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

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPERATING MOTORCYCLES IN ILLINOIS
Classification............................... 4
Rental and Out-of-State Drivers...... 5 MOPED Operators......................... 5 License Plates................................. 5 Motorcycle Traffic Laws.................. 5

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

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
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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.

INSTRUCTION PERMITS
MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE
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.

MOTORCYCLE
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
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Classification

LICENSE PLATES All motorcycles and motor-driven cycles must have a license plate when operated on streets or highways. 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. They can be pedaled like a bicycle or driven like a motorcycle. Out-ofstate drivers can drive for the period during which they are in Illinois. signals and traffic laws.enrollment in an IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course. 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. 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. 5 . along with applications for transfer and title. MOPED OPERATORS Motorized pedalcycles. therefore. are low-speed. Different license plate series are assigned to motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. If you trade from one classification to another (less than 150cc or 150cc and over). In addition. it is important to show the correct piston displacement on your license plate registration application. signs and signals in the same way as automobile drivers. 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. providing they have a valid driver’s license for motorcycle operation from their home state or country. often called mopeds. two-wheeled vehicles. Moped drivers must carry a valid driver’s license and obey all signs. Mopeds are intended for limited use on public roadways. Any person who operates on one wheel is guilty of reckless driving. MOTORCYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS Motorcycle drivers must obey traffic laws.

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

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

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

get familiar with it in a controlled area.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. GET FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROLS Make sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycle before you take it out on the street. Be sure to review the owner’s manual. headlight switch. make sure they are licensed and know how to ride before allowing them out into traffic. 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 . More than half of all crashes occur on motorcycles ridden by the operator with less than six months of experience. Crashes are fairly common among beginning riders especially in the first months of riding. fuel-control valve and engine cut-off switch. ride extra carefully on any motorcycle that is new or unfamiliar to you. horn. Riding an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the problem. This is particularly important if you are riding a borrowed motorcycle. If you borrow a motorcycle. • Find out where everything is. particularly the turn signals. And if you lend your motorcycle to friends. No matter how experienced you may be. Find and operate these items without having to look for them.

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

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

• Knees — Keep your knees against the gas tank to help you keep your balance as the motorcycle turns. BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL BODY POSITION To control a motorcycle well: • Posture — Sit so you can use your arms to steer the motorcycle rather than to hold yourself up. Start with your right wrist flat. Also. SHIFTING GEARS There is more to shifting gears than simply getting the motorcycle to pick up speed smoothly. 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. Learning to use the gears when downshifting. adjust the handle bars so your hands are even with or below your elbows. Don't drag your feet. speed or balance. your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlegrips. • 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. on the footpegs to maintain balance. That is something you can learn only through practice. Remain in first gear while you are stopped so you can move out quickly if you need to. turning or starting on hills is important for safe motorcycle operation. Keep your feet near the controls so you can get to them fast if needed. But control begins with knowing your abilities and riding within them. Also. This will help you keep from accidentally using too much throttle. along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road. Shift down through the gears with the clutch as you slow or stop.RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES This manual cannot teach you how to control direction. you could be injured and it could affect your control of the motorcycle. HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS Shifting Gears RIGHT WRONG 12 . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

are more likely to be killed or severely injured in a crash. making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and skillfully. 2.100 motorcyclists are killed and about 50. identifying potential hazards. Injuries occur in 90 percent of motorcycle crashes and 33 percent of automobile crashes that involve drinking or drugs. Annually. Many over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs have side effects that increase the risk of riding. drug levels have been harder to distinguish or have not been separated from drinking violations for the traffic records. In the past. But riding “under the influence” of either alcohol or drugs poses physical and legal hazards for every rider. Judgment and the decision-making processes needed for vehicle operation are affected long before the legal limit is reached. . Studies show that 4045 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking.BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE being in shape to ride Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. decrease your ability to think clearly and ride safely. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance. Drinking and drug use is as big a problem among motorcyclists as it is among automobile drivers. alcohol and drugs ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE OPERATION No one is immune to the effects of alcohol or drugs. It is difficult to accurately measure the involvement of particular drugs in motorcycle crashes. We also know that the combined effects of alcohol and other drugs are more dangerous than either is alone. Motorcyclists. however. Take positive steps to protect yourself and prevent others from injuring themselves. 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.000 seriously injured in this same type of crash. particularly fatal crashes. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. Only one-third of those riders had a blood-alcohol concentration above the limit. more than any other factor. Skilled riders pay attention to the riding environment and operating the motorcycle. But we do know what effects various drugs have on the process involved in riding a motorcycle. These statistics are too overwhelming to ignore. Alcohol and other drugs. Friends may brag about their ability to hold their liquor or perform better on drugs. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems enough to impair riding skills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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