The number of motorcycles on our roadways is increasing every year. Currently, there are nearly 200,000 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. Sincerely,

JESSE WHITE Secretary of State


Classification............................... 4
Rental and Out-of-State Drivers...... 5 MOPED Operators......................... 5 License Plates................................. 5 Motorcycle Traffic Laws.................. 5

Handling Dangerous Surfaces..29
Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles.....29 Slippery Surfaces........................... 30 Tracks and Pavement Seams.......... 31 Grooves and Gratings.................... 31 Mechanical Problems................ 32 Tire Failure................................... 32 Stuck Throttle............................... 32 Wobble........................................ 32 Chain Problems............................ 33 Engine Seizure.............................. 33 Animals........................................ 33 Flying Objects............................. 34 Getting Off the Road..................34 Carrying Passengers and Cargo..34 Equipment.................................... 34 Instructing Passengers.................... 35 Riding with Passengers.................. 35 Carrying Loads.............................. 35 Group Riding...............................36

Wear the Right Gear.................... 6
Helmet Use.................................... 6 Helmet Selection............................ 6 Eye and Face Protection.................. 7 Clothing.......................................... 8 Know Your Motorcycle.................8 The Right Motorcycle for You...........8 Borrowing and Lending................... 9 Get Familiar with the Controls......... 9 Check Your Motorcycle..................10 Know Your Responsibilities.......11

Basic Vehicle Control................. 12
Body Position................................ 12 Shifting Gears................................ 12 Braking......................................... 13 Turning......................................... 13 Keeping Your Distance.............. 14 Lane Positions............................... 14 Following Another Vehicle.............15 Being Followed..............................16 Passing and Being Passed...............16 Lane Sharing................................. 18 Merging Cars................................. 18 Cars Alongside...............................18 SIPDE.............................................19 Intersections................................20 Blind Intersections......................... 21 Passing Parked Cars....................... 22 Parking at the Roadside................. 22 Being Seen................................... 23 Clothing........................................ 23 Headlight...................................... 23 Signals...........................................23 Brake Light.................................... 24 Using Your Mirrors.........................24 Head Checks.................................25 Horn............................................. 25 Riding at Night.............................. 26 Crash Avoidance......................... 26 Quick Stops...................................26 Swerving or Turning Quickly.......... 27 Cornering......................................28

Protect Yourself and Others......38 Alcohol and Other Drugs in Motorcycle Operation................38 Alcohol in the Body.................... 38 Alcohol and the Law................... 40
Consequences of Conviction......... 40 Blood-Alcohol Concentration.........38

Protect Your Friends................... 41 Fatigue.......................................... 41

Exercises...................................... 42 Termination................................. 44 Skills Test..................................... 44 Required Equipment.................. 45 Knowledge Test........................... 46 Answers....................................... 46

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. If you wish to obtain a motorcycle classification on your driver’s license, you must pass a separate motorcycle examination. Sixteenand 17-year-olds wishing to obtain a license to operate a motorcycle must also 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 will not be required to pass a written or driving examination at a Driver Services facility.

If you are age 16 and 17 and have satisfactorily completed driver education, you may apply for a 24month instruction permit to operate a motor-driven cycle (under 150cc). The permit allows you to drive only during daylight hours, under the direct supervision of a licensed motor-driven cycle operator, 21 years or older with at least one year driving experience.

If you are 18 or over, you may apply for a 12-month instruction permit to operate a motorcycle other than a motor driven cycle. It allows you to drive only during daylight hours, under the direct supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator, 21 years 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


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. LICENSE PLATES All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways.enrollment in an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. If you trade from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). 5 . Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways. along with applications for transfer and title. Any person who operates on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. In addition. it is important to show the correct piston displacement on your license plate registration application. RENTAL / OUT-OF-STATE DRIVERS A motorcycle or motor-driven cycle may not be rented to a person who does not have a valid driver’s license with the correct motorcycle classification. are low-speed. therefore. signs and signals in the same way as automobile drivers. signals and traffic laws. you must send your license plate to the Secretary of State. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. MOPED OPERATORS Motorized pedalcycles. Out-ofstate drivers can drive for the period during which they are in Illinois. Moped operators are not required to obtain a motorcycle classification to legally operate their vehicle. often called mopeds. They are also prohibited from passing on the right unless there is unobstructed pavement at least eight feet wide to the right of the vehicle being passed. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs. two-wheeled vehicles. providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country. MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS Motorcycle drivers must obey traffic laws.

Some riders don’t wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. regardless of the vehicle’s traveling speed. Be a responsible rider. providing two different levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. a safe rider makes a point to: 1. Before taking off on any trip. Note: A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. 4. with few exceptions. • Face or eye protection. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR When you ride.PREPARING TO RIDE What you do before you start a trip goes a long way toward determining whether or not you will get where you want to go safely. particularly among beginning riders. In any crash. • Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long). your gear is “right” if it protects you. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. Here are some facts to consider: Wear The Right GEAR • An approved helmet lets you HELMET USE Crashes are not rare events. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and far more common. 2. helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Become familiar with the motorcycle. A study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes. However. HELMET SELECTION There are two primary types of helmets. where 40 percent of the riders wore helmets. Wear the right gear. and • Protective clothing. Check the motorcycle equipment. see as far to the sides as necessary. Research also shows that. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a crash occurs. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger. 3. At these speeds. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. head and neck injuries are reduced by the proper wearing of an approved helmet. No matter what the speed. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. just a few minutes after starting out. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury if you wear an: • Approved helmet. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists. Whichever style you 6 .

Otherwise. eye or faceshield protection must: Eye and face protection EYE AND FACE PROTECTION A plastic shatter-resistant faceshield can help protect your whole face in a crash. • Fasten securely so it does not blow off. and divert your attention from concentrating on the road. 7 . • Permit air to pass through to reduce fogging. you can get the most protection by making sure that the helmet: • Meets U.S. • Be resistant to penetration. If you have to deal with them.HELMETS Helmet Use choose. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. if needed. • Be free of scratches. although they will not protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does. • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. it is likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. you cannot devote your full attention to the road. Department of Transportation and state standards. It also protects you from wind. These problems are distracting and can be painful. dirt. Whatever helmet you decide on. • Has no obvious defects. Goggles protect your eyes. To be effective. if you are involved in a crash. insects and pebbles thrown from cars ahead. loose padding or frayed straps. • Give a clear view to either side. such as cracks. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. dust. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. • Fits snugly all the way around. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. Glasses will not keep your eyes from watering and they might blow off when you turn your head while riding. rain.

Helps protect your whole face. slip-resistant material. durable. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. 1 Test yourself A plastic shatter-resistant face shield: A. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. Keep heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. It also provides comfort. Answer . your clothes should keep you warm and dry. Your motorcycle should not be one of them. Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. yet loosely enough to move freely. wrists and waist. • Read the owner’s manual first. • Check the motorcycle before every ride. C. • Gloves allow a better grip and In cold or wet weather. Only protects your eyes. Leather offers the most protection. debris and hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. even on summer days. B. cold. Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high 46 8 . • Start with the right motorcycle for you. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE FOR YOU Your motorcycle should “fit” you. Soles should be made of hard. as well as protect you from injury.CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS The right clothing protects you in a collision. help protect your hands in a crash. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. To make sure your motorcycle won’t let you down: Clothing • Jacket and pants should cover The right motorcycle arms and legs completely. Is not necessary if you have a windshield. D. • Boots or shoes should be high • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. Does not protect your face as well as goggles. as well as protection from heat. KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble.

particularly the turn signals. If you borrow a motorcycle.BORROWING AND LENDING Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. headlight switch. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding. Know your motorcycle MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS Light Switch (high/low) Engine Cut-Off Switch Choke (varies) Electric Turn Signal Switch Start Button Ignition Key Horn Button Throttle Front Brake Lever Tachometer (if equipped) Clutch Lever Speedometer & Odometer Fuel Supply Valve (if equipped) Gear Change Lever Rear Brake Pedal Kick Starter (if equipped) 9 . get familiar with it in a controlled area. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. No matter how experienced you may be. • Find out where everything is. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. Be sure to review the owner’s manual. And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. horn. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience.

Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind you and as much as possible of the lane next to you.• Know the gear pattern. and make sure each one turns on the brake light. a mirror may show the edge of your arm or shoulder— but it is the road behind and to the side that is most important. Accelerate gently. When properly adjusted. both mirrors before starting. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak. • Brakes — Try the front and rear • Horn — Try the horn. fasteners and fluid checks. take turns more slowly and leave extra room for stopping. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams are working. Before mounting the motorcycle. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. • Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. All controls react a little differently. cables. At a minimum. check the following items at least once a week: wheels. It is difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror. Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. Make In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. Check your motorcycle If something is wrong with the motorcycle. • Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly. you will want to find out about it before you get in traffic. A minor technical failure in a car seldom leads to anything more than an inconvenience for the driver. The throttle should snap back when you let go. Make sure all lights are working properly. brake levers one at a time. • Turn Signals — Turn on both turn signals. Follow your owner’s manual for recommendations. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. sure it works. 10 . Work the throttle. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. general wear and tread. The clutch should feel tight and smooth.

Know your Responsibilities • Be visible — wear proper clothing. any crash. You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers. being followed. D. Answer . 2 Test yourself • Communicate your More than half of all crashes: A. C. Involve riders who have ridden their motorcycles less than six months. seconds ahead. To lessen your risk of a crash: • Identify and separate multiple hazards. passing and being passed. cushion — following. most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. And it was your responsibility to look before pulling out. make critical decisions and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. Occur at speeds greater than 35 mph. Remember. Your light turns green. Most often in traffic. That is all it takes for the two of you to tangle. use your headlight. ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. brake light and lane position. it does not leave any of us free of responsibility. Happen at night. As a rider you cannot be sure that other operators will see you or yield the right of way. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper crash-avoidance skills. Neither of you held up your end of the deal. or an unprepared participant in. that is not the case. it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. Are caused by worn tires.KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone's fault or negligence. It was the driver's responsibility to 46 11 • Maintain an adequate space • Scan your path of travel 12 . intentions — use the proper signals. lane sharing. Blame doesn't matter when someone is injured in a crash. Consider a situation where someone decides to try to squeeze through an intersection on a yellow light turning red. Just because someone else is the first to start the chain of events leading to a crash. B. There is rarely a single cause of any crash. The ability to ride aware. In fact.

your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. on the footpegs to maintain balance. This permits you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. don't let your toes point down ward — they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them. That is something you can learn only through practice. Don't drag your feet. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. Also. BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL BODY POSITION To control a motorcycle well: • Posture — Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS Shifting Gears RIGHT WRONG 12 . If your foot catches on some thing.RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. • Seat — Sit far enough forward so • Feet — Keep your feet firmly Body position • Hands — Hold the handlegrips firmly to keep your grip over rough surfaces. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road. Start with your right wrist flat. SHIFTING GEARS There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Also. Bending your arms permits you to press on the handlebars without having to stretch. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. speed or balance.

Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. • LEAN — To turn the motorcycle must lean. It is best to change gears before entering a turn. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock. Work toward a smooth. Turn just your head. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. Press rightlean right-go right. To lean the motorcycle. Approach turns and curves with caution. 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. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road.) TURNING Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. When they can't hold the turn. causing a skid and loss of control. remember to do so smoothly. Remember: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. less traction is available for stopping. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. Also. 13 the turn by closing the throttle and. resulting in control problems. although it should be done very carefully. The front brake is safe to use if you use it properly. Braking • Some motorcycles have inte- grated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. they overreact and brake too hard. if necessary. (Consult the owner's manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems. the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. • LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go.Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. using both brakes in a turn is possible. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering. If so. If not. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever — never grab. not your shoulders. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. Turning • SLOW — Reduce speed before • SLOW • LOOK • LEAN • ROLL • If you know the technique. Use both of them at the same time. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. applying both brakes. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid. Or. even clutch release. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to use the brakes to slow enough before downshifting safely. However. especially when downshifting. Press left-lean left-go left. . Use four steps for better control: BRAKING Your motorcycle has two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous.

3 Test yourself When riding you should: A. • Protect your lane from other drivers. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. counterbalance by leaning the motorcycle only and keeping your body straight. Turn your head and shoulders to look through turns. KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE Lane positions The best protection you can have is distance — a "cushion of space" — all around your motorcycle. D. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. Answer . Keep your arms straight. If someone else makes a mistake. • Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. • Avoid others' blind spots. . • Communicate your intentions.• ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. 14 SLOW TURNING In slow tight turns. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. • Provide an escape route. Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going. • Avoid surface hazards. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel (see illustration on next page). C. Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more easily seen by others on the road. B. distance permits you: • Time to react • Space to maneuver LANE POSITIONS In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your 46 NORMAL TURNING In normal turns.

including the center. Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left only. Remain in path 1 or 2 if hazards are on your right only. Unless the road is wet. A two-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly. If vehicles are being operated on both sides of you. The oily strip in the center portion that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide." Following • If you reach the marker before you reach "two. To gauge your following distance: • Pick out a marker. onethousand-two. 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. is usually your best option. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. count off the seconds: "one-thousand-one. on or near the road ahead. No portion of the lane need be avoided. You can operate to the left or right of the grease strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane." you are follow ing too closely.LANE POSITIONS FOLLOWING ANOTHER VEHICLE "Following too closely" could be a factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. path 2. such as a pavement marking or lamp post. there is no single best position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride on safely. motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars. Avoid riding on big build-ups of oil and grease usually found at busy intersections or toll booths. Change position as traffic situations change. 15 . open up a three-second or more following distance. the center of the lane. If the pavement is slippery. In traffic. In general. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. Normally. or if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you.

Be sure other drivers see you. But remember that most drivers don't look at their sideview mirrors nearly as often as they check the rearview mirror. If you cannot do this. When someone is following too closely. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. Riding at the far side of a lane may permit a driver to see you in a sideview mirror. This will also encourage them to pass. 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).FOLLOWING Being Followed Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead. and that you see potential hazards. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. However. visibility is more critical. PASSING AND BEING PASSED Passing and being passed by another vehicle is not much different than with a car. ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror. BEING FOLLOWED Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. 16 . If they do not pass. This will make it easier to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. 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. It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. If the traffic situation allows. change lanes and let them pass. When behind a car.

Select a lane position that does not crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane. and only where permitted. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. 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. Avoid being hit by: • The other vehicle — A slight • Extended mirrors — Some Passing mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe. Signal and check for oncoming traffic. Know your signs and road markings! BEING PASSED When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle. Ride through the blind spot as quickly as possible. move into the left lane and accelerate. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. stay in the center portion of your lane. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible.PASSING 1. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. When safe. Riding any closer to them could put you in a hazardous situation. PASSING BEING PASSED 17 . 2. • Objects thrown from • Blasts of wind from larger Being Passed Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle. 3. 4. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. windows — Even if the driver knows you are there. vehicles — They can affect your control. Remember. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early.

Ignore them. B. C. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. bumper-to-bumper traffic.LANE SHARING Cars and motorcycles need a full lane to operate safely. Change lanes and let them pass. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. BLIND SPOTS Lane Sharing • When they want to pass you. another lane if one is open. Answer . adjust speed to open up space for the merging driver. A hand could come out of a window. Give them plenty of room. which could switch into your lane without warning. Lane sharing is usually prohibited. Cars in the next lane also block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. MERGING CARS Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next 46 18 . • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. a door could open. Keep a center-portion position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. CARS ALONGSIDE Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other lanes if you do not have to. Change to MERGING 4 Test yourself Usually. Use your horn and make obscene gestures. If there is no room for a lane change. Discourage lane sharing by others. a car could turn suddenly. • When you are getting in an exit lane or leaving a highway. a good way to handle tailgaters is to: A. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. D.

Be especially alert in areas with limited visibility. shopping areas. • Traffic approaching from behind.. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. IDENTIFY Locate hazards and potential conflicts. • Pedestrians and animals are unpredictable and make short quick moves. SIPDE PREDICT Consider speed. • Hazardous road conditions. The result is your action and knowing which strategy is best for the situation. roadway signs. a fivestep process used to make appropriate judgements. and apply them correctly in different traffic situations: 1) Scan 2) Identify 3) Predict 4) Decide 5) Execute Let’s examine each of these steps. How assertively you search and how much time and space you have can eliminate or reduce harm. school and construction zones. bridges. Search for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. SCAN Search aggressively ahead.?” phrase to estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience. • Vehicles and other motorcycles • Single hazard • Two hazards • Multiple hazards 19 may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a crash. guard rails. hedges or trees will not move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. Completing this “what if. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others.SIPDE Good experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them. DECIDE Determine what you need to do based on your prediction. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. The mental process of determining your course of action depends on how aggressively you searched. They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. • Stationary objects like potholes. You must decide when. Predict where a collision may occur. You want to eliminate or reduce the potential hazard. where and how to take action.. distance and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you. Your constant decision-making tasks must stay sharp to cope with constantly changing traffic situations. . The decisions you make can be grouped by types of hazards you encounter: • Traffic coming from the left and right.

and cars on side streets that pull into your lane. Your use of SIPDE [page 19] at intersections is critical. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. intersections 5 Test yourself SMALL INTERSECTIONS To reduce your reaction time. assume that it will.” to handle two or more hazards. Cover the clutch and the brakes. direction. Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. If a car can enter your path. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. but to stay out of it. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to hazards. Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. are the biggest dangers. B. a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to “see” him. An intersection can be in the middle of an urban area or at a driveway on a residen-tial street — anywhere traffic may cross your path of travel. stopping or slowing. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. including cars turning left from the lane to your right. In potential high-risk areas. Over onehalf of motorcycle/car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. Answer . Pull in the clutch when turning. “one step at a time. Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic.EXECUTE Carry out your decision. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards. D. school and construction zones. • Adjust your position and/or Apply the old adage. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: INTERSECTIONS The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. you should: A. C. Ride slower than the speed limit. • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to 46 20 . Good riders are always “looking for trouble” not to get into it. There are no guarantees that others see you. Too often. Cars that turn left in front of you. Shift into neutral when slowing. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections.

Remember. the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. Do not change speed or position radically. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. BLIND INTERSECTIONS BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you approach a blind intersection. The driver might think that you are preparing to turn. so the driver on the 21 cross street can see him as soon as possible. In the illustration.LARGE INTERSECTIONS LARGE INTERSECTIONS As you approach the intersection. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. After entering the intersection. move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field of vision at the earliest possible moment. select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space. away from the parked car. .

Does not mean the driver will yield. In either event. Cars making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. They may cut you off entirely. Guarantees that the other driver will yield to you. Answer . Since you can-not tell what a driver will do. the driver might cut into your path. Is not worth the effort it takes. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane (see illustration above). Then edge forward and stop again. it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. From that position. slow down and get the driver’s attention. Sound your horn and continue with caution. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in. If oncoming traffic is present. PASSING PARKED CARS When passing parked cars. C.BLIND INTERSECTIONS PARKED CARS parked cars If you have a stop sign or stop line. lean your body forward and look around buildings. drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. Even if he does look. PARKING AT THE ROADSIDE/CURBS Park at a 90° angle to the curb with your rear wheel touching the curb. blocking the entire roadway and leaving you with no place to go. he may fail to see you. D. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening. stop there first. 6 Test yourself Making eye contact with other drivers: A. Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you’re looking. 46 22 . parked cars or bushes to see if anything is coming. Is a good sign they see you. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. stay toward the left of your lane.

lights SIGNALS The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. Bright orange. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers coming from the side to spot you. it is difficult to see something you are not looking for. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. Also. Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. they are wrong. Too often. Remember. Reflective.BEING SEEN In crashes with motorcyclists. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are. they are looking through the skinny. SIGNALING signals 23 . red. Even if a driver does see you coming. Illinois law requires that the headlight be on when operating on streets and highways. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. Brightly colored helmets can also help others see you. From ahead or behind. clothing HEADLIGHT The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to keep the headlight on at all times (although motorcycles sold in the USA since 1978 automatically have the headlights on when running). Your helmet can do more than protect you in a crash. brightcolored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best. Use low beam at night and in cloudy weather. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your cycle. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors. two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. They tell others what you plan to do. CLOTHING Most crashes occur in broad daylight. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a car’s. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. More likely. However. you are not necessarily safe. yellow or green jackets or vests are your best bets for being seen. thinking they have plenty of time.

rather than at a nearer driveway. Use them even when you think no one else is around. When you enter onto a freeway. make sure your signal is off or a driver may pull directly into your path. Make • Before you slow down. If you are being followed closely. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn.However. Turning your signal light on before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you. signals are even more important. Watch cars coming up from behind. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. Do not make them guess what you intend to do. 24 . he/she could be on top of you before he/she sees you. • Before you change lanes. sure no one is about to pass you. Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. or may be unsure about where you will slow. due to a rider’s added vulnerability. Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • When you are stopped at an intersection. This will hopefully discourage them from tailgating and warn them of hazards ahead they may not see. it is a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow. Knowing what is going on behind is essential for you to make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down. It is the car you do not see that is going to give you the most trouble. USING YOUR MIRRORS While it is most important to keep track of what is happening ahead. If the driver is not paying attention. thinking you plan to turn again. particularly when your taillight is on. Make a special point of using your mirrors: using your mirrors BRAKE LIGHT Your motorcycle’s brake light is usually not as noticeable as the brake lights on a car. For example. Once you turn. Traffic conditions change quickly. (It goes on with the headlight. driver behind may not expect you to slow. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection.) If the situation permits. That is why it is a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. you cannot afford to ignore situations behind. help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down. The • You slow more quickly than others might expect (turning off a high-speed highway).

pick out a parked car in your mirror. turn your head and look to the side for other vehicles. Frequent head checks should be your normal scanning routine. riding a bicycle or walking. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take.) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. If you are not used to convex mirrors. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn is not as loud as a car’s. Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. therefore. also. Before you change lanes. check the far lane and the one next to you. HORN Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. but don’t rely on it. • Someone is in the street. get familiar with them. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane. use it. Form a mental image of how far away it is. Then. On a road with several lanes.USING MIRRORS HEAD CHECKS Checking your mirrors is not enough. Only by knowing what is happening all around you are you fully prepared to deal with it. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. (While you are stopped. allow extra distance before you change lanes. 25 . These provide a wider view of the road behind than do flat mirrors. head checks Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. In an emergency. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. press the horn button loud and long. Following are some situations: horn • A driver in the lane next to you • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. Even then. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger.

Be worn at night. particularly on roads you do not know well. apply both brakes at the same time. Be worn during the day. QUICK STOPS To stop quickly. Be visible: wear reflective materials when riding at night. but do not “grab” it either. Answer . Know when and how to stop or swerve. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to rough pavement. B. you should: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day. Studies show most crash-involved riders: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. Picking your headlight or taillight out of the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. Squeeze the brake lever firmly and progressively. be seen and keep an adequate space cushion. • Use the Car Ahead — The head- • Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. If the front wheel locks. This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. • Increase Distance — Distances crash avoidance are harder to judge at night than during the day. 7 Test yourself night riding Reflective clothing should: A. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. C. keep it locked until you have com26 . Open up a three-second following distance or more. D. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate. Not be worn. Do not be shy about using the front brake. Riders must also be able to swerve around an obstacle. Be worn day and night. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. To compensate. two skills critical to avoiding a crash. Often. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. At the same time. lights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. release the front brake immediately then reapply it 46 CRASH AVOIDANCE No matter how careful you are. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. crashes occur because a rider is not prepared for crash-avoidance maneuvers. press down on the rear brake. Determining the skills necessary for the situation is important as well.RIDING AT NIGHT At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. • Be Flexible About Lane Position — Change to whatever portion of the lane is best to help you see.

The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. the best technique is to straighten the bike upright first and then brake. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. It can be two quick turns or a rapid shift to the side. THEN SWERVE 27 . A swerve is any sudden change in direction. The sharper the turn(s). the more the motorcycle must lean. SWERVING OR TURNING QUICKLY pletely stopped. However. The front brake can provide 70 percent or more of the potential stopping power. This will cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. THEN BRAKE BRAKE. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might squeal to a stop.STOPPING DISTANCE motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn while keeping your knees against swerving SWERVE. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. Apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip located on the side of your intended direction of escape. As you slow. apply light brakes and reduce the throttle. Even with a locked rear wheel. even if you use both brakes properly. You should “straighten” the handlebars in the last few feet of stopping. The motorcycle should then be straight up and in balance. it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. If you must brake while leaning. Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. you can control the motorcycle on a straight away if it is upright and going in a straight line.

To swerve to the right. separate it from swerving. To swerve to the left. gradually widens. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. press right. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. then press the right to recover. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. Every curve is different. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. CONSTANT CURVES CORNERING MULTIPLE CURVES DECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS) WIDENING CURVES 28 .the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. Brake before or after. press the left handlegrip. then left. never while swerving. If braking is required. Make your escape route the target of your vision. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. Press on the opposite handlegrip once you clear the obstacle to return to your original direction of travel. CORNERING A primary cause of single-vehicle crashes is motorcyclists running wide in a curve or turn and colliding with the roadway or a fixed object.

Use both brakes at the same time. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. move toward the inside of the curve. and as you pass the center. Another alternative is to move to the center of your lane before entering a curve and stay there until you exit. potholes or small pieces of highway trash. D. B. first determine if it is possible. 8 Test yourself The best way to stop quickly is to: A. Answer . If you must go over the obstacle. This permits you to spot approaching traffic as soon as possible. move to the outside to exit. If you have to ride over the obstacle. • Slippery surfaces. 46 OBSTACLES 29 .Change lane position depending on traffic. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane. HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES Your chance of falling or being involved in a crash increases whenever you ride across: • Uneven surfaces or obstacles. If no traffic is present. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. road conditions and curve of the road. start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. • Grooves and gratings. • Railroad tracks. DANGEROUS SURFACES UNEVEN SURFACES AND OBSTACLES Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. As you turn. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact. Use the rear brake first. broken pavement. Throttle down and use the front brake. Use the front brake only. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible.

the left tire track will be the best position. SLIPPERY SURFACES Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. squeeze the clutch and coast. Be aware of what is on the edge of the road. consider letting your feet skim along the surface. Be sure to keep off the brakes. Remember. • Watch for dirt and gravel — Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. gentle pressure on the rear brake. • Watch for ice patches — on some sections of a road than on others. roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. locking the front wheel. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. If you ride over an object on the street. You may slip and fall. you can catch yourself.• 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. • Avoid the center of a lane — When it starts to rain. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce your speed — Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce speed. even on a slippery surface. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. If possible. especially when wet. If you cannot avoid a slippery surface. • Lane markings. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. • Watch for oil spots — Be careful when you put your foot down to stop or park. 30 • Avoid sudden moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. And it is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. and gravel collect. • Gravel roads. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. ride in the tire tracks left by cars. Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery. If the motorcycle starts to fall. or where sand • Mud. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid • Use both brakes — The front . turn or brake. • Just before contact. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. shift gears. Often. Patches of ice tend to crop up in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. steel plates and manhole covers. brake is still effective. snow and ice. If you encounter a large surface so slippery that you must coast or travel at a walking pace. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous.

Turning to take tracks head on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous and may carry you into another lane of traffic. TROLLEY TRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMS Usually. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the 46 31 . Pull off to the side until the rain stops. Answer . Increase your speed. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. TRACKS AND GRATINGS CROSSTRACKS—WRONG GROOVES AND GRATINGS Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause a motorcycle to weave. maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. sharp turn. make a quick. RAILROAD TRACKS. ruts or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars. Ride in the center of the lane. B. move far enough away GATE CROSSINGS—RIGHT GATE CROSSINGS—WRONG PARALLEL TRACKS—RIGHT PARALLEL TRACKS—WRONG 9 Test yourself When it starts to rain it is usually best to: A. D. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. Then. it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. Relax. C. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance.CROSSTRACKS—RIGHT from tracks. The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. The uneasy.

If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold handlegrips firmly. You have to steer well to keep your balance. You must be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts. if you are sure which one it is. If the throttle stays stuck. If none of these are determined to be the cause. it may be a tire failure. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. spring pre-load. If the rear tire goes flat. several times. and keep a straight course. loose wheel bearings or spokes. If you are carrying a heavy load. In dealing with any mechanical problem. worn steering parts. air shocks and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. This can be dangerous. If you can’t. Pull off and check the tires. If the front tire goes flat. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. • When the motorcycle slows. react quickly to keep your balance. After you have stopped.” pull off and stop. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. a front wheel that is bent. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. the steering will feel “heavy. edge to the side of the road. mechanical problems • If braking is required. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. unsuitable accessories or incorrect tire pressure. STUCK THROTTLE Twist the throttle back and forth 32 . WOBBLE A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed. If the throttle cable is stuck. and swingarm bearings. immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. this may free it. TIRE FAILURE You will seldom hear a tire go flat. check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble. however. squeeze the clutch and stop. misaligned or out of balance. gradually apply the brake of the tire that is not flat. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. ease off the throttle. Check for poorly adjusted steering. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. This will remove power from the rear wheel. Once the motorcycle is “under control.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. lighten it. although engine noise may not immediately decline. Make sure tire pressure.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle. shift it.

CHAIN PROBLEMS A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your cycle to skid. When this happens. Answer . • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. For larger animals (deer. C. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. If needed. Check the oil. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel. If you are chased. Check the chain and sprockets. Accelerate out of the wobble. B. oil should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. Do not kick at an animal. Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. the sprockets or both before riding again. downshift and approach the animal slowly. etc. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. remain in your lane. Tightening the chain may help. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets. D. Use the brakes gradually. C. Grip the handlebars firmly and close the throttle gradually. • Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. Keep control of your motorcycle and look to where you want to go. they are unpredictable. cattle. Let the engine cool before restarting. Downshift. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. B. ENGINE SEIZURE When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. instant loss of power to the rear wheel. Kick it away. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal.) brake and prepare to stop. however. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. As you approach it. Do not apply the brakes. Answer . D. If you are in traffic. accelerate away and leave the animal behind. 10 Test yourself If your motorcycle starts to wobble: 46 ANIMALS Naturally. but do not fight the wobble.You should instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. braking could make the wobble worse. Pull off the road and 46 33 . • Move your weight as far forward • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. replace the chain. The engine’s moving parts cannot move smoothly against each other and the engine overheats. then speed up. Stop until the animal loses interest. pull off the road. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big like a car. and down as possible. Approach the animal slowly. 11 Test yourself • Breakage — You’ll notice an If you are chased by a dog: A. Swerve around the animal.

flying objects EQUIPMENT To carry passengers safely: • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. Equipment should include: • A proper seat large enough to hold both of you without crowding. It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. • Check the roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. cigarettes thrown from cars or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. same as recommended for operators. GETTING OFF THE ROAD getting off the road If you need to leave the road to check the motorcycle (or just to rest for a while). You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. speeds up and slows down. not expect you to slow down. Whatever happens. • Signal — Drivers behind might • Footpegs for the passenger. an object could hit you in the eye. 34 • Pull off the road — Get as far carrying loads • Park carefully — Loose and . adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. pull off the road and repair the damage. CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. Without face protection. If it is soft grass. balances. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. practice away from traffic. off the road as you can. Firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off too. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. loose sand or if you are just not sure about it. making it difficult to see. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. be sure you: • Instruct the passenger before you start. face or mouth. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction. You do not want someone else pulling off at the same place you are. • Protective equipment. it might get smeared or cracked. If you are wearing face protection. slow down before you turn onto it. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger.FLYING OBJECTS From time to time riders are struck by insects. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. the Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. When safe.

turn sharply or ride over a bump. Lean as you lean. 35 . Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes. • Keep the load forward — Place • Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. even when stopped. the rear axle. It can also cause a wobble. Hold on to the motorcycle seat. Sit as far back as possible.INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. CARRYING LOADS Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. corners or bumps. • Stay directly behind you. tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you: • Approach surface problems. • Ride slower. loads securely or put them in saddlebags. Answer . the longer it will take to slow down and speed up. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. Warn your passenger of special conditions when you will pull out. but keep your eyes on the road ahead. especially when taking curves. motion. Never hold onto you. Tankbags keep loads forward. B. Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. hips • Keep both feet on the pegs. stop quickly. provide complete instructions before you start. The heavier your passenger. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. Load saddlebags with about the same weight. or belt. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. chains or moving parts. 12 Test yourself • Hold firmly to your waist. leaning • Avoid unnecessary talk or Also. the load over. Passengers should: A. RIDING WITH PASSENGERS Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board. Make sure the tankbag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. • Distribute the load evenly — • Open up a larger cushion of enter or merge in traffic. or in front of. C. carrying pasengers • Keep the load low — Fasten • Are about to start from a stop. Small loads can be carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. muffler(s). space ahead and to the sides. • Warn that you will make a sudden move. D. especially on a light 46 • Keep legs away from the as you lean.

do it in a way that promotes safety and does not interfere with the flow of traffic. To talk. Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. • Don’t pair up — Never operate group riding directly alongside another rider. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. Keep the Group Together • Plan — The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so “word gets back” in plenty of time. permitting the load to shift or fall. Riders will not always be hurrying to “catch up. Keep Your Distance Maintain close ranks but at the same time keep a safe distance to allow each rider in the group time and space to react to hazards. A small number is not separated as easily by traffic or red lights. wait until you are both stopped.• Secure the load — Fasten the load securely with bungee cords or nets. That way the more experienced riders can watch them from the back. A tight load will not catch in the wheel or chain. tailender set the pace. Plan frequent stops on long rides. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. 36 • Follow those behind — Let the . divide it into two or more smaller groups.” If your group is larger than four or five riders. it must be done properly. • Check the load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose. A close group takes up less space on the highway. However. everyone should slow to stay with the tailender. Elastic cords with more than one attachment point per side are more secure. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. Start lane changes early to permit others to follow. causing it to lock up and skid. • 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. GROUP RIDING If you ride with others. the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. If a rider falls behind. There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. • Staggered formation — This is STAGGERED FORMATION • Put beginners up front — Place inexperienced riders just behind the leader.

13 Test yourself When riding in a 46 GROUP PASSING STAGE 1 GROUP PASSING STAGE 2 37 . C. B. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider. the second rider should move up to the left position and watch for a safe chance to pass. The fourth rider would keep a two-second distance behind the second rider. At the tail end of the group. 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. • Passing in formation — Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. while the second rider stays one second behind in the right side of the lane. Beside the leader. behind and to the sides. two seconds behind the first rider. Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. After passing. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe. After passing. In front of the group. • Single-file formation — It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves. After the first rider passes safely.The leader rides in the left side of the lane. First. entering or leaving a highway. inexperienced riders should postion themselves: A. A third rider maintains in the left position. Answer . This is not a good idea. the leader should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider. Just behind the leader. D. turning. 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.

The rest had only a few drinks in their systems enough to impair riding skills. In the past. Judgment and the decision-making processes needed for vehicle operation are affected long before the legal limit is reached. But we do know what effects various drugs have on the process involved in riding a motorcycle. It is difficult to accurately measure the involvement of particular drugs in motorcycle crashes. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes. Friends may brag about their ability to hold their liquor or perform better on drugs. These statistics are too overwhelming to ignore. . more than any other factor.100 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. Take positive steps to protect yourself and prevent others from injuring themselves. Annually. 38 By becoming knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol and other drugs you will see that riding and substance abuse do not mix. Motorcyclists. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. We also know that the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone. drug levels have been harder to distinguish or have not been separated from drinking violations for the traffic records. Alcohol and other drugs. making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. Drinking and drug use is as big a problem among motorcyclists as it is among automobile drivers. but alcohol or drugs make them less able to think clearly and perform physical tasks skillfully. 2. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration above the limit. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. identifying potential hazards.BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE being in shape to ride Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. are more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash. decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. however. But riding “under the influence” of either alcohol or drugs poses physical and legal hazards for every rider.000 seriously injured in this same type of crash. Studies show that 4045 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. alcohol and drugs ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE OPERATION No one is immune to the effects of alcohol or drugs. Many over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of riding. Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and operating the motorcycle. particularly fatal crashes.

Whatever you do. a mixed drink with one shot of liquor and a 5-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol. alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of almost one drink per hour. Unlike most foods and beverages. Other factors also contribute to the way alcohol affects your system. Beer One Shot Hard Liquor 5 oz. Generally. The more alcohol in your blood. physical condition and food intake are just a few that may cause your BAC level to be even higher. and • Your body weight. If you drink two drinks in one hour. • How fast you drink. Alcohol may still accumulate in your body even if you are drinking at a rate of one drink per hour. it does not need to be digested. Abilities and judgment can be affected by that one drink. you do less well after consuming alcohol. Without taking into account any of the other factors. the formula below illustrates the LEAST amount of drinks remaining in the bloodstream: • The amount of alcohol you consume. Your sex. But the full effects of these are not completely known. A 12-ounce can of beer. But a variety of other factors may also influence the level of alcohol retained. # hours Total drinks drinks LESS since last EQUALS left drink consumed in body = ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION 12 oz.ALCOHOL IN THE BODY Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. the greater the degree of impairment. the more alcohol accumulates in your body. Within minutes after being consumed. BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: blood-alCohol concentration The faster you drink. at least one drink remains in your bloodstream. The major effect alcohol has is to slow down and impair bodily functions — both mental and physical. at the end of that hour. it reaches the brain and begins to affect the drinker. Wine 39 .

Setting a limit or pacing yourself are poor alternatives. Today. your resistance becomes weaker. 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. minimize risks ALCOHOL AND THE LAW Riding a motorcycle is far more demanding than driving a car. lost work time spent in court or alcohol-education programs.08 or greater. drugs and fatigue. penalties on drinking operators. usually levied with a license suspension. Whether or not you are legally intoxicated is not the real issue. you may not realize to what extent your skills have suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing effects. a person with a BAC of . washing cars in the motor-vehicle pool or working at an emergency ward. • Fines — Severe fines also come with conviction. Leave the motorcycle so you will not be tempted to ride. Impairment of judgment begins well below the legal limit. arrest or refusal to submit to a breath test.08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. Don’t Ride — If you have not controlled your drinking. • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees. meaning judges must impose them. CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION Years ago. public transportation costs (while your license is suspended) and the psychological costs of being tagged a “drunk driver. you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than .08 is considered intoxicated.alcohol and the law A person drinking: • 8 drinks in 4 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system. However. Or. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . Your ability to exercise good judgment is one of the first things affected by alcohol. Arrange another way to get home. Even if you try to drink in moderation. the laws of most states impose stiff 40 . first offenders had a good chance of getting off with a small fine and participation in alcohol-abuse classes. you must control your riding. They have more blood and other bodily fluids. These penalties are mandatory. • 7 drinks in 3 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system. Three things that can keep cyclists from being in shape to ride safely are alcohol. In Illinois. If you are convicted of riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs. you may receive any of these penalties: • Driver’s license suspension — Mandatory suspension for conviction. You must be in good physical and mental shape to ride safely.” DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE Don’t Drink — Once you start. There are times when a larger person may not accumulate a high concentration of alcohol for each drink consumed.

Answer . you will never have to say. Side effects from the drinking may still remain. Avoid riding when tired. excuse to keep them from getting on their motorcycle. Fatigue can affect your control of the 46 41 . Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression when they start to wear off. You will be okay as long as you ride slowly. Explain your concerns for their risks of getting arrested or hurt or hurting someone else. While you may not be thanked at the time. B. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances.. • Get friends involved — Use It helps to enlist support from others when you decide to step in. enced riders seldom try to ride more than six hours a day. • Slow the pace of drinking — • Keep them there — Use any Involve them in other activities. On a long trip. D. The more people on your side. fatigue • Protect yourself from the elements — Wind. you will tire sooner than you would in a car.” 14 Test yourself If you wait an hour for each drink before riding: A.. peer pressure from a group of friends to intervene. cold and rain make you tire quickly. No one wants to do this. There are several ways to keep friends from hurting themselves: FATIGUE Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. Riders are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. the easier it is to be firm and the harder it is for the rider to resist. Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. C. But the alternatives are often worse. • Limit your distance — Experi• Take frequent rest breaks — • Don’t drink or use drugs — • Arrange a safe ride — Provide alternative ways for them to get home. Your riding skills will not be affected. Serve them food and coffee to pass the time. You cannot be arrested for drinking and riding. embarrassing and thankless. You are rarely thanked for your efforts at the time. “If only I had.PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS People who have had too much to drink are unable to make a responsible decision. It is up to others to step in and keep them from taking too great a risk. it is uncomfortable. Dress warmly.

1993. Exercises 4 and 5 test the rider's ability to balance and control the . EXERCISES 4 AND 5 (Diagram 2): From the starting point. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second. ride up the course. The engine size determines the class of license needed to legally operate the vehicle. making a smooth. please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. To pass you will have to study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. EXCEPTION: Persons age 18 and over who hold a valid Illinois driver's license and have successfully completed a motorcycle training course approved by IDOT are not required to pass this test at a Driver Services facility. For information about a Rider Education Course in your area. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. Ride to the far side of the course and make a right U-turn in the U-turn box. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down.EARNING YOUR LICENSE Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. Lines are painted within this area to delineate seven exercises. EXERCISES Earning your license The Illinois Secretary of State's office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. These exercises test the rider’s ability to start smooth. To earn your license. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc or less and 24 feet if over 500 cc. Continue around the far side of the course. 42 EXERCISES 1 THROUGH 3 (Diagram 1): From the starting point. negotiate a sharp left turn and come to a smooth stop in a designated area. you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual. in addition to proper identification. ALTERNATE MOTORCYCLE OPERATOR SKILLS TEST The Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test is designed to measure vehicle handling skills in an offstreet 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 will be required to show an IDOT Rider Education Course completion card dated after Jan. 1. Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down.

If you test on a three-wheeled vehicle. The Six Dot Test will be administered to all sidecar and three wheel applicants. (At 15 mph you should stop in at least 13 feet. ride through the "timing chute" at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute.) This tests the rider's ability to bring the cycle to a sudden stop. evaluates the rider's ability to avoid obstacles by swerving right or left. To receive a motorcycle license with full privileges. a J-11 restriction (threewheeled motorcycle only) will be added until completion of a twowheeled test. bring your cycle to a stop as safely and quickly as possible. Those vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled motorcycle. ride through the chute at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute.cycle and the ability to perform a U-turn. Illinois requires the maneuvers be performed as designed. EXERCISE 7 (Diagram 4): From the starting point. This DIAGRAM 1 DIAGRAM 2 43 . EXERCISE 6 (Diagram 3): From the starting point. Skills tests are not designed for three-wheeled vehicles. swerve to the right or left to avoid the red obstacle line and then cut back in without crossing or touching the red sidelines.

• The applicant commits an unsafe act (i..). etc. • Accelerate. • Choosing the correct path and staying within boundaries. be seen and communicate with others. • The applicant obtains enough points (11 or more) to constitute a failure. SKILLS TEST SKILLS TEST Basic vehicle control and crash-avoidance skills are included to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations. brake and turn safely. • Completing normal and quick turns or swerves. looses control. Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers. You may be tested for your ability to: • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits. • Make critical decisions and carry them out.e.DIAGRAM 3 DIAGRAM 4 TERMINATION The test will be terminated if: • The applicant falls or drops the cycle at any time. • Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. 44 . uses excessively high speed. turn and swerve quickly. • Completing normal and quick stops. • Stop. • Testing time exceeds a reasonable time limit. • See. raises the front wheel off the ground.

Modification of an exhaust system for the purpose of increasing the noise level is prohibited by law. Horn — A horn that can be heard for 200 feet is required. However. Rearview mirror — A rearview mirror that reflects a view of at least 200 feet is required. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. visible for 500 feet. face forward. Handlebars — Handlebars shall 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. Helmet — A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. It must be lighted whenever the motorcycle is being operated on streets or highways. is required. Eye protection — Both driver and passenger must be protected by glasses. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT . is required. goggles or a transparent windshield. actuated by the brake and visible for 500 feet. Motor-driven cycles must have either a hand-operated or footoperated brake on at least one wheel — preferably the rear wheel.REQUIRED EQUIPMENT No motorcycle or motor-driven cycle may be legally operated on a street or highway unless the vehicle and driver comply with the following requirements: Brakes — Motorcycles must have brakes on both wheels. with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. Taillight — One red light. visible for 500 feet. 45 Headlights — At least one white light. Seat — Drivers are prohibited from carrying passengers unless the vehicle has been designed to carry two people. Stoplight — One red light. with a separate means of application for each wheel or two separate means of application on the rear wheel. unless the vehicle is equipped for passengers with footrests adjusted to fit the passenger. Everyone riding a motorcycle must sit astride the seat. Muffler — A muffler that is in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise is required. A device to modulate the high beam of the head lamp may be used except when lighted lamps are required for all vehicles. It must be lighted whenever the headlight is on and must make the license plate visible at least 50 feet away. regardless of the vehicle's traveling speed. License plate light — One white license plate light is required. Footrests — No passengers may be carried except in a sidecar or enclosed cab. is required.

_____________________________________ Answers to above Knowledge Test: 1-B. D. B. C.KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions) Knowledge test ANSWERS 1. 4-A. 13-A. Press the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. There is a stop sign ahead. 3-D. 5-B. Turn the handlebars quickly. About three-quarters. 6-C. Press the handlegrip in the opposite direction of the turn.To swerve correctly: A. 3-C. 7-D 8-D. D. 4. B.The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? A. C. You will be slowing suddenly. B. 2. 12-A. D. Maintain speed and move right. Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances. All the stopping power. 3. About one-quarter. 11-D. Shift your weight quickly. 2-D. 14-C 46 . Someone is following too closely. 4-B Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages) 1-C. C. Make eye contact with the driver. About one-half.The car in the illustration at right is waiting to enter the intersection. B. It is best to: A. C.It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: A. Maintain speed and position. D. 2-C. Reduce speed and be ready to react. Your signals are not working. 10-C. 9-C.

edu D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion For course starting C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program 45 . IL 61820 (800) 252-3348 (217) 333-7856 www. of Community Health #4 Gerty Dr. times and B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal. Disclaimer: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the content in this manual.MOTORCYCLE RIDER SAFETY TRAINING PROGRAM REGIONAL CENTERS A Northern Illinois University Motorcycle Safety Project Division of Continuing Education DeKalb.siu.ilstu. please contact your Regional Center.niu. IL 60115-2854 (800) 892-9607 (815) 753-1683 www. IL 61790-5221 (800) 322-7619 (309) 438-2352 www. Mail Code 678 Champaign. IL 62901-6731 (800) 642-9589 (618) 453-2877 www.

5 GA 710 .For more information about motorcycle licensing or the examination.660M DSD X-140. contact your local Secretary of State Driver Services facility or call: (800) 252-8980 Printed by authority of the State of Illinois 738 August 2002 .

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