the drinker. Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: • Amount of alcohol consumed. The faster you drink. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above the illegal limit. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems. Unlike most foods and beverages. Judgment and the decision-making processes needed for vehicle operation are affected long before the illegal BAC limit is reached. at least one drink remains in your bloodstream.000 seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes. the formula below illustrates the LEAST amount of drinks remaining in the bloodstream: A person drinking: • 8 drinks in 4 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in his/her system. The more alcohol in your blood. Your gender. But a variety of other factors also may influence the level of alcohol retained. it does not need to be digested. a mixed drink with a 1-ounce shot of hard liquor and a 5-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol.000 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. at the end of that hour. Motorcycle riding and substance abuse do not mix. the greater the degree of impairment. Abilities and judgment can be affected by that one drink. • How fast you drink. If you drink two drinks in one hour. Alcohol slows down and impairs bodily functions — both mental and physical. A 12-ounce can of beer. Many over-the-counter prescription drugs and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of a crash while riding. Other factors also contribute to the way alcohol affects your system. Alcohol may still accumulate in your body even if you are drinking at a rate of one drink per hour. 34 .
Once you start.There are times when a larger person may not accumulate a high concentration of alcohol for each drink consumed because they have more blood and other bodily fluids. you face additional lawyer’s fees. Setting a limit or pacing yourself are poor alternatives. Arrange another way to get home. Impairment of judgment begins well below the illegal BAC limit. Wine Alcohol Concentration 35 . Drunk drivers face stiff mandatory penalties. Whether or not you are legally intoxicated is not the real issue. arrest or refusal to submit to a breath test.08 or greater. DUI — In Illinois. public transportation costs (while your driver’s license is suspended) and the psychological costs of being tagged a “drunk driver. a person with a BAC of . Because of individual differences it is better not to risk that your abilities have not been affected. • Community service — Performing tasks such as picking up litter along the highway. you must control your riding. washing cars in the motor-vehicle pool or working at an emergency ward.08 is considered intoxicated. Beer 1-oz.” Don’t Drink or Don’t Ride — If you have not controlled your drinking. Shot Hard Liquor = 5-oz. • Fines — Severe fines.08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. usually levied with a driver’s license suspension. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . In addition. However. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. lost work time spent in court or in alcohol-education programs. Leave the motorcycle so you will not be tempted to ride. your resistance becomes weaker. you may receive any of the following: • Driver’s license suspension — Mandatory suspension for conviction. Your Total Drinks Consumed LESS Number of Hours Since Last Drink EQUALS in the Body Drinks Left 12-oz. you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than .
On a long trip. Your riding skills will not be affected. you may not realize to what extent your skills have suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing effects. Even if you try to drink in moderation. b. Effects from drinking may still remain. Earning Your Motorcycle License Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. Fatigue can affect your control of the motorcycle. • Slow the pace of drinking — Involve them in other activities. you will tire sooner than you would in a car. cold and rain make you tire quickly. • Take frequent rest breaks — Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. Riders are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. Avoid riding when tired. • Keep them there — Use any excuse to keep them from getting on their motorcycle. Fatigue Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. You cannot be arrested for drinking and driving. c. d.ability to exercise good judgment is one of the first things affected by alcohol. It is up to others to step in and keep them from taking too great a risk. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. Answer — page 41 36 . • Limit your distance — Experienced riders seldom try to ride more than six hours a day. Exception: Persons age 18 and older who hold a valid Illinois driver’s license and have 14. Explain your concerns for their risks of getting arrested or hurt or hurting someone else. • Don’t drink or use drugs — Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression when they start to wear off. People who have had too much to drink are unable to make a responsible decision. To pass you must study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual. • Protect yourself from the elements — Wind. Dress warmly. You will be okay as long as you ride slowly. To earn your license. Skills Test The Illinois Secretary of State’s office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). • Get friends involved — Use peer pressure from a group of friends to intervene. Serve them food and coffee to pass the time. There are several ways to keep friends from hurting themselves: • Arrange a safe ride — Provide alternative ways for them to get home. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. Test Yourself If you wait an hour for each drink before riding: a.
Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down. ride up the course. 1. Exercises 4 and 5 (Diagram 2) These exercises test a rider’s ability to balance and control the cycle and the ability to perform a U-turn.successfully completed a motorcycle training course approved by IDOT are not required to pass this test at a Driver Services facility. Continue around the far side of the course. Diagram 1 Diagram 2 37 . The Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test is designed to measure vehicle handling skills in an off-street paved area approximately 30 feet by 75 feet. Those persons already will have passed a skills test at the end of the training course and must show an IDOT Rider Education Course completion card dated after Jan. From the starting point. Exercises 1 through 3 (Diagram 1) These exercises test a rider’s ability to start smooth. negotiate a sharp left turn and come to a smooth stop in a designated area. For information about a Rider Education Course in your area. An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. in addition to proper identification. Ride to the far side of the course and make a right U-turn in the U-turn box. 1993. and 24 feet if over 500 cc’s. making a smooth. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc’s or less. From the starting point. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second. please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. Lines are painted within this area to delineate the following seven exercises.
sidecar.. From the starting point. trike) but are registered as motorcycles.) Exercise 7 (Diagram 4) This exercise evaluates a rider’s ability to avoid obstacles by swerving right or left. bring your motorcycle to a stop as safely and quickly as possible. If you test on a three-wheeled vehicle. the ALMOST test will be modified by waiving certain driving exercises. When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. To receive a motorcycle license with full privileges. brake and turn safely. swerve to the right or left to avoid the red obstacle line and then cut back in without crossing or touching the red sidelines. 38 . (At 15 mph you should stop in at least 13 feet. • Accelerate. To accommodate applicants whose vehicles have more than two wheels (i.e. From the starting point. ride through the “timing chute” at approximately 15 mph. You also may be tested for your ability to: • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits. When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. a J-11 restriction (three-wheeled motorcycle only) will be added until completion of a two-wheeled test. ride through the chute at approximately 15 mph. Illinois law requires the maneuvers be performed as designed.Diagram 3 Diagram 4 Exercise 6 (Diagram 3) This exercise tests a rider’s ability to bring the motorcycle to a sudden stop.
Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers. uses excessively high speed.). Stop. • Completing normal and quick stops. be seen and communicate with others.• • • • See. Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. • Testing time exceeds a reasonable time limit. • Choosing the correct path and staying within boundaries.. with a separate means of application for each wheel or two separate means of application on the rear wheel. goggles or a transparent windshield.e. Horn — Must be heard for 200 feet. visible for 500 feet. unless the vehicle is equipped for passengers with footrests adjusted to fit the passenger. Make critical decisions and carry them out. 39 . The test will be terminated if the driver: • Falls or drops the motorcycle at any time. • Commits an unsafe act (i. turn and swerve quickly. • Completing normal and quick turns or swerves. looses control. regardless of the vehicle’s traveling speed. Footrests — No passengers may be carried except in a sidecar or enclosed cab. etc. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. raises the front wheel off the ground. Eye protection — Both driver and passenger must be protected by glasses. Required Equipment No motorcycle or motor-driven cycle may be legally operated on a street or highway without the following required equipment: Brakes — Motorcycles must have brakes on both wheels. Motor-driven cycles must have either a hand-operated or footoperated brake on at least one wheel. it must be lighted whenever the motorcycle is being operated on streets or highways. A device to modulate the high beam of the head lamp may be used except when lighted lamps are required for all vehicles. Headlights — At least one white light. Helmet — Although a helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. • Obtains enough points (11 or more) to constitute a failure. preferably the rear wheel. Handlebars — Handlebars should not be higher than the height of the shoulders of the operator when seated in the normal driving position astride that portion of the seat or saddle occupied by the operator.
actuated by the brake and visible for 500 feet. Stoplight — One red light. visible for 500 feet. Muffler — Must be in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise.License plate light — One white license plate light must be lighted whenever the headlight is on and must make the license plate visible at least 50 feet away. Modification of an exhaust system for the purpose of increasing the noise level is prohibited by law. Taillight — One red light. Everyone riding a motorcycle must sit astride the seat. face forward. 40 . Rearview mirror — Must reflect a view of at least 200 feet. with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. Seat — Drivers are prohibited from carrying passengers unless the vehicle has been designed to carry two people.
The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? a. c. d. It is best to: a. 3-c. d. Press the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. Make eye contact with the driver. c. 2-c. Shift your weight quickly. You will be slowing suddenly. c. c. About one-half. All the stopping power. the car at left is waiting to enter the intersection. In the illustration at right. 3. 4. Turn the handlebars quickly. About three-quarters. b. Someone is following too closely. d. Reduce speed and be ready to react. Press the handlegrip in the opposite direction of the turn. About one-quarter. b. d.Knowledge Test — Sample Questions 1. To swerve correctly: a. 2. Maintain speed and position. 41 . It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: a. Your signals are not working. Maintain speed and move right. Answers to above Knowledge Test: 1-b. b. 4-b Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages) 1-c 2-d 3-d 4-a 5-b 6-c 7-d 8-d 9-c 10-c 11-d 12-a 13-a 14-c Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances. There is a stop sign ahead. b.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for its assistance with this manual. 42 .edu/mcycle B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal.online. IL 62901-6731 800-642-9589 618-453-2877 www.uiuc. IL 60115-2854 800-892-9607 815-753-1683 www.mrc. Mail Code 678 Champaign.Motorcycle Rider Safety Training Program Regional Centers A Northern Illinois University Motorcycle Safety Project Division of Continuing Education DeKalb. IL 61820 800-252-3348 217-333-7856 www.ilstu. please contact your Regional Center.edu/~cycle For course dates. times and locations.edu D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion Carbondale.edu/depts/mcsafety/ C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program Dept.niu.siu. IL 61790-5221 800-322-7619 309-438-2352 www. of Community Health #4 Gerty Dr.
6 . March 2007 — 660M — DSD X 140.Printed by authority of the State of Illinois.