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


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

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

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

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

ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. • Find out where everything is. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. get familiar with it in a controlled area. headlight switch. Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. If you borrow a motorcycle. horn. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. particularly the turn signals.BORROWING AND LENDING Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware. No matter how experienced you may be. 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 . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. • Objects thrown from • Blasts of wind from larger Being Passed Do not move into the portion of the lane farthest from the passing vehicle. windows — Even if the driver knows you are there. move into the left lane and accelerate. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. PASSING BEING PASSED 17 . and only where permitted. Remember. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. When safe. stay in the center portion of your 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.PASSING 1. 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. vehicles — They can affect your control. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. 3. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. Riding any closer to them could put you in a hazardous situation. 2. Select a lane position that does not crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane. Signal and check for oncoming traffic. drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. 4.

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

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

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

select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. The driver might think that you are preparing to turn. In the illustration. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. Remember. 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. so the driver on the 21 cross street can see him as soon as possible. Do not change speed or position radically. away from the parked car. After entering the intersection. move away from vehicles preparing to turn.LARGE INTERSECTIONS LARGE INTERSECTIONS As you approach the intersection. . the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. BLIND INTERSECTIONS BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you approach a blind intersection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. To swerve to the left. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. then left. gradually widens. If braking is required. CONSTANT CURVES CORNERING MULTIPLE CURVES DECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS) WIDENING CURVES 28 . press right. Every curve is different. Make your escape route the target of your vision. never while swerving. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. separate it from swerving. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. Brake before or after. then press the right to recover. press the left handlegrip.the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. To swerve to the right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual. 1993. Continue around the far side of the course. 1. negotiate a sharp left turn and come to a smooth stop in a designated area. To pass you will have to study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down. For information about a Rider Education Course in your area. 42 EXERCISES 1 THROUGH 3 (Diagram 1): 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. Exercises 4 and 5 test the rider's ability to balance and control the . please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. These exercises test the rider’s ability to start smooth. 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. EXERCISES 4 AND 5 (Diagram 2): From the starting point. The engine size determines the class of license needed to legally operate the vehicle. in addition to proper identification. ride up the course. making a smooth. EXERCISES Earning your license The Illinois Secretary of State's office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). 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. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc or less and 24 feet if over 500 cc.EARNING YOUR LICENSE Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. Lines are painted within this area to delineate seven exercises. Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down. To earn your license. An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second.

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the content in this IL 60115-2854 (800) 892-9607 (815) 753-1683 www.ilstu. Mail Code 678 C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program Dept. 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. IL 62901-6731 (800) 642-9589 (618) 453-2877 www. IL 61820 (800) 252-3348 (217) 333-7856 www. times and locations. please contact your Regional D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion Carbondale.niu. 45 .edu/mcycle B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal.mrc.uiuc. of Community Health #4 Gerty For course starting dates.

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 .660M DSD X-140.For more information about motorcycle licensing or the examination.5 GA 710 .

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