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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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPERATING MOTORCYCLES IN ILLINOIS
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
PREPARING TO RIDE
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
RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES
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
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE
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
EARNING YOUR LICENSE
Exercises...................................... 42 Termination................................. 44 Skills Test..................................... 44 Required Equipment.................. 45 Knowledge Test........................... 46 Answers....................................... 46
OPERATING MOTORCYCLES IN ILLINOIS
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
signs and signals in the same way as automobile drivers. In addition. providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country. If you trade from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). along with applications for transfer and title. you must send your license plate to the Secretary of State. 5 . MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS Motorcycle drivers must obey traffic laws. Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways.enrollment in an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. LICENSE PLATES All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways. therefore. 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. Out-ofstate drivers can drive for the period during which they are in Illinois. it is important to show the correct piston displacement on your license plate registration application. MOPED OPERATORS Motorized pedalcycles. 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. 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. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. signals and traffic laws. are low-speed. Moped operators are not required to obtain a motorcycle classification to legally operate their vehicle. often called mopeds. two-wheeled vehicles. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. Any person who operates on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs.
Become familiar with the motorcycle. Research also shows that. • Face or eye protection. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. Check the motorcycle equipment. 4. A study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes. Whichever style you 6 . Wear the right gear. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR When you ride. Here are some facts to consider: Wear The Right GEAR • An approved helmet lets you HELMET USE Crashes are not rare events. with few exceptions. see as far to the sides as necessary. head and neck injuries are reduced by the proper wearing of an approved helmet. where 40 percent of the riders wore helmets.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. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. In any crash. helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. Note: A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. Some riders don’t wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and far more common. HELMET SELECTION There are two primary types of helmets. providing two different levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger. Before taking off on any trip. 2. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. At these speeds. • Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long). particularly among beginning riders. regardless of the vehicle’s traveling speed. your gear is “right” if it protects you. just a few minutes after starting out. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury if you wear an: • Approved helmet. and • Protective clothing. No matter what the speed. a safe rider makes a point to: 1. However. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists. 3. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a crash occurs. Be a responsible rider.
dust. dirt. Department of Transportation and state standards. Goggles protect your eyes. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. rain. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. it is likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. These problems are distracting and can be painful. 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. • Permit air to pass through to reduce fogging. if you are involved in a crash. To be effective. It also protects you from wind. loose padding or frayed straps. Glasses will not keep your eyes from watering and they might blow off when you turn your head while riding. and divert your attention from concentrating on the road. Whatever helmet you decide on. although they will not protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does. • Give a clear view to either side. insects and pebbles thrown from cars ahead.S. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. 7 . • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Be free of scratches. you cannot devote your full attention to the road.HELMETS Helmet Use choose. • Fits snugly all the way around. such as cracks. • Be resistant to penetration. if needed. Otherwise. • Has no obvious defects. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Fasten securely so it does not blow off. you can get the most protection by making sure that the helmet: • Meets U. If you have to deal with them.
Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. D. • Boots or shoes should be high • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE FOR YOU Your motorcycle should “fit” you. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. Leather offers the most protection. and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. Keep heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. Only protects your eyes. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. Does not protect your face as well as goggles. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb. B. Helps protect your whole face. slip-resistant material.CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS The right clothing protects you in a collision. debris and hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. help protect your hands in a crash. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated.page 46 8 . Your motorcycle should not be one of them. 1 Test yourself A plastic shatter-resistant face shield: A. even on summer days. durable. • Read the owner’s manual first. • Gloves allow a better grip and In cold or wet weather. • Start with the right motorcycle for you. Soles should be made of hard. KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble. your clothes should keep you warm and dry. yet loosely enough to move freely. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. wrists and waist. Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. Answer . To make sure your motorcycle won’t let you down: Clothing • Jacket and pants should cover The right motorcycle arms and legs completely. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. It also provides comfort. as well as protect you from injury. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. cold. • Check the motorcycle before every ride. as well as protection from heat. C. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. Is not necessary if you have a windshield.
And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. headlight switch. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. 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 . Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. particularly the turn signals. No matter how experienced you may be. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. get familiar with it in a controlled area. Be sure to review the owner’s manual. More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience. If you borrow a motorcycle. • Find out where everything is. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. horn.BORROWING AND LENDING Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware.
you will want to find out about it before you get in traffic. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak. All controls react a little differently. At a minimum. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind you and as much as possible of the lane next to you. Accelerate gently. When properly adjusted. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams are working. and make sure each one turns on the brake light. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. general wear and tread. • Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. Work the throttle. 10 . cables. check the following items at least once a week: wheels. sure it works. Before mounting the motorcycle. The clutch should feel tight and smooth. Make In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. • Turn Signals — Turn on both turn signals. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. 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. fasteners and fluid checks. A minor technical failure in a car seldom leads to anything more than an inconvenience for the driver. • Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. take turns more slowly and leave extra room for stopping. The throttle should snap back when you let go. Follow your owner’s manual for recommendations. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. Make sure all lights are working properly. brake levers one at a time.• Know the gear pattern. both mirrors before starting. Check your motorcycle If something is wrong with the motorcycle. It is difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. • Brakes — Try the front and rear • Horn — Try the horn. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly.
Happen at night. D. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper crash-avoidance skills. In fact.KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone's fault or negligence. brake light and lane position. It was the driver's responsibility to stop. being followed. Your light turns green. Involve riders who have ridden their motorcycles less than six months. seconds ahead. it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. intentions — use the proper signals. As a rider you cannot be sure that other operators will see you or yield the right of way. C. Just because someone else is the first to start the chain of events leading to a crash. passing and being passed. Know your Responsibilities • Be visible — wear proper clothing. most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. Consider a situation where someone decides to try to squeeze through an intersection on a yellow light turning red. lane sharing. any crash. it does not leave any of us free of responsibility. make critical decisions and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. Most often in traffic. Neither of you held up your end of the deal. that is not the case. There is rarely a single cause of any crash. Blame doesn't matter when someone is injured in a crash. You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers. And it was your responsibility to look before pulling out. Answer . cushion — following. use your headlight. B. ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. Occur at speeds greater than 35 mph.page 46 11 • Maintain an adequate space • Scan your path of travel 12 . Are caused by worn tires. That is all it takes for the two of you to tangle. To lessen your risk of a crash: • Identify and separate multiple hazards. The ability to ride aware. 2 Test yourself • Communicate your More than half of all crashes: A. or an unprepared participant in. Remember.
If your foot catches on some thing. That is something you can learn only through practice. • 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. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road. SHIFTING GEARS There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Bending your arms permits you to press on the handlebars without having to stretch. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them. Also. Don't drag your feet. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. Also. HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS Shifting Gears RIGHT WRONG 12 . adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. on the footpegs to maintain balance. BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL BODY POSITION To control a motorcycle well: • Posture — Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. Start with your right wrist flat. Learning to use the gears when downshifting.RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. don't let your toes point down ward — they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. This permits you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. speed or balance. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed.
• LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go. It is best to change gears before entering a turn. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. Turn just your head. applying both brakes. not your shoulders. less traction is available for stopping. Use four steps for better control: BRAKING Your motorcycle has two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. • LEAN — To turn the motorcycle must lean. 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. even clutch release. If not. especially when downshifting. Approach turns and curves with caution. although it should be done very carefully. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. (Consult the owner's manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems. Use both of them at the same time. To lean the motorcycle. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever — never grab. using both brakes in a turn is possible. Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. The front brake is safe to use if you use it properly. When they can't hold the turn.Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. If so. . The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. However. Press left-lean left-go left. Remember: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. causing a skid and loss of control. Press rightlean right-go right. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to use the brakes to slow enough before downshifting safely. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid. 13 the turn by closing the throttle and. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering. they overreact and brake too hard. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock.) TURNING Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. Braking • Some motorcycles have inte- grated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. Turning • SLOW — Reduce speed before • SLOW • LOOK • LEAN • ROLL • If you know the technique. resulting in control problems. Work toward a smooth. Also. if necessary. remember to do so smoothly. Or.
. Turn your head and shoulders to look through turns. • Communicate your intentions. KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE Lane positions The best protection you can have is distance — a "cushion of space" — all around your motorcycle.page 46 NORMAL TURNING In normal turns. Keep your arms straight. distance permits you: • Time to react • Space to maneuver LANE POSITIONS In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. C. • Avoid surface hazards. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. 3 Test yourself When riding you should: A.• ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. If someone else makes a mistake. counterbalance by leaning the motorcycle only and keeping your body straight. Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going. • Provide an escape route. • Avoid others' blind spots. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. • Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. Answer . D. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. • Protect your lane from other drivers. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel (see illustration on next page). 14 SLOW TURNING In slow tight turns. Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. B. Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more easily seen by others on the road.
If vehicles are being operated on both sides of you. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride on safely. Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left only. is usually your best option. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. Normally. 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. The oily strip in the center portion that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide. In traffic. No portion of the lane need be avoided. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. Unless the road is wet. You can operate to the left or right of the grease strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane. If the pavement is slippery. a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. 15 .LANE POSITIONS FOLLOWING ANOTHER VEHICLE "Following too closely" could be a factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. 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. onethousand-two. Change position as traffic situations change." you are follow ing too closely. there is no single best position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. path 2. such as a pavement marking or lamp post. or if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. the center of the lane. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. To gauge your following distance: • Pick out a marker. on or near the road ahead. including the center. In general. A two-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly." Following • If you reach the marker before you reach "two. count off the seconds: "one-thousand-one. Remain in path 1 or 2 if hazards are on your right only. open up a three-second or more following distance.
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. Riding at the far side of a lane may permit a driver to see you in a sideview mirror. If you cannot do this. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. If they do not pass. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. This will make it easier to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. BEING FOLLOWED Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. 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. When behind a car. and that you see potential hazards. change lanes and let them pass. This will also encourage them to pass. If the traffic situation allows.FOLLOWING Being Followed Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. Be sure other drivers see you. Riding in the center portion of the lane should put your image in the middle of the rearview mirror where a driver is most likely to see you (see illustration). visibility is more critical. When someone is following too closely. But remember that most drivers don't look at their sideview mirrors nearly as often as they check the rearview mirror. 16 . However.
and only where permitted. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. Signal and check for oncoming traffic. • Objects thrown from • Blasts of wind from larger Being Passed Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle. stay in the center portion of your lane. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. Know your signs and road markings! BEING PASSED When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle. Remember. drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. 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. Riding any closer to them could put you in a hazardous situation.PASSING 1. Ride through the blind spot as quickly as possible. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. 4. Select a lane position that does not crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane. 2. windows — Even if the driver knows you are there. 3. Avoid being hit by: • The other vehicle — A slight • Extended mirrors — Some Passing mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. vehicles — They can affect your control. PASSING BEING PASSED 17 . move into the left lane and accelerate. When safe.
Ignore them. CARS ALONGSIDE Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other lanes if you do not have to. Cars in the next lane also block your escape if you come upon danger in your own lane. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. D. Discourage lane sharing by others. MERGING CARS Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. BLIND SPOTS Lane Sharing • When they want to pass you. which could switch into your lane without warning. another lane if one is open. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lane sharing is usually prohibited. a door could open. C. a car could turn suddenly. Keep a center-portion position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. If there is no room for a lane change. • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. B. a good way to handle tailgaters is to: A. Answer . Use your horn and make obscene gestures. Give them plenty of room. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected. A hand could come out of a window. Change to MERGING 4 Test yourself Usually.LANE SHARING Cars and motorcycles need a full lane to operate safely. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. adjust speed to open up space for the merging driver. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next lane.page 46 18 . Change lanes and let them pass. • When you are getting in an exit lane or leaving a highway.
• Hazardous road conditions. . The decisions you make can be grouped by types of hazards you encounter: • Traffic coming from the left and right.. How assertively you search and how much time and space you have can eliminate or reduce harm. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. school and construction zones. roadway signs. a fivestep process used to make appropriate judgements. The result is your action and knowing which strategy is best for the situation. Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. Predict where a collision may occur.. They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. • Stationary objects like potholes. • Pedestrians and animals are unpredictable and make short quick moves. distance and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you. SCAN Search aggressively ahead. SIPDE PREDICT Consider speed. Be especially alert in areas with limited visibility. Your constant decision-making tasks must stay sharp to cope with constantly changing traffic situations. You want to eliminate or reduce the potential hazard. guard rails. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others. You must decide when. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. bridges. • Vehicles and other motorcycles • Single hazard • Two hazards • Multiple hazards 19 may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a crash. where and how to take action.SIPDE Good experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them. Completing this “what if. • Traffic approaching from behind.?” phrase to estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience. hedges or trees will not move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. The mental process of determining your course of action depends on how aggressively you searched. shopping areas. IDENTIFY Locate hazards and potential conflicts. 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. DECIDE Determine what you need to do based on your prediction. Search for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you.
Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: INTERSECTIONS The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections.” to handle two or more hazards. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. In potential high-risk areas. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. 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. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to hazards. but to stay out of it. Cover the clutch and the brakes. Answer . Pull in the clutch when turning. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. C. Over onehalf of motorcycle/car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. B. you should: A. D. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to separate. intersections 5 Test yourself SMALL INTERSECTIONS To reduce your reaction time. Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. assume that it will. are the biggest dangers. Your use of SIPDE [page 19] at intersections is critical. direction. If a car can enter your path.EXECUTE Carry out your decision. school and construction zones. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. Ride slower than the speed limit. Shift into neutral when slowing. stopping or slowing.page 46 20 . Too often. Good riders are always “looking for trouble” not to get into it. Cars that turn left in front of you. “one step at a time. Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic. • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. There are no guarantees that others see you. including cars turning left from the lane to your right. a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to “see” him. and cars on side streets that pull into your lane. • Adjust your position and/or Apply the old adage.
move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field of vision at the earliest possible moment. the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space. After entering the intersection.LARGE INTERSECTIONS LARGE INTERSECTIONS As you approach the intersection. BLIND INTERSECTIONS BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you approach a blind intersection. Remember. In the illustration. Do not change speed or position radically. away from the parked car. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. 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. the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver.
Is not worth the effort it takes. Since you can-not tell what a driver will do. Is a good sign they see you. They may cut you off entirely. Sound your horn and continue with caution.BLIND INTERSECTIONS PARKED CARS parked cars If you have a stop sign or stop line. Then edge forward and stop again. the driver might cut into your path. 6 Test yourself Making eye contact with other drivers: A. Guarantees that the other driver will yield to you. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane (see illustration above). Cars making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. parked cars or bushes to see if anything is coming. slow down and get the driver’s attention. stay toward the left of your lane. he may fail to see you. it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. Does not mean the driver will yield. lean your body forward and look around buildings. stop there first. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. PASSING PARKED CARS When passing parked cars. D. If oncoming traffic is present. PARKING AT THE ROADSIDE/CURBS Park at a 90° angle to the curb with your rear wheel touching the curb. From that position. drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. In either event. blocking the entire roadway and leaving you with no place to go. Even if he does look. B. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening. C. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in. Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you’re looking.page 46 22 . Answer .
they are looking through the skinny. two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. 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). CLOTHING Most crashes occur in broad daylight. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your cycle. Illinois law requires that the headlight be on when operating on streets and highways. Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. Your helmet can do more than protect you in a crash. Brightly colored helmets can also help others see you. you are not necessarily safe. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a car’s. yellow or green jackets or vests are your best bets for being seen. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. Also. red. thinking they have plenty of time. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors.BEING SEEN In crashes with motorcyclists. Even if a driver does see you coming. More likely. Remember. They tell others what you plan to do. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. Use low beam at night and in cloudy weather. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers coming from the side to spot you. Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. Too often. Bright orange. However. Reflective. brightcolored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best. lights SIGNALS The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. From ahead or behind. SIGNALING signals 23 . it is difficult to see something you are not looking for. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. they are wrong.
due to a rider’s added vulnerability. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • When you are stopped at an intersection. Use them even when you think no one else is around. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. That is why it is a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. If the driver is not paying attention. USING YOUR MIRRORS While it is most important to keep track of what is happening ahead. particularly when your taillight is on. Watch cars coming up from behind. When you enter onto a freeway. For example. Make • Before you slow down. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection. 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. Knowing what is going on behind is essential for you to make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead.However. sure no one is about to pass you. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly.) If the situation permits. 24 . Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. (It goes on with the headlight. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn. he/she could be on top of you before he/she sees you. or may be unsure about where you will slow. Turning your signal light on before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you. Once you turn. thinking you plan to turn again. driver behind may not expect you to slow. 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). Do not make them guess what you intend to do. • Before you change lanes. It is the car you do not see that is going to give you the most trouble. This will hopefully discourage them from tailgating and warn them of hazards ahead they may not see. If you are being followed closely. Traffic conditions change quickly. make sure your signal is off or a driver may pull directly into your path. you cannot afford to ignore situations behind. rather than at a nearer driveway. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. signals are even more important. it is a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down.
Form a mental image of how far away it is. Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. get familiar with them. Even then. therefore. These provide a wider view of the road behind than do flat mirrors.) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. Before you change lanes. • Someone is in the street. turn your head and look to the side for other vehicles. (While you are stopped. 25 . use it. pick out a parked car in your mirror. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. press the horn button loud and long. also. In an emergency. but don’t rely on it. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane. Frequent head checks should be your normal scanning routine. check the far lane and the one next to you. HORN Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly.USING MIRRORS HEAD CHECKS Checking your mirrors is not enough. If you are not used to convex mirrors. On a road with several lanes. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take. riding a bicycle or walking. head checks Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. Then. Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn is not as loud as a car’s. allow extra distance before you change lanes. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. Following are some situations: horn • A driver in the lane next to you • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. Only by knowing what is happening all around you are you fully prepared to deal with it.
Do not be shy about using the front brake. lights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. Often. Answer . two skills critical to avoiding a crash. be seen and keep an adequate space cushion. particularly on roads you do not know well. To compensate. press down on the rear brake. If the front wheel locks. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. D. Be worn during the day. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. you should: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day. apply both brakes at the same time. Be visible: wear reflective materials when riding at night. • Be Flexible About Lane Position — Change to whatever portion of the lane is best to help you see. This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard. QUICK STOPS To stop quickly. • Use the Car Ahead — The head- • Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. crashes occur because a rider is not prepared for crash-avoidance maneuvers. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. C. B. Know when and how to stop or swerve. Picking your headlight or taillight out of the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. 7 Test yourself night riding Reflective clothing should: A. release the front brake immediately then reapply it firmly. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. Be worn day and night. but do not “grab” it either. Be worn at night. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. Open up a three-second following distance or more. Determining the skills necessary for the situation is important as well. keep it locked until you have com26 . Studies show most crash-involved riders: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear.RIDING AT NIGHT At night it is harder for you to see and be seen.page 46 CRASH AVOIDANCE No matter how careful you are. • Increase Distance — Distances crash avoidance are harder to judge at night than during the day. Squeeze the brake lever firmly and progressively. Riders must also be able to swerve around an obstacle. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to rough pavement. At the same time. If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface. Not be worn.
If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. The front brake can provide 70 percent or more of the potential stopping power. This will cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. the best technique is to straighten the bike upright first and then brake. it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn while keeping your knees against swerving SWERVE.STOPPING DISTANCE motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. SWERVING OR TURNING QUICKLY pletely stopped. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might squeal to a stop. THEN BRAKE BRAKE. The sharper the turn(s). Apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip located on the side of your intended direction of escape. the more the motorcycle must lean. However. It can be two quick turns or a rapid shift to the side. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. If you must brake while leaning. The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. As you slow. even if you use both brakes properly. THEN SWERVE 27 . A swerve is any sudden change in direction. you can control the motorcycle on a straight away if it is upright and going in a straight line. The motorcycle should then be straight up and in balance. Even with a locked rear wheel. You should “straighten” the handlebars in the last few feet of stopping. apply light brakes and reduce the throttle.
Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. press the left handlegrip. then left. If braking is required. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. separate it from swerving. never while swerving. Make your escape route the target of your vision. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. press right.the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. Brake before or after. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. To swerve to the left. To swerve to the right. gradually widens. Every curve is different. then press the right to recover. CONSTANT CURVES CORNERING MULTIPLE CURVES DECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS) WIDENING CURVES 28 . 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.
If no traffic is present. Use the rear brake first. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. This permits you to spot approaching traffic as soon as possible. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact. • Grooves and gratings. Throttle down and use the front brake. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane. start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. B. first determine if it is possible. move to the outside to exit. Another alternative is to move to the center of your lane before entering a curve and stay there until you exit. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. C. If you must go over the obstacle. D. 8 Test yourself The best way to stop quickly is to: A. potholes or small pieces of highway trash. Answer . broken pavement. HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES Your chance of falling or being involved in a crash increases whenever you ride across: • Uneven surfaces or obstacles.page 46 OBSTACLES 29 . Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. As you turn. road conditions and curve of the road. Use the front brake only. If you have to ride over the obstacle. and as you pass the center. DANGEROUS SURFACES UNEVEN SURFACES AND OBSTACLES Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps.Change lane position depending on traffic. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible. Use both brakes at the same time. • Railroad tracks. move toward the inside of the curve. • Slippery surfaces.
• Just before contact. Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop.• 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. 30 • Avoid sudden moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. If you encounter a large surface so slippery that you must coast or travel at a walking pace. If you ride over an object on the street. roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. squeeze the clutch and coast. If you cannot avoid a slippery surface. • Gravel roads. especially when wet. Patches of ice tend to crop up in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. And it is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. • Watch for dirt and gravel — Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. Be sure to keep off the brakes. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid • Use both brakes — The front . snow and ice. • Lane markings. SLIPPERY SURFACES Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. you can catch yourself. Remember. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. brake is still effective. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. consider letting your feet skim along the surface. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. • Watch for oil spots — Be careful when you put your foot down to stop or park. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce speed. steel plates and manhole covers. • 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. If possible. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. • Watch for ice patches — on some sections of a road than on others. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. ride in the tire tracks left by cars. turn or brake. the left tire track will be the best position. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. even on a slippery surface. Be aware of what is on the edge of the road. gentle pressure on the rear brake. If the motorcycle starts to fall. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. or where sand • Mud. Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement. and gravel collect. shift gears. You may slip and fall. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. Often. locking the front wheel.
Turning to take tracks head on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous and may carry you into another lane of traffic. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane.page 46 31 . Ride in the tire tracks left by cars. Ride in the center of the lane. TROLLEY TRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMS Usually. B. it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. TRACKS AND GRATINGS CROSSTRACKS—WRONG GROOVES AND GRATINGS Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause a motorcycle to weave. RAILROAD TRACKS. Relax. The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. 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. maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. Answer . Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. make a quick. ruts or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°. C.CROSSTRACKS—RIGHT from tracks. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. Then. sharp turn. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. The uneasy. Increase your speed. D. Pull off to the side until the rain stops.
check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble. If the front tire goes flat. This will remove power from the rear wheel. it may be a tire failure.” pull off and stop. spring pre-load. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. TIRE FAILURE You will seldom hear a tire go flat. edge to the side of the road. unsuitable accessories or incorrect tire pressure. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. If the throttle stays stuck. ease off the throttle. WOBBLE A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed. however. a front wheel that is bent. misaligned or out of balance. react quickly to keep your balance. Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. shift it. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. if you are sure which one it is. immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. lighten it. If the rear tire goes flat. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. You must be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts. and keep a straight course. Make sure tire pressure. You have to steer well to keep your balance. If the throttle cable is stuck. After you have stopped.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. If you can’t. squeeze the clutch and stop. although engine noise may not immediately decline. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable. STUCK THROTTLE Twist the throttle back and forth 32 . loose wheel bearings or spokes. Pull off and check the tires. This can be dangerous.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle. this may free it. In dealing with any mechanical problem. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. If none of these are determined to be the cause. Check for poorly adjusted steering. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. several times. air shocks and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. Once the motorcycle is “under control. If you are carrying a heavy load. worn steering parts. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold handlegrips firmly. the steering will feel “heavy. mechanical problems • If braking is required. gradually apply the brake of the tire that is not flat. and swingarm bearings. • When the motorcycle slows.
Keep control of your motorcycle and look to where you want to go. remain in your lane. pull off the road. B. Answer . 10 Test yourself If your motorcycle starts to wobble: A. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. Check the chain and sprockets. but do not fight the wobble. Stop until the animal loses interest. 11 Test yourself • Breakage — You’ll notice an If you are chased by a dog: A. oil should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets. however. Kick it away. When this happens. ENGINE SEIZURE When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. Grip the handlebars firmly and close the throttle gradually. braking could make the wobble worse. cattle. • Move your weight as far forward • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. Do not kick at an animal. If you are in traffic. Accelerate out of the wobble. • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. The engine’s moving parts cannot move smoothly against each other and the engine overheats. Do not apply the brakes. Use the brakes gradually. then speed up. C. D. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big like a car. C. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound.) brake and prepare to stop. Check the oil. Downshift. downshift and approach the animal slowly. Tightening the chain may help. instant loss of power to the rear wheel. As you approach it. B. Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. they are unpredictable. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal. and down as possible. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. Pull off the road and stop. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel. Swerve around the animal. replace the chain. Let the engine cool before restarting.page 46 33 . etc. If you are chased. If needed.page 46 ANIMALS Naturally. For larger animals (deer. the sprockets or both before riding again.You should instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. CHAIN PROBLEMS A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your cycle to skid. accelerate away and leave the animal behind. Approach the animal slowly. D. Answer . • Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. Close the throttle and brake to a stop.
• Check the roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. pull off the road and repair the damage. sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. Whatever happens. the Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. Equipment should include: • A proper seat large enough to hold both of you without crowding. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. same as recommended for operators. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction. flying objects EQUIPMENT To carry passengers safely: • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. not expect you to slow down. be sure you: • Instruct the passenger before you start. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. speeds up and slows down.FLYING OBJECTS From time to time riders are struck by insects. cigarettes thrown from cars or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. an object could hit you in the eye. When safe.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. slow down before you turn onto it. it might get smeared or cracked. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. • Protective equipment. 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). balances. practice away from traffic. Firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off too. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. making it difficult to see. If you are wearing face protection. off the road as you can. Without face protection. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings. • Signal — Drivers behind might • Footpegs for the passenger. face or mouth. loose sand or if you are just not sure about it. If it is soft grass. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. 34 • Pull off the road — Get as far carrying loads • Park carefully — Loose and . keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. You do not want someone else pulling off at the same place you are.
C. • Ride slower. provide complete instructions before you start. especially when taking curves. the rear axle. Tankbags keep loads forward. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. especially on a light motorcycle. • Warn that you will make a sudden move. carrying pasengers • Keep the load low — Fasten • Are about to start from a stop. corners or bumps. or in front of. 35 . • Distribute the load evenly — • Open up a larger cushion of enter or merge in traffic. tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you: • Approach surface problems. even when stopped. • Keep the load forward — Place • Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. or belt. • Stay directly behind you. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. stop quickly. Make sure the tankbag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. the load over. Hold on to the motorcycle seat. the longer it will take to slow down and speed up. chains or moving parts. Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. It can also cause a wobble. motion. Never hold onto you. 12 Test yourself • Hold firmly to your waist. hips • Keep both feet on the pegs. RIDING WITH PASSENGERS Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board.page 46 • Keep legs away from the as you lean. space ahead and to the sides. Passengers should: A. loads securely or put them in saddlebags. B. turn sharply or ride over a bump. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. but keep your eyes on the road ahead. Sit as far back as possible. Load saddlebags with about the same weight. Warn your passenger of special conditions when you will pull out. Small loads can be carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. leaning • Avoid unnecessary talk or Also.INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. CARRYING LOADS Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. Answer . Lean as you lean. muffler(s). An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. The heavier your passenger. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. D. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes.
Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. GROUP RIDING If you ride with others.• Secure the load — Fasten the load securely with bungee cords or nets. causing it to lock up and skid. everyone should slow to stay with the tailender. Plan frequent stops on long rides.” If your group is larger than four or five riders. A tight load will not catch in the wheel or chain. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. divide it into two or more smaller groups. Riders will not always be hurrying to “catch up. • Staggered formation — This is STAGGERED FORMATION • Put beginners up front — Place inexperienced riders just behind the leader. the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. A small number is not separated as easily by traffic or red lights. • Don’t pair up — Never operate group riding directly alongside another rider. tailender set the pace. Start lane changes early to permit others to follow. • Check the load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose. Elastic cords with more than one attachment point per side are more secure. That way the more experienced riders can watch them from the back. 36 • Follow those behind — Let the . wait until you are both stopped. 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. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. A close group takes up less space on the highway. Keep the Group Together • Plan — The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so “word gets back” in plenty of time. do it in a way that promotes safety and does not interfere with the flow of traffic. permitting the load to shift or fall. it must be done properly. If a rider falls behind. • 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. However. Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. To talk.
D. After passing. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider. inexperienced riders should postion themselves: A. turning. This is not a good idea. C. two seconds behind the first rider. 13 Test yourself When riding in a group. the leader should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider. Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. Answer . behind and to the sides. • Single-file formation — It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves. At the tail end of the group. entering or leaving a highway. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. Just behind the leader. After passing.The leader rides in the left side of the lane. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe. Beside the leader. First. • Passing in formation — Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. 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. After the first rider passes safely. 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. In front of the group.page 46 GROUP PASSING STAGE 1 GROUP PASSING STAGE 2 37 . the second rider should move up to the left position and watch for a safe chance to pass. B. The fourth rider would keep a two-second distance behind the second rider. A third rider maintains in the left position. while the second rider stays one second behind in the right side of the lane.
Alcohol and other drugs. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. Many over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of riding.000 seriously injured in this same type of crash. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems enough to impair riding skills. making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration above the limit. however.BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE being in shape to ride Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. particularly fatal crashes. 38 By becoming knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol and other drugs you will see that riding and substance abuse do not mix. . decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. Annually. but alcohol or drugs make them less able to think clearly and perform physical tasks skillfully. identifying potential hazards. drug levels have been harder to distinguish or have not been separated from drinking violations for the traffic records. are more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash. Take positive steps to protect yourself and prevent others from injuring themselves. Drinking and drug use is as big a problem among motorcyclists as it is among automobile drivers. In the past. But we do know what effects various drugs have on the process involved in riding a motorcycle. But riding “under the influence” of either alcohol or drugs poses physical and legal hazards for every rider. It is difficult to accurately measure the involvement of particular drugs in motorcycle crashes. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. 2. Friends may brag about their ability to hold their liquor or perform better on drugs. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes. Judgment and the decision-making processes needed for vehicle operation are affected long before the legal limit is reached. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. Motorcyclists.100 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and operating the motorcycle. more than any other factor. We also know that the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone. Studies show that 4045 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. These statistics are too overwhelming to ignore. alcohol and drugs ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE OPERATION No one is immune to the effects of alcohol or drugs.
the more alcohol accumulates in your body. and • Your body weight. 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. Without taking into account any of the other factors. • How fast you drink. you do less well after consuming alcohol. the greater the degree of impairment. a mixed drink with one shot of liquor and a 5-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol. it does not need to be digested. But a variety of other factors may also influence the level of alcohol retained. Your sex. Whatever you do. Alcohol may still accumulate in your body even if you are drinking at a rate of one drink per hour. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: blood-alCohol concentration The faster you drink. BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body. But the full effects of these are not completely known. If you drink two drinks in one hour. A 12-ounce can of beer. Generally. Abilities and judgment can be affected by that one drink.ALCOHOL IN THE BODY Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of almost one drink per hour. at the end of that hour. Unlike most foods and beverages. at least one drink remains in your bloodstream. Other factors also contribute to the way alcohol affects your system. # hours Total drinks drinks LESS since last EQUALS left drink consumed in body = ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION 12 oz. the formula below illustrates the LEAST amount of drinks remaining in the bloodstream: • The amount of alcohol you consume. Within minutes after being consumed. The major effect alcohol has is to slow down and impair bodily functions — both mental and physical. it reaches the brain and begins to affect the drinker. Wine 39 . Beer One Shot Hard Liquor 5 oz.
first offenders had a good chance of getting off with a small fine and participation in alcohol-abuse classes.08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION Years ago. arrest or refusal to submit to a breath test. There are times when a larger person may not accumulate a high concentration of alcohol for each drink consumed. These penalties are mandatory. public transportation costs (while your license is suspended) and the psychological costs of being tagged a “drunk driver. • 7 drinks in 3 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system.alcohol and the law A person drinking: • 8 drinks in 4 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system. • Fines — Severe fines also come with conviction. usually levied with a license suspension. 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. They have more blood and other bodily fluids. Impairment of judgment begins well below the legal limit. Your ability to exercise good judgment is one of the first things affected by alcohol. the laws of most states impose stiff 40 . a person with a BAC of . drugs and fatigue.08 or greater. you must control your riding. However. Three things that can keep cyclists from being in shape to ride safely are alcohol. you may receive any of these penalties: • Driver’s license suspension — Mandatory suspension for conviction. Whether or not you are legally intoxicated is not the real issue. Arrange another way to get home. Today. Or. Even if you try to drink in moderation. Don’t Ride — If you have not controlled your drinking. minimize risks ALCOHOL AND THE LAW Riding a motorcycle is far more demanding than driving a car. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . Leave the motorcycle so you will not be tempted to ride. If you are convicted of riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs. meaning judges must impose them. you may not realize to what extent your skills have suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing effects. In Illinois. penalties on drinking operators. your resistance becomes weaker. lost work time spent in court or alcohol-education programs.08 is considered intoxicated. • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees. You must be in good physical and mental shape to ride safely. washing cars in the motor-vehicle pool or working at an emergency ward. you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than .” DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE Don’t Drink — Once you start. Setting a limit or pacing yourself are poor alternatives.
Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression when they start to wear off.page 46 41 . B. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. Answer . D.” 14 Test yourself If you wait an hour for each drink before riding: A. peer pressure from a group of friends to intervene.. Avoid riding when tired. You will be okay as long as you ride slowly. There are several ways to keep friends from hurting themselves: FATIGUE Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. • 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. Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. You cannot be arrested for drinking and riding. embarrassing and thankless. Side effects from the drinking may still remain. Serve them food and coffee to pass the time. • Slow the pace of drinking — • Keep them there — Use any Involve them in other activities. You are rarely thanked for your efforts at the time. Your riding skills will not be affected. excuse to keep them from getting on their motorcycle. The more people on your side. 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. But the alternatives are often worse.. it is uncomfortable. It is up to others to step in and keep them from taking too great a risk. • Get friends involved — Use It helps to enlist support from others when you decide to step in. While you may not be thanked at the time. fatigue • Protect yourself from the elements — Wind. you will tire sooner than you would in a car. cold and rain make you tire quickly. Dress warmly. No one wants to do this. Fatigue can affect your control of the motorcycle. enced riders seldom try to ride more than six hours a day. you will never have to say. On a long trip. Explain your concerns for their risks of getting arrested or hurt or hurting someone else. “If only I had. C.PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS People who have had too much to drink are unable to make a responsible decision.
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. 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. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc or less and 24 feet if over 500 cc. To pass you will have to study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. These exercises test the rider’s ability to start smooth. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. Lines are painted within this area to delineate seven exercises. 42 EXERCISES 1 THROUGH 3 (Diagram 1): From the starting point. An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. 1993. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. Exercises 4 and 5 test the rider's ability to balance and control the . To earn your license. The engine size determines the class of license needed to legally operate the vehicle. you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down. in addition to proper identification. Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down.EARNING YOUR LICENSE Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. EXERCISES 4 AND 5 (Diagram 2): From the starting point. 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. Continue around the far side of the course. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second. EXERCISES Earning your license The Illinois Secretary of State's office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. making a smooth. Ride to the far side of the course and make a right U-turn in the U-turn box. 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. ride up the course. 1.
ride through the chute at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. This DIAGRAM 1 DIAGRAM 2 43 . bring your cycle to a stop as safely and quickly as possible.) This tests the rider's ability to bring the cycle to a sudden stop. (At 15 mph you should stop in at least 13 feet. The Six Dot Test will be administered to all sidecar and three wheel applicants. ride through the "timing chute" at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. a J-11 restriction (threewheeled motorcycle only) will be added until completion of a twowheeled test. evaluates the rider's ability to avoid obstacles by swerving right or left. Those vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled motorcycle. Skills tests are not designed for three-wheeled vehicles. If you test on a three-wheeled vehicle.cycle and the ability to perform a U-turn. swerve to the right or left to avoid the red obstacle line and then cut back in without crossing or touching the red sidelines. EXERCISE 6 (Diagram 3): From the starting point. To receive a motorcycle license with full privileges. EXERCISE 7 (Diagram 4): From the starting point. Illinois requires the maneuvers be performed as designed.
• Stop. uses excessively high speed.DIAGRAM 3 DIAGRAM 4 TERMINATION The test will be terminated if: • The applicant falls or drops the cycle at any time. Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers. 44 . • Accelerate. • Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. • See. • Make critical decisions and carry them out. brake and turn safely. You may be tested for your ability to: • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits.. raises the front wheel off the ground. • 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.). • Completing normal and quick stops. • The applicant commits an unsafe act (i. • Completing normal and quick turns or swerves. SKILLS TEST SKILLS TEST Basic vehicle control and crash-avoidance skills are included to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations. etc. looses control.e. • Testing time exceeds a reasonable time limit. turn and swerve quickly.
Eye protection — Both driver and passenger must be protected by glasses. with a separate means of application for each wheel or two separate means of application on 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. However. Stoplight — One red light. Helmet — A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. unless the vehicle is equipped for passengers with footrests adjusted to fit the passenger. Everyone riding a motorcycle must sit astride the seat. goggles or a transparent windshield. Rearview mirror — A rearview mirror that reflects a view of at least 200 feet is required. face forward. visible for 500 feet. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT . Taillight — One red light. Muffler — A muffler that is in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise is required. License plate light — One white license plate light is required. 45 Headlights — At least one white light. is required. Footrests — No passengers may be carried except in a sidecar or enclosed cab. is required. 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. It must be lighted whenever the motorcycle is being operated on streets or highways. actuated by the brake and visible for 500 feet. Horn — A horn that can be heard for 200 feet 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. regardless of the vehicle's traveling speed. Seat — Drivers are prohibited from carrying passengers unless the vehicle has been designed to carry two people. Motor-driven cycles must have either a hand-operated or footoperated brake on at least one wheel — preferably the rear wheel. Modification of an exhaust system for the purpose of increasing the noise level is prohibited by law. visible for 500 feet. It must be lighted whenever the headlight is on and must make the license plate visible at least 50 feet away. is required. with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.
About three-quarters. C. Your signals are not working. C. 3. 6-C. 14-C 46 . Press the handlegrip in the direction of the turn.The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? A. 2-D. D. 11-D. About one-half. 2-C. Press the handlegrip in the opposite direction of the turn. B. Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances. B. Make eye contact with the driver. There is a stop sign ahead. About one-quarter. Turn the handlebars quickly. 4-A. D. Maintain speed and position. C. B.The car in the illustration at right is waiting to enter the intersection. You will be slowing suddenly. 3-C. D. 2. _____________________________________ Answers to above Knowledge Test: 1-B. 5-B. 4. B. All the stopping power. Maintain speed and move right. 10-C. 9-C. Someone is following too closely. It is best to: A. 3-D. C. 7-D 8-D. 13-A. Reduce speed and be ready to react. D. Shift your weight quickly.To swerve correctly: A. 4-B Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages) 1-C. 12-A.It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: A.KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions) Knowledge test ANSWERS 1.
Mail Code 678 Champaign.edu D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion Carbondale. 45 . Disclaimer: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the content in this manual.siu.mrc. of Community Health #4 Gerty Dr. please contact your Regional Center. IL 61820 (800) 252-3348 (217) 333-7856 www.ilstu. IL 61790-5221 (800) 322-7619 (309) 438-2352 www.MOTORCYCLE RIDER SAFETY TRAINING PROGRAM REGIONAL CENTERS A Northern Illinois University Motorcycle Safety Project Division of Continuing Education DeKalb.edu/~cycle For course starting dates.edu/mcycle B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal.uiuc.online.edu/depts/mcsafety/ C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program Dept. times and locations. IL 62901-6731 (800) 642-9589 (618) 453-2877 www. IL 60115-2854 (800) 892-9607 (815) 753-1683 www.niu.
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 .For more information about motorcycle licensing or the examination.5 GA 710 .
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