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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
signals and traffic laws. are low-speed. along with applications for transfer and title. If you trade from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). signs and signals in the same way as automobile drivers. In addition. it is important to show the correct piston displacement on your license plate registration application. LICENSE PLATES All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways. MOPED OPERATORS Motorized pedalcycles. Moped operators are not required to obtain a motorcycle classification to legally operate their vehicle. 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. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. 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. Out-ofstate drivers can drive for the period during which they are in Illinois.enrollment in an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. you must send your license plate to the Secretary of State. 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. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs. providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country. MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS Motorcycle drivers must obey traffic laws. 5 . therefore. Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways. two-wheeled vehicles. Any person who operates on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving.
providing two different levels of coverage: three-quarter and full face. your gear is “right” if it protects you. Here are some facts to consider: Wear The Right GEAR • An approved helmet lets you HELMET USE Crashes are not rare events. WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR When you ride. • Face or eye protection. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. In any crash. A study of more than 900 motorcycle crashes. Before taking off on any trip. particularly among beginning riders. HELMET SELECTION There are two primary types of helmets. Note: A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law. just a few minutes after starting out. Others wear helmets only on long trips or when riding at high speeds. helmets can cut both the number and the severity of head injuries by half. Check the motorcycle equipment. Become familiar with the motorcycle. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and far more common. Crash analyses show that head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists.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. • Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long). No matter what the speed. where 40 percent of the riders wore helmets. you have a far better chance of avoiding serious injury if you wear an: • Approved helmet. Some riders don’t wear helmets because they think helmets will limit their view to the sides. • Most riders are riding slower than 30 mph when a crash occurs. with few exceptions. a safe rider makes a point to: 1. Whichever style you 6 . However. 4. did not find even one case in which a helmet kept a rider from spotting danger. Research also shows that. 3. and • Protective clothing. 2. Wear the right gear. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. Be a responsible rider. At these speeds. see as far to the sides as necessary. head and neck injuries are reduced by the proper wearing of an approved helmet. regardless of the vehicle’s traveling speed.
• Permit air to pass through to reduce fogging. • Fits snugly all the way around. To be effective. Goggles protect your eyes. insects and pebbles thrown from cars ahead. It also protects you from wind. These problems are distracting and can be painful. dirt. Neither will eyeglasses or sunglasses. • Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses.S. loose padding or frayed straps. rain. you cannot devote your full attention to the road. 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. such as cracks. Tinted eye protection should not be worn at night or any other time when little light is available. • Be free of scratches. • Be resistant to penetration. • Give a clear view to either side. If you have to deal with them. if you are involved in a crash. dust. it is likely to fly off your head before it gets a chance to protect you. if needed. keep it securely fastened on your head when you ride. • Fasten securely so it does not blow off. Most windshields will not protect your eyes from the wind. Glasses will not keep your eyes from watering and they might blow off when you turn your head while riding. A windshield is not a substitute for a faceshield or goggles. and divert your attention from concentrating on the road. • Has no obvious defects. Otherwise.HELMETS Helmet Use choose. 7 . Whatever helmet you decide on. although they will not protect the rest of your face like a faceshield does. you can get the most protection by making sure that the helmet: • Meets U. Department of Transportation and state standards.
help protect your hands in a crash. as well as protect you from injury. THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE FOR YOU Your motorcycle should “fit” you. Tuck in laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle. • Check the motorcycle before every ride.page 46 8 . Leather offers the most protection. Does not protect your face as well as goggles. • Start with the right motorcycle for you. It also provides comfort. They should fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. You cannot control a motorcycle well if you are numb. Many are designed to protect without getting you overheated. Keep heels short so they do not catch on rough surfaces. as well as protection from heat. KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble. B. • Boots or shoes should be high • Avoid add-ons and modifications that make your motorcycle harder to handle. even on summer days. Good-quality rainsuits designed for motorcycle riding resist tearing apart or ballooning up at high speeds. durable. C. Wear a jacket even in warm weather to prevent dehydration. Your gloves should be made of leather or similar durable material. Answer . Is not necessary if you have a windshield. Soles should be made of hard. A winter jacket should resist wind and fit snugly at the neck. 1 Test yourself A plastic shatter-resistant face shield: A. D. • Keep it in safe riding condition between rides. To make sure your motorcycle won’t let you down: Clothing • Jacket and pants should cover The right motorcycle arms and legs completely. yet loosely enough to move freely. • Gloves allow a better grip and In cold or wet weather. Your feet should reach the ground while you are seated on the motorcycle. wrists and waist. Helps protect your whole face. your clothes should keep you warm and dry. • Read the owner’s manual first. slip-resistant material. Only protects your eyes. and sturdy enough to cover your ankles and give them support.CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS The right clothing protects you in a collision. cold. debris and hot and moving parts of the motorcycle. Riding for long periods in cold weather can cause severe chill and fatigue. Sturdy synthetic material provides a lot of protection as well. • Be familiar with the motorcycle controls. Your motorcycle should not be one of them.
headlight switch. • Find out where everything is. Find and operate these items without having to look for them. 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 .BORROWING AND LENDING Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles beware. If you are going to use an unfamiliar motorcycle: • Make all the checks you would on your own motorcycle. If you borrow a motorcycle. get familiar with it in a controlled area. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. Be sure to review the owner’s manual. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. horn. More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. particularly the turn signals. No matter how experienced you may be. Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding.
both mirrors before starting. Make sure each one feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is fully applied. brake levers one at a time. clutch and brakes a few times before you start riding. Make In addition to the checks you should make before every trip. The throttle should snap back when you let go. Test your switch to make sure both high and low beams are working. Check your motorcycle If something is wrong with the motorcycle. check the following items at least once a week: wheels. 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. and make sure each one turns on the brake light. • Headlights and Taillight — Check them both. Accelerate gently. When properly adjusted. complete the following checks before starting out: • Clutch and Throttle — Make sure they work smoothly. All controls react a little differently. Once you have mounted the motorcycle. make the following checks: • Tires — Check the air pressure. fasteners and fluid checks. • Brakes — Try the front and rear • Horn — Try the horn. At a minimum. A minor technical failure in a car seldom leads to anything more than an inconvenience for the driver. 10 . Follow your owner’s manual for recommendations. It is difficult to ride with one hand while you try to adjust a mirror. Make sure all lights are working properly. Before mounting the motorcycle. • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels.• Know the gear pattern. general wear and tread. cables. Adjust each mirror so you can see the lane behind you and as much as possible of the lane next to you. check hydraulic fluids and coolants weekly. sure it works. • Turn Signals — Turn on both turn signals. • Ride very cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. • Brake Light — Try both brake controls. Look under the motorcycle for signs of an oil or gas leak. take turns more slowly and leave extra room for stopping. you will want to find out about it before you get in traffic. The clutch should feel tight and smooth. Make a complete check of your motorcycle before every ride. • Mirrors — Clean and adjust CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE A motorcycle needs more frequent attention than a car. Work the throttle.
cushion — following. D. Answer . or an unprepared participant in. Remember. 2 Test yourself • Communicate your More than half of all crashes: A. being followed. B. It was the driver's responsibility to stop. You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers. Know your Responsibilities • Be visible — wear proper clothing. lane sharing. make critical decisions and carry them out separates responsible riders from all the rest. passing and being passed. Neither of you held up your end of the deal. And it was your responsibility to look before pulling out. brake light and lane position. intentions — use the proper signals. that is not the case. That is all it takes for the two of you to tangle. most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place. In fact. The ability to ride aware. Blame doesn't matter when someone is injured in a crash. • Be prepared to act — remain alert and know how to carry out proper crash-avoidance skills. Involve riders who have ridden their motorcycles less than six months. ride in the best lane position to see and be seen. Your light turns green. C. 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. it is up to you to keep from being the cause of. Are caused by worn tires. Occur at speeds greater than 35 mph. Happen at night. To lessen your risk of a crash: • Identify and separate multiple hazards. There is rarely a single cause of any crash. Just because someone else is the first to start the chain of events leading to a crash. use your headlight.KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES “Accident” implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone's fault or negligence. seconds ahead.page 46 11 • Maintain an adequate space • Scan your path of travel 12 . Consider a situation where someone decides to try to squeeze through an intersection on a yellow light turning red. Most often in traffic. any crash.
Also.RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road. This permits you to use the proper muscles for precision steering. HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS Shifting Gears RIGHT WRONG 12 . adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. That is something you can learn only through practice. • Seat — Sit far enough forward so • Feet — Keep your feet firmly Body position • Hands — Hold the handlegrips firmly to keep your grip over rough surfaces. speed or balance. on the footpegs to maintain balance. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. Don't drag your feet. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop. your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. SHIFTING GEARS There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. If your foot catches on some thing. Start with your right wrist flat. Bending your arms permits you to press on the handlebars without having to stretch. 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. Also. • Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them.
It is best to change gears before entering a turn. if necessary. • LEAN — To turn the motorcycle must lean. not your shoulders. although it should be done very carefully.Make certain you are riding slowly enough when you shift into a lower gear. Press rightlean right-go right. causing a skid and loss of control. Use four steps for better control: BRAKING Your motorcycle has two brakes: one each for the front and rear wheel. resulting in control problems. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more. Approach turns and curves with caution. Grabbing at the front brake or jamming down on the rear can cause the brakes to lock. Turn just your head. using both brakes in a turn is possible. Also. remember to do so smoothly. . even clutch release. If not. less traction is available for stopping. sometimes shifting while in the turn is necessary. Or. they end up crossing into another lane of traffic or going off the road. 13 the turn by closing the throttle and. they overreact and brake too hard. Braking • Some motorcycles have inte- grated braking systems that link the front and rear brakes together by applying the rear brake pedal. Remember: • Use both brakes every time you slow or stop. Use caution and squeeze the brake lever — never grab. A sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause a skid. The front brake is safe to use if you use it properly. the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may skid. 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. Squeeze the front brake and press down on the rear. The front brake is more powerful and can provide at least three-quarters of your total stopping power. • LOOK — Look through the turn to where you want to go. Press left-lean left-go left. A skid can occur if you apply too much brake. Use both of them at the same time. (Consult the owner's manual for a detailed explanation on the operation and effective use of these systems. When riding downhill or shifting into first gear you may need to use the brakes to slow enough before downshifting safely. Work toward a smooth. To lean the motorcycle. However. using the front brake incorrectly on a slippery surface may be hazardous. especially when downshifting. press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. and keep your eyes level with the horizon. applying both brakes. If so. When they can't hold the turn. When leaning the motorcycle some of the traction is used for cornering.) TURNING Riders often try to take curves or turns too fast. Turning • SLOW — Reduce speed before • SLOW • LOOK • LEAN • ROLL • If you know the technique.
C.page 46 NORMAL TURNING In normal turns. Select the appropriate path to maximize your space cushion and make yourself more easily seen by others on the road. KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE Lane positions The best protection you can have is distance — a "cushion of space" — all around your motorcycle. • Protect your lane from other drivers. Each traffic lane gives a motorcycle three paths of travel (see illustration on next page). Your lane position should: • Increase your ability to see and be seen. • Communicate your intentions. Keep your knees away from the gas tank. counterbalance by leaning the motorcycle only and keeping your body straight. Answer . Keep your arms straight. the rider and the motorcycle should lean together at the same angle. This will help keep the motorcycle stable. distance permits you: • Time to react • Space to maneuver LANE POSITIONS In some ways the size of the motorcycle can work to your advantage. • Avoid others' blind spots. If someone else makes a mistake.• ROLL — Roll on the throttle through the turn to stabilize suspension. Maintain steady speed or accelerate gradually through the turn. 14 SLOW TURNING In slow tight turns. . Turn just your head and eyes to look where you are going. 3 Test yourself When riding you should: A. • Provide an escape route. • Avoid wind blast from other vehicles. D. • Avoid surface hazards. B. Turn your head and shoulders to look through turns.
onethousand-two." Following • If you reach the marker before you reach "two. To gauge your following distance: • Pick out a marker. Change position as traffic situations change. if you cannot see through the vehicle ahead. A larger cushion of space is needed if your motorcycle will take longer than normal to stop. No portion of the lane need be avoided. open up a three-second or more following distance. on or near the road ahead. such as a pavement marking or lamp post. there is no single best position for riders to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle. the average center strip permits adequate traction to ride on safely. a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead. or if traffic is heavy and someone may squeeze in front of you. You can operate to the left or right of the grease strip and still be within the center portion of the traffic lane. Normally. If the pavement is slippery. count off the seconds: "one-thousand-one. the center of the lane. Remain in path 1 or 2 if hazards are on your right only. is usually your best option. Avoid riding on big build-ups of oil and grease usually found at busy intersections or toll booths. • When the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the marker. The oily strip in the center portion that collects drippings from cars is usually no more than two feet wide. including the center. In traffic. A two-second following distance leaves a minimum amount of space to stop or swerve if the driver ahead stops suddenly. path 2." you are follow ing too closely.LANE POSITIONS FOLLOWING ANOTHER VEHICLE "Following too closely" could be a factor in crashes involving motorcyclists. Unless the road is wet. 15 . 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. It also permits a better view of potholes and other hazards in the road. Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and other potential problems are on your left only. If vehicles are being operated on both sides of you. In general. motorcycles need as much distance to stop as cars.
This will also encourage them to pass. ride where the driver can see you in the rearview mirror. When behind a car. BEING FOLLOWED Speeding up to lose someone following too closely only ends up with someone tailgating you at a higher speed. If they do not pass.FOLLOWING Being Followed Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even when you are stopped. you will have given yourself and the tailgater more time and space to react in case an emergency does develop ahead. Be sure other drivers see you. But remember that most drivers don't look at their sideview mirrors nearly as often as they check the rearview mirror. PASSING AND BEING PASSED Passing and being passed by another vehicle is not much different than with a car. 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). Riding at the far side of a lane may permit a driver to see you in a sideview mirror. This will make it easier to get out of the way if someone bears down on you from behind. When someone is following too closely. slow down and open up extra space ahead of you to allow room for both you and the tailgater to stop. 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. 16 . It will also give you a cushion of space if the vehicle ahead starts to back up for some reason. If you cannot do this. However. visibility is more critical. If the traffic situation allows. and that you see potential hazards. change lanes and let them pass. A better way to handle tailgaters is to get them in front of you.
and only where permitted. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a safe following distance to increase your line of sight and make you more visible. 3. When safe. 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. Ride through the blind spot as quickly as possible. a passenger may not see you and might toss something on you or the road ahead of you. passes must be completed within posted speed limits. windows — Even if the driver knows you are there. 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. PASSING BEING PASSED 17 . 2. Remember. drivers forget that their mirrors hang out farther than their fenders. Use your mirrors and turn your head to look for traffic behind. Know your signs and road markings! BEING PASSED When you are being passed from behind or by an oncoming vehicle. Riding any closer to them could put you in a hazardous situation. Signal again and complete mirror and headchecks before returning to your original lane and then cancel the signal. 4. 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. It might invite the other driver to cut back into your lane too early. stay in the center portion of your 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. move into the left lane and accelerate. vehicles — They can affect your control.
Lane sharing is usually prohibited. 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. Use your horn and make obscene gestures. C. Change lanes and let them pass. B. MERGING CARS Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see you on the highway.LANE SHARING Cars and motorcycles need a full lane to operate safely. Answer . which could switch into your lane without warning. D. Keep a center-portion position whenever drivers might be tempted to squeeze by you. You might be in the blind spot of a car in the next lane. a good way to handle tailgaters is to: A. CARS ALONGSIDE Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other lanes if you do not have to. Discourage lane sharing by others. a door could open. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected.page 46 18 . Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater. bumper-to-bumper traffic. another lane if one is open. If there is no room for a lane change. Ignore them. Drivers are most tempted to do this: • In heavy. a car could turn suddenly. Speed up or drop back to find a place clear of traffic on both sides. • When you are getting in an exit lane or leaving a highway. • When you are preparing to turn at an intersection. Change to MERGING 4 Test yourself Usually. A hand could come out of a window. Give them plenty of room. BLIND SPOTS Lane Sharing • When they want to pass you.
school and construction zones. Cars moving into your path are more critical than those moving away or remaining stationary. SCAN Search aggressively ahead. bridges. roadway signs. Search for: • Oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you. The mental process of determining your course of action depends on how aggressively you searched. SIPDE PREDICT Consider speed. a fivestep process used to make appropriate judgements. • Vehicles and other motorcycles • Single hazard • Two hazards • Multiple hazards 19 may move into your path and increase the likelihood of a crash. You must decide when. • Traffic approaching from behind. hedges or trees will not move into your path but may influence your riding strategy. DECIDE Determine what you need to do based on your prediction. shopping areas. distance and direction of hazards to anticipate how they may affect you. where and how to take action.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. 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. to the sides and behind to avoid potential hazards even before they arise. Focus even more on finding potential escape routes in or around intersections.?” phrase to estimate results of contacting or attempting to avoid a hazard depends on your knowledge and experience. The decisions you make can be grouped by types of hazards you encounter: • Traffic coming from the left and right... • Pedestrians and animals are unpredictable and make short quick moves. guard rails. • Hazardous road conditions. They improve their riding strategy by using SIPDE. . • Stationary objects like potholes. Predict where a collision may occur. 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. Your constant decision-making tasks must stay sharp to cope with constantly changing traffic situations. IDENTIFY Locate hazards and potential conflicts. Completing this “what if. Visually “busy” surroundings could hide you and your motorcycle from others.
If a car can enter your path. Increase your chances of being seen at intersections. Adjust speed to permit two hazards to separate. Then deal with them one at a time as single hazards. • Adjust your speed by accelerating. Weigh the consequences of each and give equal distance to hazards. The only eyes that you can count on are your own. Provide a space cushion around the motorcycle that permits you to take evasive action. school and construction zones.EXECUTE Carry out your decision. To create more space and minimize harm from any hazard: INTERSECTIONS The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is at intersections. 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. B. There are no guarantees that others see you. a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and still fails to “see” him. including cars turning left from the lane to your right. Too often. stopping or slowing. Good riders are always “looking for trouble” not to get into it. assume that it will.” to handle two or more hazards. Pull in the clutch when turning. Decision-making becomes more complex with three or more hazards. you should: A. Your use of SIPDE [page 19] at intersections is critical. are the biggest dangers. intersections 5 Test yourself SMALL INTERSECTIONS To reduce your reaction time. cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce the time you need to react. but to stay out of it.page 46 20 . Cars that turn left in front of you. C. Ride slower than the speed limit. • Adjust your position and/or Apply the old adage. direction. • Communicate your presence with lights and/or horn. Cover the clutch and the brakes. and cars on side streets that pull into your lane. In potential high-risk areas. Never count on “eye contact” as a sign that a driver will yield. Over onehalf of motorcycle/car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right-of-way. Shift into neutral when slowing. D. “one step at a time. Ride with your headlight on in a lane position that provides the best view of oncoming traffic. Answer .
BLIND INTERSECTIONS BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you approach a blind intersection. the rider has moved to the left portion of the lane. Cover the clutch and both brakes to reduce reaction time. select a lane position to increase your visibility to the driver.LARGE INTERSECTIONS LARGE INTERSECTIONS As you approach the intersection. Reduce your speed as you approach an intersection. away from the parked car. move to the portion of the lane that will bring you into another driver’s field of vision at the earliest possible moment. In the illustration. Remember. so the driver on the 21 cross street can see him as soon as possible. . After entering the intersection. move away from vehicles preparing to turn. The driver might think that you are preparing to turn. Do not change speed or position radically. the key is to see as much as possible and remain visible to others while protecting your space.
Make sure your front wheel stays out of the cross lane of travel while you’re looking. parked cars or bushes to see if anything is coming. Guarantees that the other driver will yield to you. blocking the entire roadway and leaving you with no place to go. stop there first. stay toward the left of your lane. In either event. C. From that position. B. They may cut you off entirely. Is a good sign they see you. 6 Test yourself Making eye contact with other drivers: A. Even if he does look. Cars making a sudden U-turn are the most dangerous. he may fail to see you. Is not worth the effort it takes.page 46 22 . Does not mean the driver will yield. PARKING AT THE ROADSIDE/CURBS Park at a 90° angle to the curb with your rear wheel touching the curb. slow down and get the driver’s attention. just short of where the cross-traffic lane meets your lane (see illustration above). If oncoming traffic is present. You can avoid problems caused by doors opening. PASSING PARKED CARS When passing parked cars. D. lean your body forward and look around buildings. the driver might cut into your path. drivers getting out of cars or people stepping from between cars. Sound your horn and continue with caution. it is usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your space cushion. Since you can-not tell what a driver will do. A bigger problem can occur if the driver pulls away from the curb without checking for traffic behind. Answer . Then edge forward and stop again. Slow down or change lanes to make room for someone cutting in.BLIND INTERSECTIONS PARKED CARS parked cars If you have a stop sign or stop line.
a motorcycle’s outline is much smaller than a car’s. brightcolored clothing (helmet and jacket or vest) is best. Remember. thinking they have plenty of time. From ahead or behind. clothing HEADLIGHT The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to keep the headlight on at all times (although motorcycles sold in the USA since 1978 automatically have the headlights on when running). However. red. CLOTHING Most crashes occur in broad daylight. it is difficult to see something you are not looking for. Reflective. you are not necessarily safe. Your helmet can do more than protect you in a crash. you can do many things to make it easier for others to recognize you and your cycle. Bright orange. It is common for drivers to pull out in front of motorcyclists. your body is half of the visible surface area of the rider/motorcycle unit. Too often.BEING SEEN In crashes with motorcyclists. Reflective material can also be a big help for drivers coming toward you or from behind. More likely. lights SIGNALS The signals on a motorcycle are similar to those on a car. They tell others what you plan to do. two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars that may pose a problem to them. yellow or green jackets or vests are your best bets for being seen. they are looking through the skinny. and most drivers are not looking for motorcycles. Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your chances of being seen. drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle. they are wrong. Reflective material on a vest and on the sides of the helmet will help drivers coming from the side to spot you. Also. Brightly colored helmets can also help others see you. Any bright color is better than drab or dark colors. Illinois law requires that the headlight be on when operating on streets and highways. Use low beam at night and in cloudy weather. SIGNALING signals 23 . Use of the high beam during the day increases the likelihood that oncoming drivers will see you. Even if a driver does see you coming. Smaller vehicles appear farther away and seem to be traveling slower than they actually are.
The • You slow more quickly than others might expect (turning off a high-speed highway). drivers approaching from behind are more likely to see your signal blinking and make room for you. particularly when your taillight is on. When you enter onto a freeway. The tailgater may be watching you and not see something ahead that will make you slow down. rather than at a nearer driveway. If the driver is not paying attention. If you are being followed closely. Do not make them guess what you intend to do. it is a good idea to flash your brake light before you slow. Watch cars coming up from behind. That is why it is a good idea to use your turn signals even when what you plan to do is obvious. or may be unsure about where you will slow. Use them even when you think no one else is around. driver behind may not expect you to slow. USING YOUR MIRRORS While it is most important to keep track of what is happening ahead. sure no one is about to pass you. thinking you plan to turn again. It is the car you do not see that is going to give you the most trouble. This will hopefully discourage them from tailgating and warn them of hazards ahead they may not see. • You slow where others may not expect it (in the middle of a block or at an alley). Knowing what is going on behind is essential for you to make a safe decision about how to handle trouble ahead. Your signal lights also make you easier to spot. due to a rider’s added vulnerability. help others notice you by flashing your brake light before you slow down. Traffic conditions change quickly. signals are even more important. For example. Frequent mirror checks should be part of your normal searching routine. Make • Before you slow down. It is especially important to flash your brake light before: • When you are stopped at an intersection. he/she could be on top of you before he/she sees you. Use your signals at every turn so drivers can react accordingly. (It goes on with the headlight. you cannot afford to ignore situations behind.However. 24 .) If the situation permits. you signal a turn and the driver thinks you plan to turn at a distant intersection. Use them anytime you plan to change lanes or turn. make sure your signal is off or a driver may pull directly into your path. 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. Once you turn. • Before you change lanes. Turning your signal light on before each turn reduces confusion and frustration for the traffic around you.
get familiar with them. (While you are stopped. Form a mental image of how far away it is. A driver in the distant lane may head for the same space you plan to take. Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn is not as loud as a car’s. Motorcycles have “blind spots” like cars. On a road with several lanes. therefore. use it. turn your head and look to the side for other vehicles. Be ready to stop or swerve away from the danger. press the horn button loud and long. Before you change lanes. turn around and look at it to see how close you came. If you are not used to convex mirrors. also. In an emergency. Other strategies may be appropriate along with the horn. These provide a wider view of the road behind than do flat mirrors. but don’t rely on it. head checks Some motorcycles have rounded (convex) mirrors. check the far lane and the one next to you. • Someone is in the street. riding a bicycle or walking. is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead and may want to pass. Even then. Only by knowing what is happening all around you are you fully prepared to deal with it.USING MIRRORS HEAD CHECKS Checking your mirrors is not enough. 25 . Following are some situations: horn • A driver in the lane next to you • A parked car has someone in the driver’s seat. They also make cars seem farther away than they really are. pick out a parked car in your mirror. Then.) Practice with your mirrors until you become a good judge of distance. Frequent head checks should be your normal scanning routine. HORN Be ready to use your horn to get someone’s attention quickly. allow extra distance before you change lanes. It is a good idea to give a quick beep before passing anyone that may move into your lane.
• Increase Distance — Distances crash avoidance are harder to judge at night than during the day.RIDING AT NIGHT At night it is harder for you to see and be seen. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. QUICK STOPS To stop quickly. Squeeze the brake lever firmly and progressively. • Be Flexible About Lane Position — Change to whatever portion of the lane is best to help you see. It is not always desirable or possible to stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. B. be seen and keep an adequate space cushion. Know when and how to stop or swerve. Picking your headlight or taillight out of the car lights around you is not easy for other drivers. Often. If the front wheel locks. This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard. If you accidentally lock the rear brake on a good traction surface. two skills critical to avoiding a crash. Be worn at night. press down on the rear brake. but do not “grab” it either. D. there will be times when you find yourself in a tight spot. Be worn during the day. Allow more distance to pass and be passed. Use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car. • Did not separate braking from swerving or did not choose swerving when it was appropriate. C. Riders must also be able to swerve around an obstacle. Do not be shy about using the front brake. keep it locked until you have com26 . • Use the Car Ahead — The head- • Use Your High Beam — Get all the light you can. Be visible: wear reflective materials when riding at night. Determining the skills necessary for the situation is important as well. Be worn day and night.page 46 CRASH AVOIDANCE No matter how careful you are. you should: • Reduce Your Speed — Ride even slower than you would during the day. apply both brakes at the same time. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to rough pavement. release the front brake immediately then reapply it firmly. Your chances of getting out safely depend on your ability to react quickly and properly. Answer . Not be worn. 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. Studies show most crash-involved riders: • Underbrake the front tire and overbrake the rear. lights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. To compensate. particularly on roads you do not know well. 7 Test yourself night riding Reflective clothing should: A. Open up a three-second following distance or more. At the same time.
STOPPING DISTANCE motorcycle is straight and maximum brake pressure is possible. If you must brake while leaning. If you must stop quickly while turning or riding a curve. the more the motorcycle must lean. the best technique is to straighten the bike upright first and then brake. Always use both brakes at the same time to stop. The front brake can provide 70 percent or more of the potential stopping power. You should “straighten” the handlebars in the last few feet of stopping. even if you use both brakes properly. The sharper the turn(s). Apply a small amount of hand pressure to the handlegrip located on the side of your intended direction of escape. A swerve is any sudden change in direction. you can control the motorcycle on a straight away if it is upright and going in a straight line. It can be two quick turns or a rapid shift to the side. An object might appear suddenly in your path or the car ahead might squeal to a stop. The only way to avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or swerve around it. THEN BRAKE BRAKE. apply light brakes and reduce the throttle. you can reduce your lean angle and apply more brake pressure until the Sometimes you may not have enough room to stop. THEN SWERVE 27 . it may not always be possible to straighten the motorcycle and then stop. This will cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. However. Even with a locked rear wheel. SWERVING OR TURNING QUICKLY pletely stopped. As you slow. Keep your body upright and allow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of the turn while keeping your knees against swerving SWERVE. The motorcycle should then be straight up and in balance.
Be alert to whether a curve remains constant. gradually widens. If braking is required. separate it from swerving. Every curve is different. Let the motorcycle move underneath you. 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 right. press right. Brake before or after. Make your escape route the target of your vision. Press on the opposite handlegrip once you clear the obstacle to return to your original direction of travel. To swerve to the left. CONSTANT CURVES CORNERING MULTIPLE CURVES DECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS) WIDENING CURVES 28 .the tank and your feet solidly on the pegs. then left. never while swerving. press the left handlegrip. Your best path may not always follow the curve of the road. Ride within your skill level and posted speed limits. gets tighter or involves multiple turns. then press the right to recover.
B. and as you pass the center. road conditions and curve of the road. Throttle down and use the front brake. • Make sure the motorcycle is straight. This permits you to spot approaching traffic as soon as possible. If no traffic is present. As you turn. • Grooves and gratings. • Railroad tracks. • Slippery surfaces. Use the rear brake first. 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. C. broken pavement. start at the outside of a curve to increase your line of sight and the effective radius of the turn. Answer . DANGEROUS SURFACES UNEVEN SURFACES AND OBSTACLES Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps. 8 Test yourself The best way to stop quickly is to: A. move toward the inside of the curve. Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or going around them. Approach it at as close to a 90° angle as possible. Use the front brake only. HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES Your chance of falling or being involved in a crash increases whenever you ride across: • Uneven surfaces or obstacles. potholes or small pieces of highway trash. If you must go over the obstacle. You can also adjust for traffic “crowding” the center line or debris blocking part of your lane.Change lane position depending on traffic. If you have to ride over the obstacle.page 46 OBSTACLES 29 . Look where you want to go to control your path of travel. Use both brakes at the same time. first determine if it is possible. you should: • Slow down as much as possible before contact. D.
ride in the tire tracks left by cars. brake is still effective. Cautious riders steer clear of roads covered with ice or snow. Surfaces that provide poor traction include: • Wet pavement. 30 • Avoid sudden moves — Any sudden change in speed or direction can cause a skid. You may slip and fall. keep your motorcycle straight up and proceed as slowly as possible. pull off the road and check your tires and rims for damage before riding any farther. steel plates and manhole covers. roll on the throttle slightly to lighten the front end. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid • Use both brakes — The front . Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. snow and ice. especially when wet. even on a slippery surface. shift gears. Patches of ice tend to crop up in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. • Gravel roads. and gravel collect. And it is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves. SLIPPERY SURFACES Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces that permit good traction. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up. or where sand • Mud. squeeze the clutch and coast. Be aware of what is on the edge of the road. • Watch for oil spots — Be careful when you put your foot down to stop or park.• 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. turn or brake. particularly when making sharp turns and getting on or off freeways at high speeds. Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just as slippery. Remember. • Lane markings. depending on traffic and other road conditions as well. gentle pressure on the rear brake. especially on curves and ramps leading to and from highways. particularly just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. • Avoid the center of a lane — When it starts to rain. To ride safely on slippery surfaces: • Reduce your speed — Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding. you can catch yourself. locking the front wheel. consider letting your feet skim along the surface. Be sure to keep off the brakes. If you cannot avoid a slippery surface. the left tire track will be the best position. • Watch for dirt and gravel — Dirt and gravel collect along the sides of the road. Often. Ride on the least slippery portion of the lane and reduce speed. • Watch for ice patches — on some sections of a road than on others. If possible. Attempting this maneuver at anything other than the slowest of speeds could prove hazardous. If you encounter a large surface so slippery that you must coast or travel at a walking pace. • Just before contact. If you ride over an object on the street. If the motorcycle starts to fall.
Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance. The uneasy. D. wandering feeling is generally not hazardous. make a quick. The zigzag is far more hazardous than the wandering feeling.CROSSTRACKS—RIGHT from tracks. B. maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. Ride in the center of the lane. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane. Turning to take tracks head on (at a 90° angle) can be more dangerous and may carry you into another lane of traffic. it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. Answer . Relax. Pull off to the side until the rain stops. sharp turn. RAILROAD TRACKS. Then. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course. TRACKS AND GRATINGS CROSSTRACKS—WRONG GROOVES AND GRATINGS Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause a motorcycle to weave.page 46 31 . C. Increase your speed. ruts or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°. 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. TROLLEY TRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMS Usually.
” A front-wheel flat is particularly hazardous because it affects your steering. STUCK THROTTLE Twist the throttle back and forth 32 . Trying to “accelerate out of a wobble” will only make the motorcycle more unstable. 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. You must be able to tell from the way the motorcycle reacts. and swingarm bearings. air shocks and dampers are at the settings recommended for that much weight. TIRE FAILURE You will seldom hear a tire go flat. ease off the throttle. Most wobbles can be traced to improper loading. If the throttle stays stuck.” pull off and stop. the steering will feel “heavy. In dealing with any mechanical problem. mechanical problems • If braking is required. several times. misaligned or out of balance. If you can’t. Center the weight lower and farther forward on the motorcycle. check the throttle cable carefully to find the source of the trouble. If the throttle cable is stuck. If either tire goes flat while riding: • Hold handlegrips firmly. lighten it. immediately operate the engine cut-off switch and pull in the clutch at the same time. Make sure windshields and fairings are mounted properly. spring pre-load. shift it. • When the motorcycle slows. If none of these are determined to be the cause. edge to the side of the road. although engine noise may not immediately decline. worn steering parts. have the motorcycle checked out thoroughly by a qualified professional. take into account the road and traffic conditions you face. If one of your tires suddenly loses air. This can be dangerous. Make certain the throttle works freely before you start to ride again. and keep a straight course. You have to steer well to keep your balance. Make sure tire pressure. squeeze the clutch and stop. If you are carrying a heavy load. After you have stopped. gradually apply the brake of the tire that is not flat. If the rear tire goes flat. If the front tire goes flat. unsuitable accessories or incorrect tire pressure. Once the motorcycle is “under control. This will remove power from the rear wheel. a front wheel that is bent. however. If the motorcycle starts handling differently. this may free it. Here are some guidelines that can help you handle mechanical problems safely. Check for poorly adjusted steering. Pull off and check the tires. loose wheel bearings or spokes.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS You can find yourself in an emergency the moment something goes wrong with your motorcycle. the back of the motorcycle may jerk or sway from side to side. it may be a tire failure. if you are sure which one it is.
replace the chain. downshift and approach the animal slowly. If you are in traffic. Do not kick at an animal. B. Approach the animal slowly. ENGINE SEIZURE When the engine “locks” or “freezes” it is usually low on oil. The first sign may be a loss of engine power or a change in the engine’s sound. Downshift. they are unpredictable. Stop until the animal loses interest. Motorcycles seem to attract dogs.page 46 33 . accelerate away and leave the animal behind. C. remain in your lane. Check the chain and sprockets. Chain slippage or breakage can be avoided by proper maintenance. The engine’s moving parts cannot move smoothly against each other and the engine overheats. pull off the road. If needed. etc. Tightening the chain may help. Accelerate out of the wobble. For larger animals (deer. you should do everything you safely can to avoid hitting an animal. Answer . Swerve around the animal. Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage the engine from the rear wheel. and down as possible. but do not fight the wobble.page 46 ANIMALS Naturally. If you are chased. When this happens. D. C. instant loss of power to the rear wheel. oil should be added as soon as possible or the engine will seize. the effect is the same as a locked rear wheel. Kick it away. then speed up. Grip the handlebars firmly and close the throttle gradually. cattle. Do not apply the brakes. • Slippage — If the chain slips when you try to speed up quickly or ride uphill. however. braking could make the wobble worse. Pull off the road and stop. Answer . Keep control of your motorcycle and look to where you want to go. the sprockets or both before riding again.You should instead: • Grip the handlebars firmly. 10 Test yourself If your motorcycle starts to wobble: A. If the problem is a worn or stretched chain or worn or bent sprockets. Close the throttle and brake to a stop. • Move your weight as far forward • Pull off the road as soon as you can to fix the problem. As you approach it. D.) brake and prepare to stop. 11 Test yourself • Breakage — You’ll notice an If you are chased by a dog: A. Hitting something small is less dangerous to you than hitting something big like a car. B. CHAIN PROBLEMS A chain that slips or breaks while you’re riding could lock the rear wheel and cause your cycle to skid. Use the brakes gradually. Let the engine cool before restarting. • Close the throttle gradually to slow down. Check the oil.
loose sand or if you are just not sure about it. same as recommended for operators. face or mouth. practice away from traffic. • Adjust your riding technique for the added weight. • Check the roadside — Make sure the surface of the roadside is firm enough to ride on. GETTING OFF THE ROAD getting off the road If you need to leave the road to check the motorcycle (or just to rest for a while). You do not want someone else pulling off at the same place you are. If you are wearing face protection. • Protective equipment. making it difficult to see. cigarettes thrown from cars or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the vehicle ahead. not expect you to slow down. (Check your owner’s manual for appropriate settings. slow down before you turn onto it. sloped shoulders can make setting the side or center stand difficult. it might get smeared or cracked. Without face protection. off the road as you can. keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. adjust the mirror and headlight according to the change in the motorcycle’s angle. CARRYING PASSENGERS AND CARGO Only experienced riders should carry passengers or large loads. You should not sit any farther forward than you usually do. 34 • Pull off the road — Get as far carrying loads • Park carefully — Loose and . It can be very hard to spot a motorcycle by the side of the road. speeds up and slows down. be sure you: • Instruct the passenger before you start. Before taking a passenger or a heavy load on the street. The extra weight changes the way the motorcycle handles. Firm footing prevents your passenger from falling off and pulling you off too. You will probably need to add a few pounds of pressure to the tires if you carry a passenger. balances. the Adjust the suspension to handle the additional weight.FLYING OBJECTS From time to time riders are struck by insects. When safe. an object could hit you in the eye. If it is soft grass. Equipment should include: • A proper seat large enough to hold both of you without crowding. flying objects EQUIPMENT To carry passengers safely: • Equip and adjust your motorcycle to carry passengers. Check your mirror and make a head check before you take any action. Whatever happens. Give a clear signal that you will be slowing down and changing direction.) While your passenger sits on the seat with you. pull off the road and repair the damage. • Signal — Drivers behind might • Footpegs for the passenger.
hips • Keep both feet on the pegs. CARRYING LOADS Most motorcycles are not designed to carry much cargo. especially on a light motorcycle. • Keep the load forward — Place • Start slowing earlier as you approach a stop. tell your passenger to tighten his or her hold when you: • Approach surface problems. carrying pasengers • Keep the load low — Fasten • Are about to start from a stop. It can also cause a wobble. • Sit as far forward as possible without crowding you. • Distribute the load evenly — • Open up a larger cushion of enter or merge in traffic. muffler(s). 12 Test yourself • Hold firmly to your waist. corners or bumps. stop quickly. Lean as you lean. but keep your eyes on the road ahead. or belt. C. Mounting loads behind the rear axle can affect how the motorcycle turns and brakes. Sit as far back as possible. Small loads can be carried safely if positioned and fastened properly. Make sure the tankbag does not interfere with handlebars or controls. • Ride slower. loads securely or put them in saddlebags. the longer it will take to slow down and speed up. Tankbags keep loads forward. B. Warn your passenger of special conditions when you will pull out. The heavier your passenger. Piling loads against a sissybar or frame on the back of the seat raises the motorcycle’s center of gravity and disturbs its balance. even when stopped. RIDING WITH PASSENGERS Your motorcycle will respond more slowly with a passenger on board. space ahead and to the sides. 35 . • Stay directly behind you. Never hold onto you. the load over. provide complete instructions before you start. the rear axle. turn sharply or ride over a bump. D. • Wait for larger gaps to cross. Passengers should: A. leaning • Avoid unnecessary talk or Also. Answer . Turn your head slightly to make yourself understood. Tell your passenger to: • Get on the motorcycle only after you have started the engine. An uneven load can cause the motorcycle to drift to one side. Hold on to the motorcycle seat. or in front of. but use caution when loading hard or sharp objects.INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS Even if your passenger is a motorcycle rider. motion. Load saddlebags with about the same weight. • Warn that you will make a sudden move.page 46 • Keep legs away from the as you lean. especially when taking curves. chains or moving parts.
divide it into two or more smaller groups. everyone should slow to stay with the tailender. causing it to lock up and skid. Keep the Group Small Small groups make it easier and safer for car drivers who need to get around them. Elastic cords with more than one attachment point per side are more secure. tailender set the pace. wait until you are both stopped.• Secure the load — Fasten the load securely with bungee cords or nets. Use your mirrors to keep an eye on the person behind. 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. However. A small number is not separated as easily by traffic or red lights. permitting the load to shift or fall. Riders will not always be hurrying to “catch up. it must be done properly. Start lane changes early to permit others to follow. Rope tends to stretch and knots come loose. A tight load will not catch in the wheel or chain. Plan frequent stops on long rides. • Don’t pair up — Never operate group riding directly alongside another rider.” If your group is larger than four or five riders. • Staggered formation — This is STAGGERED FORMATION • Put beginners up front — Place inexperienced riders just behind the leader. GROUP RIDING If you ride with others. If a rider falls behind. To talk. 36 • Follow those behind — Let the . There is no place to go if you have to avoid a car or something on the road. • Check the load — Stop and check the load every so often to make sure it has not worked loose. the best way to keep ranks close yet maintain an adequate space cushion. is easier to see and is less likely to be separated. That way the more experienced riders can watch them from the back. A close group takes up less space on the highway. do it in a way that promotes safety and does not interfere with the flow of traffic. Keep the Group Together • Plan — The leader should look ahead for changes and signal early so “word gets back” in plenty of time. • 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.
Some people suggest that the leader should move to the right side after passing a vehicle. 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. two seconds behind the first rider. C. 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. A third rider maintains in the left position. This formation keeps the group close and permits each rider a safe distance from others ahead. entering or leaving a highway. Answer . inexperienced riders should postion themselves: A. 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 should return to the left position and continue riding at passing speed to open room for the next rider.page 46 GROUP PASSING STAGE 1 GROUP PASSING STAGE 2 37 . First. After passing. B. After the first rider passes safely.The leader rides in the left side of the lane. In front of the group. • Single-file formation — It is best to move into a single-file formation when riding curves. behind and to the sides. The fourth rider would keep a two-second distance behind the second rider. 13 Test yourself When riding in a group. D. turning. this rider should return to the right position and open up room for the next rider. Beside the leader. After passing. Just behind the leader. At the tail end of the group. • Passing in formation — Riders in a staggered formation should pass one at a time. This is not a good idea. the lead rider should pull out and pass when it is safe.
however. Take positive steps to protect yourself and prevent others from injuring themselves. 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. We also know that the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone. 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. Motorcyclists. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. In the past. But we do know what effects various drugs have on the process involved in riding a motorcycle. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes. Many over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of riding.000 seriously injured in this same type of crash. more than any other factor. decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems enough to impair riding skills. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. Studies show that 4045 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. These statistics are too overwhelming to ignore. Annually. Drinking and drug use is as big a problem among motorcyclists as it is among automobile drivers. particularly fatal crashes. are more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash. drug levels have been harder to distinguish or have not been separated from drinking violations for the traffic records. identifying potential hazards. making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. 2. but alcohol or drugs make them less able to think clearly and perform physical tasks skillfully. 38 By becoming knowledgeable about the effects of alcohol and other drugs you will see that riding and substance abuse do not mix. But riding “under the influence” of either alcohol or drugs poses physical and legal hazards for every rider.100 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. Friends may brag about their ability to hold their liquor or perform better on drugs. . Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and operating the motorcycle.BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE being in shape to ride Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. Alcohol and other drugs. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration above the limit.
But the full effects of these are not completely known. alcohol can be eliminated in the body at the rate of almost one drink per hour. it does not need to be digested. physical condition and food intake are just a few that may cause your BAC level to be even higher. Other factors also contribute to the way alcohol affects your system. The more alcohol in your blood. the greater the degree of impairment. But a variety of other factors may also influence the level of alcohol retained. at least one drink remains in your bloodstream. Your sex. • How fast you drink. Unlike most foods and beverages. it reaches the brain and begins to affect the drinker. Beer One Shot Hard Liquor 5 oz. Generally. 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. Three factors play a major part in determining BAC: blood-alCohol concentration The faster you drink. Abilities and judgment can be affected by that one drink. A 12-ounce can of beer. The major effect alcohol has is to slow down and impair bodily functions — both mental and physical. at the end of that hour. Whatever you do. you do less well after consuming alcohol. # hours Total drinks drinks LESS since last EQUALS left drink consumed in body = ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION 12 oz. BLOOD-ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in relation to blood in the body.ALCOHOL IN THE BODY Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. Within minutes after being consumed. Wine 39 . the more alcohol accumulates in your body. Alcohol may still accumulate in your body even if you are drinking at a rate of one drink per hour. and • Your body weight. If you drink two drinks in one hour. Without taking into account any of the other factors.
your resistance becomes weaker. you must control your riding. • 7 drinks in 3 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system. It is illegal to drive if your BAC is .08 or greater. • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees. These penalties are mandatory. you may not realize to what extent your skills have suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing effects. CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION Years ago. Arrange another way to get home. Your ability to exercise good judgment is one of the first things affected by alcohol.” DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE Don’t Drink — Once you start. penalties on drinking operators. Because of individual differences it is better not to risk that your abilities have not been affected. • Community service — Performing tasks such as picking up litter along the highway. the laws of most states impose stiff 40 . However.08 percent and your driving ability is impaired. public transportation costs (while your license is suspended) and the psychological costs of being tagged a “drunk driver. Even if you try to drink in moderation.alcohol and the law A person drinking: • 8 drinks in 4 hours would have at least 4 drinks remaining in their system. There are times when a larger person may not accumulate a high concentration of alcohol for each drink consumed. Impairment of judgment begins well below the legal limit. drugs and fatigue. meaning judges must impose them. • Fines — Severe fines also come with conviction. arrest or refusal to submit to a breath test. Leave the motorcycle so you will not be tempted to ride. washing cars in the motor-vehicle pool or working at an emergency ward. Setting a limit or pacing yourself are poor alternatives. minimize risks ALCOHOL AND THE LAW Riding a motorcycle is far more demanding than driving a car. Today. a person with a BAC of . If you are convicted of riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.08 is considered intoxicated. first offenders had a good chance of getting off with a small fine and participation in alcohol-abuse classes. They have more blood and other bodily fluids. Don’t Ride — If you have not controlled your drinking. lost work time spent in court or alcohol-education programs. Or. usually levied with a license suspension. In Illinois. you may receive any of these penalties: • Driver’s license suspension — Mandatory suspension for conviction. Whether or not you are legally intoxicated is not the real issue. You must be in good physical and mental shape to ride safely. you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than . Three things that can keep cyclists from being in shape to ride safely are alcohol.
But the alternatives are often worse. • Slow the pace of drinking — • Keep them there — Use any Involve them in other activities. The more people on your side. On a long trip. No one wants to do this.. embarrassing and thankless. enced riders seldom try to ride more than six hours a day.PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS People who have had too much to drink are unable to make a responsible decision. B. There are several ways to keep friends from hurting themselves: FATIGUE Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than driving a car. Explain your concerns for their risks of getting arrested or hurt or hurting someone else.. • 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. Side effects from the drinking may still remain. the easier it is to be firm and the harder it is for the rider to resist. C. Answer . Your riding skills will not be affected. A windshield is worth its cost if you plan to ride long distances. You will be okay as long as you ride slowly.page 46 41 . you will never have to say. peer pressure from a group of friends to intervene. fatigue • Protect yourself from the elements — Wind. You are rarely thanked for your efforts at the time. excuse to keep them from getting on their motorcycle. you will tire sooner than you would in a car. While you may not be thanked at the time. cold and rain make you tire quickly. Serve them food and coffee to pass the time. “If only I had. Fatigue can affect your control of the motorcycle. Stop and get off the motorcycle at least every two hours. You cannot be arrested for drinking and riding. Riders are unable to concentrate on the task at hand. • Get friends involved — Use It helps to enlist support from others when you decide to step in. Artificial stimulants often result in extreme fatigue or depression when they start to wear off. it is uncomfortable.” 14 Test yourself If you wait an hour for each drink before riding: A. Dress warmly. It is up to others to step in and keep them from taking too great a risk. D. Avoid riding when tired.
For information about a Rider Education Course in your area. Exercises 4 and 5 test the rider's ability to balance and control the . EXERCISES 4 AND 5 (Diagram 2): From the starting point. in addition to proper identification. The turn must be made within 20 feet if your cycle is 500 cc or less and 24 feet if over 500 cc. 1. Continue weaving past the dots without touching the dots or putting your foot down. ride up the course. The engine size determines the class of license needed to legally operate the vehicle. Continue around the far side of the course. 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. making a sharp left turn through the lines without touching the lines or putting your foot down.EARNING YOUR LICENSE Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. please call one of the toll-free numbers on the back inside cover of this manual. Lines are painted within this area to delineate seven exercises. Ride to the far side of the course and make a right U-turn in the U-turn box. 42 EXERCISES 1 THROUGH 3 (Diagram 1): From the starting point. 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. 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. 1993. you must pass both the knowledge test and skills test covering information in this manual. These exercises test the rider’s ability to start smooth. To pass you will have to study this manual thoroughly and practice the skills and techniques discussed. EXERCISES Earning your license The Illinois Secretary of State's office administers the Alternate Motorcycle Operator Skills Test (ALMOST). negotiate a sharp left turn and come to a smooth stop in a designated area. An equipment check is conducted prior to the examination. Applicants for a Class L or Class M license are required to pass this examination. weave to the left of the first dot and right of the second. non-skidding stop with your front tire inside the box. making a smooth. To earn your license.
Illinois requires the maneuvers be performed as designed. bring your cycle to a stop as safely and quickly as possible. swerve to the right or left to avoid the red obstacle line and then cut back in without crossing or touching the red sidelines. evaluates the rider's ability to avoid obstacles by swerving right or left. a J-11 restriction (threewheeled motorcycle only) will be added until completion of a twowheeled test. To receive a motorcycle license with full privileges. EXERCISE 6 (Diagram 3): From the starting point. If you test on a three-wheeled vehicle. Those vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled motorcycle. EXERCISE 7 (Diagram 4): From the starting point.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. ride through the "timing chute" at approximately 15 mph When your front tire reaches the end of the chute. (At 15 mph you should stop in at least 13 feet. The Six Dot Test will be administered to all sidecar and three wheel applicants. This DIAGRAM 1 DIAGRAM 2 43 . Skills tests are not designed for three-wheeled vehicles.) This tests the rider's ability to bring the cycle to a sudden stop.
turn and swerve quickly. Examiners may score on factors related to safety such as: • Selecting safe speeds to perform maneuvers.e. • Make critical decisions and carry them out. • The applicant obtains enough points (11 or more) to constitute a failure. uses excessively high speed. • Choosing the correct path and staying within boundaries. brake and turn safely. • Completing normal and quick stops. looses control. • The applicant commits an unsafe act (i.. 44 . etc. • Adjust speed and position to the traffic situation. • Testing time exceeds a reasonable time limit.). You may be tested for your ability to: • Know your motorcycle and your riding limits. raises the front wheel off the ground. • Completing normal and quick turns or swerves.DIAGRAM 3 DIAGRAM 4 TERMINATION The test will be terminated if: • The applicant falls or drops the cycle at any time. • Accelerate. be seen and communicate with others. • Stop. • See. SKILLS TEST SKILLS TEST Basic vehicle control and crash-avoidance skills are included to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations.
visible for 500 feet. Modification of an exhaust system for the purpose of increasing the noise level is prohibited by law. with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. Footrests — No passengers may be carried except in a sidecar or enclosed cab. is required. Seat — Drivers are prohibited from carrying passengers unless the vehicle has been designed to carry two people. It must be lighted whenever the motorcycle is being operated on streets or highways. Muffler — A muffler that is in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise is required. a rider who wears a properly fitted helmet greatly reduces the chance of receiving a fatal head injury in an accident. Motor-driven cycles must have either a hand-operated or footoperated brake on at least one wheel — preferably the rear wheel. is required. goggles or a transparent windshield. Everyone riding a motorcycle must sit astride the seat. Eye protection — Both driver and passenger must be protected by glasses. actuated by the brake and visible for 500 feet. Taillight — One red light. face forward. with a separate means of application for each wheel or two separate means of application on the rear wheel. Rearview mirror — A rearview mirror that reflects a view of at least 200 feet is required. Stoplight — One red light. unless the vehicle is equipped for passengers with footrests adjusted to fit the passenger. regardless of the vehicle's traveling speed. 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. License plate light — One white license plate light is required. It must be lighted whenever the headlight is on and must make the license plate visible at least 50 feet away. 45 Headlights — At least one white light. However. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT . visible for 500 feet. Horn — A horn that can be heard for 200 feet is required. is required. A device to modulate the high beam of the head lamp may be used except when lighted lamps are required for all vehicles. Helmet — A helmet is not required equipment under Illinois law.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.
About three-quarters. B. 6-C. C. It is best to: A. 11-D. Reduce speed and be ready to react. Press the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. 3. B. Make eye contact with the driver. 5-B.The FRONT brake supplies how much of the potential stopping power? A. 2. 2-C. All the stopping power.The car in the illustration at right is waiting to enter the intersection. 4-B Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages) 1-C. 4-A. D. Press the handlegrip in the opposite direction of the turn. 4. 12-A. There is a stop sign ahead. C. 3-D. 14-C 46 . Maintain speed and move right. About one-quarter. Turn the handlebars quickly. B. 9-C. C. 13-A. C. Shift your weight quickly. 10-C. D. Someone is following too closely.To swerve correctly: A. 2-D. Maintain speed and position.It is MOST important to flash your brake light when: A. D. Your signals are not working. You will be slowing suddenly. D. B. About one-half.KNOWLEDGE TEST (Sample Questions) Knowledge test ANSWERS 1. Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances. 7-D 8-D. 3-C. _____________________________________ Answers to above Knowledge Test: 1-B.
edu/~cycle For course starting dates.uiuc.siu.edu/mcycle B Illinois State University Motorcycle Safety Education Health Science Department Normal. Mail Code 678 Champaign.ilstu. IL 62901-6731 (800) 642-9589 (618) 453-2877 www.MOTORCYCLE RIDER SAFETY TRAINING PROGRAM REGIONAL CENTERS A Northern Illinois University Motorcycle Safety Project Division of Continuing Education DeKalb. Disclaimer: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White thanks the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for the content in this manual. of Community Health #4 Gerty Dr.niu.edu D Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Motorcycle Rider Program Center for Injury Control and Work Site Health Promotion Carbondale. times and locations.online. 45 . IL 61790-5221 (800) 322-7619 (309) 438-2352 www.edu/depts/mcsafety/ C University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program Dept. IL 60115-2854 (800) 892-9607 (815) 753-1683 www. IL 61820 (800) 252-3348 (217) 333-7856 www.mrc. please contact your Regional Center.
660M DSD X-140. contact your local Secretary of State Driver Services facility or call: (800) 252-8980 Printed by authority of the State of Illinois 738 August 2002 .For more information about motorcycle licensing or the examination.5 GA 710 .
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