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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
you must send your license plate to the Secretary of State. Moped operators are not required to obtain a motorcycle classification to legally operate their vehicle. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. therefore. Out-ofstate drivers can drive for the period during which they are in Illinois. signals and traffic laws. MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS Motorcycle drivers must obey traffic laws. If you trade from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). two-wheeled vehicles. In addition. LICENSE PLATES All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. it is important to show the correct piston displacement on your license plate registration application. Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways. 5 . are low-speed. along with applications for transfer and title. 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. 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. providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country.enrollment in an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs. 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. signs and signals in the same way as automobile drivers. MOPED OPERATORS Motorized pedalcycles. Any person who operates on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving.
Note: A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. 2. providing two different levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. Before taking off on any trip. where 40 percent of the riders wore helmets. Research also shows that. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury if you wear an: • Approved helmet. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists. see as far to the sides as necessary. In any crash. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. • Face or eye protection. 4. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. with few exceptions. Be a responsible rider. head and neck injuries are reduced by the proper wearing of an approved helmet. Some riders don’t wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. your gear is “right” if it protects you. • Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long). just a few minutes after starting out. Check the motorcycle equipment. WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR When you ride. A study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes. Here are some facts to consider: Wear The Right GEAR • An approved helmet lets you HELMET USE Crashes are not rare events. HELMET SELECTION There are two primary types of helmets. Wear the right gear.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. helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. regardless of the vehicle’s traveling speed. particularly among beginning riders. a safe rider makes a point to: 1. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. Become familiar with the motorcycle. and • Protective clothing. However. 3. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a crash occurs. No matter what the speed. Whichever style you 6 . At these speeds. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and far more common. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger.
and divert your attention from concentrating on the road. Glasses will not keep your eyes from watering and they might blow off when you turn your head while riding. • Permit air to pass through to reduce fogging. Whatever helmet you decide on. you can get the most protection by making sure that the helmet: • Meets U. Department of Transportation and state standards. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. dirt. 7 . To be effective. such as cracks. If you have to deal with them. dust. It also protects you from wind. Otherwise. insects and pebbles thrown from cars ahead. These problems are distracting and can be painful. • Be free of scratches.S. you cannot devote your full attention to the road. rain. • Has no obvious defects. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. • Fits snugly all the way around. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Fasten securely so it does not blow off. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. • Give a clear view to either side. although they will not protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does. 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. if needed. it is likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. • Be resistant to penetration. loose padding or frayed straps.HELMETS Helmet Use choose. if you are involved in a crash. Goggles protect your eyes.
A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. Only protects your eyes. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. C. To make sure your motorcycle won’t let you down: Clothing • Jacket and pants should cover The right motorcycle arms and legs completely. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. • Gloves allow a better grip and In cold or wet weather. wrists and waist. Leather offers the most protection. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb. Your motorcycle should not be one of them. Keep heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. D. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. Answer . slip-resistant material. • Read the owner’s manual first. B.CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS The right clothing protects you in a collision. Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. 1 Test yourself A plastic shatter-resistant face shield: A. KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble. as well as protection from heat. and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. even on summer days. as well as protect you from injury.page 46 8 . Helps protect your whole face. help protect your hands in a crash. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. • Check the motorcycle before every ride. durable. yet loosely enough to move freely. THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE FOR YOU Your motorcycle should “fit” you. your clothes should keep you warm and dry. cold. Does not protect your face as well as goggles. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. It also provides comfort. debris and hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. • Start with the right motorcycle for you. • Boots or shoes should be high • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. Is not necessary if you have a windshield. Soles should be made of hard. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls.
No matter how experienced you may be. And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. 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. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. particularly the turn signals.BORROWING AND LENDING Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. Be sure to review the owner’s manual. If you borrow a motorcycle. horn. • Find out where everything is. 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 . fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. get familiar with it in a controlled area. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. headlight switch.
• Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. Work the throttle. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly. fasteners and fluid checks. Follow your owner’s manual for recommendations. • Brakes — Try the front and rear • Horn — Try the horn. both mirrors before starting. Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. 10 . It is difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak. Check your motorcycle If something is wrong with the motorcycle. A minor technical failure in a car seldom leads to anything more than an inconvenience for the driver. At a minimum. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams are working. Before mounting the motorcycle. take turns more slowly and leave extra room for stopping. The clutch should feel tight and smooth. • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. Make In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. When properly adjusted. check the following items at least once a week: wheels. brake levers one at a time. sure it works. All controls react a little differently. general wear and tread. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. • Turn Signals — Turn on both turn signals. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. and make sure each one turns on the brake light.• Know the gear pattern. cables. you will want to find out about it before you get in traffic. Accelerate gently. 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. • Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind you and as much as possible of the lane next to you. The throttle should snap back when you let go. Make sure all lights are working properly.
page 46 11 • Maintain an adequate space • Scan your path of travel 12 . Happen at night. passing and being passed. use your headlight. seconds ahead. B. It was the driver's responsibility to stop. Involve riders who have ridden their motorcycles less than six months. make critical decisions and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. intentions — use the proper signals. being followed. that is not the case. any crash. That is all it takes for the two of you to tangle. ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. cushion — following. D. it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. brake light and lane position. it does not leave any of us free of responsibility. In fact. To lessen your risk of a crash: • Identify and separate multiple hazards. Consider a situation where someone decides to try to squeeze through an intersection on a yellow light turning red. C. Are caused by worn tires. Neither of you held up your end of the deal.KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone's fault or negligence. Most often in traffic. You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers. 2 Test yourself • Communicate your More than half of all crashes: A. Blame doesn't matter when someone is injured in a crash. Occur at speeds greater than 35 mph. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper crash-avoidance skills. Know your Responsibilities • Be visible — wear proper clothing. most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. The ability to ride aware. Your light turns green. There is rarely a single cause of any crash. As a rider you cannot be sure that other operators will see you or yield the right of way. or an unprepared participant in. Just because someone else is the first to start the chain of events leading to a crash. lane sharing. Answer . And it was your responsibility to look before pulling out. Remember.
RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. speed or balance. your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. don't let your toes point down ward — they may get caught between the road and the footpegs. If your foot catches on some thing. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. Don't drag your feet. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road. • 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. adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. on the footpegs to maintain balance. HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS Shifting Gears RIGHT WRONG 12 . Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them. SHIFTING GEARS There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. This permits you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. Bending your arms permits you to press on the handlebars without having to stretch. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. Also. Also. That is something you can learn only through practice. Start with your right wrist flat. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. 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.
However. Or. 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.) TURNING Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. remember to do so smoothly. especially when downshifting. The front brake is safe to use if you use it properly. even clutch release. not your shoulders. Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. Turn just your head. 13 the turn by closing the throttle and. resulting in control problems. if necessary. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. To lean the motorcycle. If not. Use both of them at the same time. Remember: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. Press rightlean right-go right. It is best to change gears before entering a turn. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering.Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. 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. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to use the brakes to slow enough before downshifting safely. . using both brakes in a turn is possible. Turning • SLOW — Reduce speed before • SLOW • LOOK • LEAN • ROLL • If you know the technique. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. Press left-lean left-go left. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid. If so. applying both brakes. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more. • LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever — never grab. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. When they can't hold the turn. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. causing a skid and loss of control. Work toward a smooth. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. • LEAN — To turn the motorcycle must lean. Also. Braking • Some motorcycles have inte- grated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock. they overreact and brake too hard. although it should be done very carefully. (Consult the owner's manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems. Approach turns and curves with caution.
KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE Lane positions The best protection you can have is distance — a "cushion of space" — all around your motorcycle. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. 14 SLOW TURNING In slow tight turns. Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. counterbalance by leaning the motorcycle only and keeping your body straight. • Avoid surface hazards. Answer . If someone else makes a mistake. • Protect your lane from other drivers. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel (see illustration on next page). Keep your arms straight. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. Turn your head and shoulders to look through turns.• ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. • Communicate your intentions. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. distance permits you: • Time to react • Space to maneuver LANE POSITIONS In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. 3 Test yourself When riding you should: A. . • Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more easily seen by others on the road.page 46 NORMAL TURNING In normal turns. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. D. • Provide an escape route. B. • Avoid others' blind spots. C. Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going.
15 . If the pavement is slippery. To gauge your following distance: • Pick out a marker. such as a pavement marking or lamp post. A two-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly.LANE POSITIONS FOLLOWING ANOTHER VEHICLE "Following too closely" could be a factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. No portion of the lane need be avoided. is usually your best option. onethousand-two. The oily strip in the center portion that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide. Unless the road is wet. In traffic. Remain in path 1 or 2 if hazards are on your right only. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. In general." you are follow ing too closely. You can operate to the left or right of the grease strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane. If vehicles are being operated on both sides of you. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. Change position as traffic situations change. open up a three-second or more following distance. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. path 2. there is no single best position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. the center of the lane. 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. a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride on safely. Avoid riding on big build-ups of oil and grease usually found at busy intersections or toll booths. motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars. including the center. or if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you. count off the seconds: "one-thousand-one. on or near the road ahead." Following • If you reach the marker before you reach "two. Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left only. Normally.
If the traffic situation allows. visibility is more critical. This will make it easier to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. If they do not pass. However. PASSING AND BEING PASSED Passing and being passed by another vehicle is not much different than with a car. BEING FOLLOWED Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. Riding at the far side of a lane may permit a driver to see you in a sideview mirror. Be sure other drivers see you. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead. It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you. This will also encourage them to pass. If you cannot do this.FOLLOWING Being Followed Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. 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. When behind a car. ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror. But remember that most drivers don't look at their sideview mirrors nearly as often as they check the rearview mirror. 16 . When someone is following too closely. and that you see potential hazards. 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). slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. change lanes and let them pass.
When safe. and only where permitted. stay in the center portion of your lane. Select a lane position that does not crowd the car you are passing and provides space to avoid hazards in your lane. Know your signs and road markings! BEING PASSED When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle.PASSING 1. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. 3. Riding any closer to them could put you in a hazardous situation. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. vehicles — They can affect your control. move into the left lane and accelerate. Signal and check for oncoming traffic. drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. Ride through the blind spot as quickly as possible. 2. 4. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. Remember. • 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. PASSING BEING PASSED 17 . 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. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. Avoid being hit by: • The other vehicle — A slight • Extended mirrors — Some Passing mistake by you or the passing driver could cause a sideswipe.
MERGING CARS Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway. • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. BLIND SPOTS Lane Sharing • When they want to pass you. If there is no room for a lane change. 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.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. B. Discourage lane sharing by others. which could switch into your lane without warning. Give them plenty of room.page 46 18 . Lane sharing is usually prohibited. • When you are getting in an exit lane or leaving a highway. a good way to handle tailgaters is to: A. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next lane. Ignore them. C. Change to MERGING 4 Test yourself Usually. a car could turn suddenly. adjust speed to open up space for the merging driver. a door could open. D. 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. bumper-to-bumper traffic. Keep a center-portion position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. another lane if one is open. Use your horn and make obscene gestures. Change lanes and let them pass.
Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. SIPDE PREDICT Consider speed. They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. • Traffic approaching from behind.. 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. • Pedestrians and animals are unpredictable and make short quick moves. You must decide when. DECIDE Determine what you need to do based on your prediction. Search for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. distance and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you. Your constant decision-making tasks must stay sharp to cope with constantly changing traffic situations. .SIPDE Good experienced riders remain aware of what is going on around them. The result is your action and knowing which strategy is best for the situation. • Hazardous road conditions. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections. where and how to take action. shopping areas. bridges. school and construction zones. • Stationary objects like potholes. • Vehicles and other motorcycles • Single hazard • Two hazards • Multiple hazards 19 may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a crash. IDENTIFY Locate hazards and potential conflicts. Completing this “what if. You want to eliminate or reduce the potential hazard. How assertively you search and how much time and space you have can eliminate or reduce harm. Predict where a collision may occur.. roadway signs. Be especially alert in areas with limited visibility. 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. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others. SCAN Search aggressively ahead. guard rails. The decisions you make can be grouped by types of hazards you encounter: • Traffic coming from the left and right.?” phrase to estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience.
Answer . Cover the clutch and the brakes. Cars that turn left in front of you. a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to “see” him. including cars turning left from the lane to your right. • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. In potential high-risk areas. Over onehalf of motorcycle/car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. you should: A. Pull in the clutch when turning. C. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. Ride slower than the speed limit. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to separate. 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. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. Shift into neutral when slowing. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. There are no guarantees that others see you. D. • Adjust your position and/or Apply the old adage. and cars on side streets that pull into your lane. B. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to hazards. Good riders are always “looking for trouble” not to get into it. If a car can enter your path. Too often. stopping or slowing. but to stay out of it. “one step at a time.page 46 20 .” to handle two or more hazards. Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic. school and construction zones. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. assume that it will. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards. Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. Your use of SIPDE [page 19] at intersections is critical. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. direction. intersections 5 Test yourself SMALL INTERSECTIONS To reduce your reaction time.EXECUTE Carry out your decision. are the biggest dangers. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: INTERSECTIONS The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections.
Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. so the driver on the 21 cross street can see him as soon as possible. Do not change speed or position radically. move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field of vision at the earliest possible moment. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. away from the parked car. After entering the intersection. 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. Remember. . the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space. BLIND INTERSECTIONS BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you approach a blind intersection. In the illustration.LARGE INTERSECTIONS LARGE INTERSECTIONS As you approach the intersection.
From that position. They may cut you off entirely. Does not mean the driver will yield. he may fail to see you. Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you’re looking. lean your body forward and look around buildings. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in. D. 6 Test yourself Making eye contact with other drivers: A. stop there first. C. Cars making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. stay toward the left of your lane. Even if he does look.BLIND INTERSECTIONS PARKED CARS parked cars If you have a stop sign or stop line. If oncoming traffic is present. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane (see illustration above).page 46 22 . it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. Is not worth the effort it takes. Guarantees that the other driver will yield to you. PASSING PARKED CARS When passing parked cars. blocking the entire roadway and leaving you with no place to go. slow down and get the driver’s attention. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. Is a good sign they see you. In either event. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening. Sound your horn and continue with caution. B. parked cars or bushes to see if anything is coming. drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. Since you can-not tell what a driver will do. PARKING AT THE ROADSIDE/CURBS Park at a 90° angle to the curb with your rear wheel touching the curb. the driver might cut into your path. Answer . Then edge forward and stop again.
Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. Your helmet can do more than protect you in a crash.BEING SEEN In crashes with motorcyclists. lights SIGNALS The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. Also. brightcolored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best. Even if a driver does see you coming. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your cycle. Reflective. yellow or green jackets or vests are your best bets for being seen. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers coming from the side to spot you. red. 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. Illinois law requires that the headlight be on when operating on streets and highways. you are not necessarily safe. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors. SIGNALING signals 23 . They tell others what you plan to do. they are wrong. Use low beam at night and in cloudy weather. they are looking through the skinny. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. thinking they have plenty of time. Remember. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. More likely. CLOTHING Most crashes occur in broad daylight. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. However. Bright orange. Too often. a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a car’s. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. it is difficult to see something you are not looking for. Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. Brightly colored helmets can also help others see you.
However. This will hopefully discourage them from tailgating and warn them of hazards ahead they may not see. Use them even when you think no one else is around. When you enter onto a freeway. 24 . Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. Once you turn. due to a rider’s added vulnerability. thinking you plan to turn again. If the driver is not paying attention. Do not make them guess what you intend to do. driver behind may not expect you to slow. 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. Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. Turning your signal light on before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you. That is why it is a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly. help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down. or may be unsure about where you will slow. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • When you are stopped at an intersection. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection. Make • Before you slow down. The • You slow more quickly than others might expect (turning off a high-speed highway). (It goes on with the headlight. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down. drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. make sure your signal is off or a driver may pull directly into your path. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn. USING YOUR MIRRORS While it is most important to keep track of what is happening ahead. particularly when your taillight is on. you cannot afford to ignore situations behind. It is the car you do not see that is going to give you the most trouble. Knowing what is going on behind is essential for you to make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. • Before you change lanes. he/she could be on top of you before he/she sees you. Watch cars coming up from behind. sure no one is about to pass you.) If the situation permits. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). Traffic conditions change quickly. If you are being followed closely. signals are even more important. For example. rather than at a nearer driveway. it is a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow.
) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. turn your head and look to the side for other vehicles. Before you change lanes. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane. Then. On a road with several lanes. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. (While you are stopped. Following are some situations: horn • A driver in the lane next to you • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. also. HORN Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. pick out a parked car in your mirror. allow extra distance before you change lanes. Form a mental image of how far away it is. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. Even then.USING MIRRORS HEAD CHECKS Checking your mirrors is not enough. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take. but don’t rely on it. Frequent head checks should be your normal scanning routine. These provide a wider view of the road behind than do flat mirrors. Only by knowing what is happening all around you are you fully prepared to deal with it. therefore. 25 . If you are not used to convex mirrors. riding a bicycle or walking. press the horn button loud and long. check the far lane and the one next to you. is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. get familiar with them. Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn is not as loud as a car’s. use it. In an emergency. Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. head checks Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. • Someone is in the street.
B. keep it locked until you have com26 . Studies show most crash-involved riders: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. Not be worn. Open up a three-second following distance or more. Picking your headlight or taillight out of the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. Riders must also be able to swerve around an obstacle. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. release the front brake immediately then reapply it firmly. • Increase Distance — Distances crash avoidance are harder to judge at night than during the day. Do not be shy about using the front brake.RIDING AT NIGHT At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard. but do not “grab” it either. Determining the skills necessary for the situation is important as well. If the front wheel locks. Be worn at night. • Be Flexible About Lane Position — Change to whatever portion of the lane is best to help you see. Be worn during the day. crashes occur because a rider is not prepared for crash-avoidance maneuvers. C. D. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to rough pavement. you should: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day. Know when and how to stop or swerve. Be worn day and night. QUICK STOPS To stop quickly. • Use the Car Ahead — The head- • Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. Often. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. lights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. At the same time. Squeeze the brake lever firmly and progressively. Be visible: wear reflective materials when riding at night. apply both brakes at the same time. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate. Answer . If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface.page 46 CRASH AVOIDANCE No matter how careful you are. be seen and keep an adequate space cushion. 7 Test yourself night riding Reflective clothing should: A. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. particularly on roads you do not know well. press down on the rear brake. two skills critical to avoiding a crash. To compensate.
The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might squeal to a stop. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. the best technique is to straighten the bike upright first and then brake. If you must brake while leaning. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. you can control the motorcycle on a straight away if it is upright and going in a straight line.STOPPING DISTANCE motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. A swerve is any sudden change in direction. You should “straighten” the handlebars in the last few feet of stopping. The sharper the turn(s). The motorcycle should then be straight up and in balance. However. SWERVING OR TURNING QUICKLY pletely stopped. Even with a locked rear wheel. THEN SWERVE 27 . The front brake can provide 70 percent or more of the potential stopping power. Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn while keeping your knees against swerving SWERVE. As you slow. Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. apply light brakes and reduce the throttle. It can be two quick turns or a rapid shift to the side. This will cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. the more the motorcycle must lean. THEN BRAKE BRAKE. Apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip located on the side of your intended direction of escape. even if you use both brakes properly.
Let the motorcycle move underneath you. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits.the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. Brake before or after. press the left handlegrip. separate it from swerving. Make your escape route the target of your vision. then left. CONSTANT CURVES CORNERING MULTIPLE CURVES DECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS) WIDENING CURVES 28 . To swerve to the left. 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. then press the right to recover. press right. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. Press on the opposite handlegrip once you clear the obstacle to return to your original direction of travel. Every curve is different. gradually widens. If braking is required. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. To swerve to the right. never while swerving.
If no traffic is present. DANGEROUS SURFACES UNEVEN SURFACES AND OBSTACLES Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane. HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES Your chance of falling or being involved in a crash increases whenever you ride across: • Uneven surfaces or obstacles. • Railroad tracks.Change lane position depending on traffic. 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. • Grooves and gratings. Throttle down and use the front brake. Answer . Use both brakes at the same time. C. Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. This permits you to spot approaching traffic as soon as possible.page 46 OBSTACLES 29 . potholes or small pieces of highway trash. 8 Test yourself The best way to stop quickly is to: A. and as you pass the center. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible. • Slippery surfaces. If you have to ride over the obstacle. road conditions and curve of the road. first determine if it is possible. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. Use the front brake only. move toward the inside of the curve. B. move to the outside to exit. D. As you turn. broken pavement. Use the rear brake first. Another alternative is to move to the center of your lane before entering a curve and stay there until you exit.
Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery. If possible. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid • Use both brakes — The front . Often. you can catch yourself. steel plates and manhole covers. You may slip and fall. If you encounter a large surface so slippery that you must coast or travel at a walking pace. • Just before contact. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. even on a slippery surface. • Lane markings. locking the front wheel. Patches of ice tend to crop up in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. And it is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways.• 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. shift gears. SLIPPERY SURFACES Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. If you ride over an object on the street. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. Be aware of what is on the edge of the road. and gravel collect. If the motorcycle starts to fall. roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. • Watch for ice patches — on some sections of a road than on others. ride in the tire tracks left by cars. brake is still effective. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. the left tire track will be the best position. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. • Avoid the center of a lane — When it starts to rain. squeeze the clutch and coast. consider letting your feet skim along the surface. • Watch for oil spots — Be careful when you put your foot down to stop or park. gentle pressure on the rear brake. Remember. If you cannot avoid a slippery surface. especially when wet. • Gravel roads. turn or brake. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. 30 • Avoid sudden moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce speed. Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce your speed — Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding. • Watch for dirt and gravel — Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. snow and ice. or where sand • Mud. Be sure to keep off the brakes.
Turning to take tracks head on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous and may carry you into another lane of traffic.page 46 31 . TROLLEY TRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMS Usually. B. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. Relax. Pull off to the side until the rain stops. sharp turn. it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. ruts or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°. RAILROAD TRACKS. maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.CROSSTRACKS—RIGHT from tracks. Ride in the center of the lane. The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling. Answer . The uneasy. Increase your speed. make a quick. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane. D. 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. Then. TRACKS AND GRATINGS CROSSTRACKS—WRONG GROOVES AND GRATINGS Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause a motorcycle to weave. C.
You must be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts. ease off the throttle. edge to the side of the road. check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. worn steering parts. TIRE FAILURE You will seldom hear a tire go flat. If you can’t. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. although engine noise may not immediately decline. unsuitable accessories or incorrect tire pressure. the steering will feel “heavy. gradually apply the brake of the tire that is not flat. however. and keep a straight course. and swingarm bearings. squeeze the clutch and stop. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable. it may be a tire failure. If the rear tire goes flat. Check for poorly adjusted steering. Pull off and check the tires.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold handlegrips firmly. This will remove power from the rear wheel. In dealing with any mechanical problem. Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. Make sure tire pressure. a front wheel that is bent. mechanical problems • If braking is required. If the throttle cable is stuck. If the throttle stays stuck. You have to steer well to keep your balance. STUCK THROTTLE Twist the throttle back and forth 32 . loose wheel bearings or spokes. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. lighten it. • When the motorcycle slows. shift it. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. react quickly to keep your balance. misaligned or out of balance. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. several times. After you have stopped. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. This can be dangerous. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. If you are carrying a heavy load.” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. this may free it. If the front tire goes flat. WOBBLE A “wobble” occurs when the front wheel and handlebars suddenly start to shake from side to side at any speed. spring pre-load. If none of these are determined to be the cause.” pull off and stop. air shocks and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. if you are sure which one it is. Once the motorcycle is “under control.
10 Test yourself If your motorcycle starts to wobble: A.You should instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. replace the chain. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. etc. cattle. As you approach it. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big like a car. C. remain in your lane. • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. the sprockets or both before riding again. When this happens. Answer . Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. Check the chain and sprockets. pull off the road. For larger animals (deer. • Move your weight as far forward • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. 11 Test yourself • Breakage — You’ll notice an If you are chased by a dog: A. B. Use the brakes gradually. Approach the animal slowly. CHAIN PROBLEMS A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your cycle to skid. Stop until the animal loses interest. Do not kick at an animal. Kick it away. oil should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. D. downshift and approach the animal slowly. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. Tightening the chain may help. however. ENGINE SEIZURE When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. If needed. If you are chased. instant loss of power to the rear wheel. and down as possible. braking could make the wobble worse. Downshift. Accelerate out of the wobble. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel. accelerate away and leave the animal behind.) brake and prepare to stop. Do not apply the brakes. D. If you are in traffic. Let the engine cool before restarting. they are unpredictable.page 46 33 . but do not fight the wobble. Grip the handlebars firmly and close the throttle gradually. then speed up. Answer . C. Keep control of your motorcycle and look to where you want to go. • Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. Swerve around the animal. Pull off the road and stop. Check the oil. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. The engine’s moving parts cannot move smoothly against each other and the engine overheats.page 46 ANIMALS Naturally. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. B. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets.
When safe. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings. face or mouth. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. speeds up and slows down. • Signal — Drivers behind might • Footpegs for the passenger. • Protective equipment. If you are wearing face protection. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. Equipment should include: • A proper seat large enough to hold both of you without crowding. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. Firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off too. CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. an object could hit you in the eye.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. balances. practice away from traffic. off the road as you can. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. Without face protection.FLYING OBJECTS From time to time riders are struck by insects. It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. making it difficult to see. flying objects EQUIPMENT To carry passengers safely: • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. pull off the road and repair the damage. be sure you: • Instruct the passenger before you start. If it is soft grass. cigarettes thrown from cars or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. • Check the roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. 34 • Pull off the road — Get as far carrying loads • Park carefully — Loose and . sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. slow down before you turn onto it. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. 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). not expect you to slow down. loose sand or if you are just not sure about it. same as recommended for operators. it might get smeared or cracked. the Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight. You do not want someone else pulling off at the same place you are.
especially when taking curves. Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. Tankbags keep loads forward. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. CARRYING LOADS Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. The heavier your passenger.page 46 • Keep legs away from the as you lean. Warn your passenger of special conditions when you will pull out. RIDING WITH PASSENGERS Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board. hips • Keep both feet on the pegs. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. Small loads can be carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. B. Hold on to the motorcycle seat. Never hold onto you. muffler(s). but keep your eyes on the road ahead. Sit as far back as possible. the longer it will take to slow down and speed up. • Keep the load forward — Place • Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. motion. 12 Test yourself • Hold firmly to your waist. It can also cause a wobble. space ahead and to the sides. or in front of. or belt. provide complete instructions before you start. the rear axle.INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. Answer . tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you: • Approach surface problems. C. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. Passengers should: A. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. loads securely or put them in saddlebags. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects. Load saddlebags with about the same weight. stop quickly. D. • Distribute the load evenly — • Open up a larger cushion of enter or merge in traffic. corners or bumps. • Ride slower. Make sure the tankbag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. turn sharply or ride over a bump. • Warn that you will make a sudden move. especially on a light motorcycle. Lean as you lean. • Stay directly behind you. 35 . leaning • Avoid unnecessary talk or Also. Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes. even when stopped. chains or moving parts. carrying pasengers • Keep the load low — Fasten • Are about to start from a stop. the load over.
• Don’t pair up — Never operate group riding directly alongside another rider. Plan frequent stops on long rides. That way the more experienced riders can watch them from the back. GROUP RIDING If you ride with others. causing it to lock up and skid. A small number is not separated as easily by traffic or red lights. wait until you are both stopped. • Check the load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose. To talk.• Secure the load — Fasten the load securely with bungee cords or nets. do it in a way that promotes safety and does not interfere with the flow of traffic. 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. permitting the load to shift or fall. There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. 36 • Follow those behind — Let the . divide it into two or more smaller groups. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. A close group takes up less space on the highway. However. tailender set the pace. A tight load will not catch in the wheel or chain. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. everyone should slow to stay with the tailender. 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. Riders will not always be hurrying to “catch up. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. Start lane changes early to permit others to follow. 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.” If your group is larger than four or five riders. Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. 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.
• Passing in formation — Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. The fourth rider would keep a two-second distance behind the second rider. A third rider maintains in the left position. inexperienced riders should postion themselves: A. Just behind the leader. After passing. At the tail end of the group. turning. the leader should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider. Answer . After passing. First. • Single-file formation — It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider.The leader rides in the left side of the lane. D. behind and to the sides. 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. C. In front of the group. B. Beside the leader. Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. two seconds behind the first rider. After the first rider passes safely. entering or leaving a highway. while the second rider stays one second behind in the right side of the lane. the second rider should move up to the left position and watch for a safe chance to pass. This is not a good idea. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead.page 46 GROUP PASSING STAGE 1 GROUP PASSING STAGE 2 37 . 13 Test yourself When riding in a group. 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.
Many over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of riding. decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. alcohol and drugs ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE OPERATION No one is immune to the effects of alcohol or drugs. making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. but alcohol or drugs make them less able to think clearly and perform physical tasks skillfully. Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and operating the motorcycle. We also know that the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone.000 seriously injured in this same type of crash. 2. more than any other factor. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes.100 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. Studies show that 4045 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. . It is difficult to accurately measure the involvement of particular drugs in motorcycle crashes. 38 By becoming knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol and other drugs you will see that riding and substance abuse do not mix. But we do know what effects various drugs have on the process involved in riding a motorcycle. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. In the past. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration above the limit. Annually. But riding “under the influence” of either alcohol or drugs poses physical and legal hazards for every rider. Friends may brag about their ability to hold their liquor or perform better on drugs. Alcohol and other drugs. however. identifying potential hazards. Judgment and the decision-making processes needed for vehicle operation are affected long before the legal limit is reached. These statistics are too overwhelming to ignore. are more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. Take positive steps to protect yourself and prevent others from injuring themselves. drug levels have been harder to distinguish or have not been separated from drinking violations for the traffic records. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems enough to impair riding skills. particularly fatal crashes. Drinking and drug use is as big a problem among motorcyclists as it is among automobile drivers.BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE being in shape to ride Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. Motorcyclists.
it does not need to be digested. it reaches the brain and begins to affect the drinker. 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. Whatever you do. the greater the degree of impairment. Abilities and judgment can be affected by that one drink. But a variety of other factors may also influence the level of alcohol retained. The major effect alcohol has is to slow down and impair bodily functions — both mental and physical. Beer One Shot Hard Liquor 5 oz. Alcohol may still accumulate in your body even if you are drinking at a rate of one drink per hour. But the full effects of these are not completely known. Without taking into account any of the other factors. the more alcohol accumulates in your body. If you drink two drinks in one hour. A 12-ounce can of beer. the formula below illustrates the LEAST amount of drinks remaining in the bloodstream: • The amount of alcohol you consume. a mixed drink with one shot of liquor and a 5-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol. you do less well after consuming alcohol. and • Your body weight. Unlike most foods and beverages. 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. BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body. Wine 39 . alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of almost one drink per hour. Within minutes after being consumed. at the end of that hour. • How fast you drink. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: blood-alCohol concentration The faster you drink.ALCOHOL IN THE BODY Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. Your sex. at least one drink remains in your bloodstream. Generally.
” DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE Don’t Drink — Once you start. In Illinois. There are times when a larger person may not accumulate a high concentration of alcohol for each drink consumed. These penalties are mandatory. the laws of most states impose stiff 40 . penalties on drinking operators.08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. arrest or refusal to submit to a breath test. Arrange another way to get home. you may receive any of these penalties: • Driver’s license suspension — Mandatory suspension for conviction. you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than . Or. CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION Years ago. They have more blood and other bodily fluids. • Community service — Performing tasks such as picking up litter along the highway. drugs and fatigue. If you are convicted of riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs. washing cars in the motor-vehicle pool or working at an emergency ward. Impairment of judgment begins well below the legal limit.08 is considered intoxicated. public transportation costs (while your license is suspended) and the psychological costs of being tagged a “drunk driver. • Fines — Severe fines also come with conviction. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is . Setting a limit or pacing yourself are poor alternatives. Because of individual differences it is better not to risk that your abilities have not been affected. your resistance becomes weaker. Even if you try to drink in moderation. you may not realize to what extent your skills have suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing effects. Don’t Ride — If you have not controlled your drinking. Whether or not you are legally intoxicated is not the real issue. Today. • 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. Three things that can keep cyclists from being in shape to ride safely are alcohol. lost work time spent in court or alcohol-education programs. However. usually levied with a license suspension. • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees. a person with a BAC of . meaning judges must impose them. first offenders had a good chance of getting off with a small fine and participation in alcohol-abuse classes.08 or greater. You must be in good physical and mental shape to ride safely. minimize risks ALCOHOL AND THE LAW Riding a motorcycle is far more demanding than driving a car. you must control your riding. Leave the motorcycle so you will not be tempted to ride. Your ability to exercise good judgment is one of the first things affected by alcohol.
the easier it is to be firm and the harder it is for the rider to resist.. cold and rain make you tire quickly. You will be okay as long as you ride slowly.page 46 41 . excuse to keep them from getting on their motorcycle. B. Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. You are rarely thanked for your efforts at the time. Riders are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. peer pressure from a group of friends to intervene. it is uncomfortable. There are several ways to keep friends from hurting themselves: FATIGUE Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. you will never have to say. Side effects from the drinking may still remain. Your riding skills will not be affected. You cannot be arrested for drinking and riding. C. Fatigue can affect your control of the motorcycle.” 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. embarrassing and thankless. It is up to others to step in and keep them from taking too great a risk. Explain your concerns for their risks of getting arrested or hurt or hurting someone else. • Slow the pace of drinking — • Keep them there — Use any Involve them in other activities. Dress warmly. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. The more people on your side. On a long trip. Avoid riding when tired. • 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.PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS People who have had too much to drink are unable to make a responsible decision. D. enced riders seldom try to ride more than six hours a day. you will tire sooner than you would in a car. 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 . No one wants to do this. While you may not be thanked at the time.. fatigue • Protect yourself from the elements — Wind. But the alternatives are often worse. “If only I had.
To earn your license. For information about a Rider Education Course in your area. Continue around the far side of the course. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. To pass you will have to study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. 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. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc or less and 24 feet if over 500 cc. Ride to the far side of the course and make a right U-turn in the U-turn box. Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down. ride up the course. Exercises 4 and 5 test the rider's ability to balance and control the . 1. negotiate a sharp left turn and come to a smooth stop in a designated area. EXERCISES Earning your license The Illinois Secretary of State's office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. 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. 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. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual.EARNING YOUR LICENSE Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. 42 EXERCISES 1 THROUGH 3 (Diagram 1): From the starting point. in addition to proper identification. making a smooth. Lines are painted within this area to delineate seven exercises. please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. 1993. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down. These exercises test the rider’s ability to start smooth. The engine size determines the class of license needed to legally operate the vehicle.
To receive a motorcycle license with full privileges. Skills tests are not designed for three-wheeled vehicles.) This tests the rider's ability to bring the cycle to a sudden stop. swerve to the right or left to avoid the red obstacle line and then cut back in without crossing or touching the red sidelines. ride through the "timing chute" at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. EXERCISE 6 (Diagram 3): From the starting point. This DIAGRAM 1 DIAGRAM 2 43 . bring your cycle to a stop as safely and quickly as possible. a J-11 restriction (threewheeled motorcycle only) will be added until completion of a twowheeled test.cycle and the ability to perform a U-turn. ride through the chute at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. If you test on a three-wheeled vehicle. EXERCISE 7 (Diagram 4): From the starting point. The Six Dot Test will be administered to all sidecar and three wheel applicants. Those vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled motorcycle. evaluates the rider's ability to avoid obstacles by swerving right or left. (At 15 mph you should stop in at least 13 feet. Illinois requires the maneuvers be performed as designed.
uses excessively high speed.. You may be tested for your ability to: • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits.). looses control. • The applicant obtains enough points (11 or more) to constitute a failure. • Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. • The applicant commits an unsafe act (i.DIAGRAM 3 DIAGRAM 4 TERMINATION The test will be terminated if: • The applicant falls or drops the cycle at any time. brake and turn safely. • Make critical decisions and carry them out. 44 . etc. turn and swerve quickly. SKILLS TEST SKILLS TEST Basic vehicle control and crash-avoidance skills are included to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations. Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers. raises the front wheel off the ground. • Completing normal and quick turns or swerves. • Completing normal and quick stops. be seen and communicate with others. • Choosing the correct path and staying within boundaries. • Accelerate. • Testing time exceeds a reasonable time limit. • See. • Stop.e.
is required. However. regardless of the vehicle's traveling speed. 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. unless the vehicle is equipped for passengers with footrests adjusted to fit the passenger. 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. Footrests — No passengers may be carried except in a sidecar or enclosed cab. Stoplight — One red light.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. 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. Rearview mirror — A rearview mirror that reflects a view of at least 200 feet is required. Taillight — One red light. visible for 500 feet. is required. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT . a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. Seat — Drivers are prohibited from carrying passengers unless the vehicle has been designed to carry two people. actuated by the brake and visible for 500 feet. face forward. Modification of an exhaust system for the purpose of increasing the noise level is prohibited by law. Eye protection — Both driver and passenger must be protected by glasses. is required. License plate light — One white license plate light is required. Muffler — A muffler that is in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise is required. Helmet — A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. 45 Headlights — At least one white light. with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. It must be lighted whenever the motorcycle is being operated on streets or highways. 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. Horn — A horn that can be heard for 200 feet is required. goggles or a transparent windshield.
3. Someone is following too closely. _____________________________________ Answers to above Knowledge Test: 1-B. 4. D. 13-A. B.The car in the illustration at right is waiting to enter the intersection. About three-quarters. Maintain speed and position. 11-D. D. Maintain speed and move right. B. Make eye contact with the driver.KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions) Knowledge test ANSWERS 1. Turn the handlebars quickly. 2-C. Shift your weight quickly. There is a stop sign ahead. You will be slowing suddenly. B. 14-C 46 . B. Your signals are not working. Reduce speed and be ready to react. 7-D 8-D. 12-A. 9-C. It is best to: A. D. Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances. 2. Press the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. About one-half.The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? A. 6-C. About one-quarter. 4-B Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages) 1-C. C. D.To swerve correctly: A. C. C. C. 10-C. Press the handlegrip in the opposite direction of the turn. All the stopping power. 5-B.It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: A. 2-D. 3-D. 4-A. 3-C.
IL 60115-2854 (800) 892-9607 (815) 753-1683 www. of Community Health #4 Gerty Dr.edu D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion Carbondale. 45 . IL 61820 (800) 252-3348 (217) 333-7856 www. IL 61790-5221 (800) 322-7619 (309) 438-2352 www.mrc.siu. please contact your Regional Center.edu/mcycle B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal. Disclaimer: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the content in this manual.niu. Mail Code 678 Champaign.ilstu. times and locations.edu/~cycle For course starting dates.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.uiuc.online.edu/depts/mcsafety/ C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program Dept.
For more information about motorcycle licensing or the examination. 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 .5 GA 710 .660M DSD X-140.
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