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					Michigan




Terri Lynn Land, Secretary of State
www.Michigan.gov/sos
                                                                                        C




Dear Michigan Motorcyclist:

        Michigan’s beautiful and varied landscapes provide motorcyclists with
many opportunities for enjoyable riding. With nearly 500,000 properly endorsed
riders, the Department of State is committed to promoting training, the use of
suitable riding gear and licensing as the best means for keeping everyone safe on
the road. I know you’ll find this latest edition of the “Michigan Motorcycle
Operator Manual” helpful when preparing to obtain your endorsement or as a
refresher of the skills, techniques and basic traffic laws pertaining to safe riding.

       Rider safety and education remain hallmarks of the Department of State
Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program. Under the program’s coach preparation
classes, up to 50 new coaches are trained annually to assist state-approved sites
in meeting the growing demand for rider education. Other efforts benefiting
motorcyclists include expanding rider-training enrollment opportunities and
obtaining additional motorcycles used for training.

      Motorcycling is gaining in popularity as is evident by the increasing
numbers of registered motorcycles and properly endorsed riders. I encourage
everyone to share the road and obey all traffic laws when driving. As a
motorcyclist, the smartest action you can take to keep yourself safe is to be
prepared, obtain an endorsement if you don’t have one, ride defensively and
never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Respect the ride and enjoy!

                                          Sincerely,



                                          Terri Lynn Land
                                          Secretary of State
    CONTENTS

    MICHIGAN’S DRIVER TESTING PROGRAM                                               PREPARING
     Testing Improprieties .........................1                                TO RIDE
     Under the Michigan Vehicle Code ....1                         WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR .....................9
    BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS                                           Helmet Use .........................................9
                                                                    Helmet Selection .................................9
    FOR THIRD-PARTY TESTING                                         Eye and Face Protection ...................10
    ORGANIZATIONS .....................................2            Clothing .............................................11
    REPORTING IMPROPER, ILLEGAL OR                                 KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE .............11
                                                                    The Right Motorcycle for You .........11
    FRAUDULENT TEST ACTIVITIES .............2                       Borrowing and Lending ....................12
    OPERATING YOUR MOTORCYCLE                                       Get Familiar with the
                                                                     Motorcycle Controls ......................12
    IN MICHIGAN .........................................2          Check Your Motorcycle ....................13
    THE DEFINITION OF A MOTORCYCLE .....2                          KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES .......14
d   REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS ..............3                                   RIDE WITHIN
                                                                               YOUR ABILITIES
n   RENEWING YOUR MOTORCYCLE
                                                                   BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL ................15
    REGISTRATION ........................................3           Body Position ...................................15
    OBTAINING A MOTORCYCLE                                           Shifting Gears ...................................15
.                                                                    Braking .............................................16
    ENDORSEMENT                                                      Turning .............................................16
      Teens ...................................................3
                                                                   KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE ................17
      Adults..................................................3      Lane Positions ...................................17
    THE MOTORCYCLE TEMPORARY                                         Following Another Vehicle ...............18
                                                                     Being Followed .................................19
    INSTRUCTION PERMIT (TIP)...................4                     Passing and Being Passed .................19
    MOTORCYCLE SKILLS TEST ...................4                      Lane Sharing .....................................21
                                                                     Merging Cars ....................................21
    LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND SAFETY                                    Cars Alongside ..................................21
    GUIDELINES FOR OPERATING A                                     SEE ......................................................22
    MOTORCYCLE .........................................5          INTERSECTIONS ..................................23
                                                                     Blind Intersections ............................24
    BE EXTRA CAREFUL OF ..........................6                  Passing Parked Cars .........................25
                                                                     Parking at the Roadside ....................25
    DRINKING AND DRIVING IN MICHIGAN...7
                                                                   INCREASING CONSPICUITY ................26
!   GENERAL DRIVER’S LICENSE RENEWAL                                 Clothing ............................................26
    INFORMATION ..........................................7          Headlight ..........................................26
                                                                     Signals ..............................................26
    PROVIDING A SOCIAL                                               Brake Light ........................................27
    SECURITY NUMBER .................................7               Using Your Mirrors ...........................27
                                                                     Head Checks .....................................28
    RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE ....8                             Horn ..................................................28
                                                                     Riding at Night .................................29
    RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’S
                                                                   CRASH AVOIDANCE ............................29
    LICENSE BY MAIL ...................................8
                                                                    Quick Stops .......................................29
    CHANGE OF ADDRESS..............................8                Swerving or Turning Quickly ...........30
                                                                    Cornering ..........................................31
    OFFICE HOURS ........................................8
CONTENTS
HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES ..32
 Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles .......32
 Slippery Surfaces ..............................33
 Railroad Tracks, Trolley Tracks
   and Pavement Seams ....................34
 Grooves and Gratings .......................34
MECHANICAL PROBLEMS ..................35
 Tire Failure .......................................35
 Stuck Throttle ...................................35
 Wobble ..............................................35
 Chain Problems ................................36
 Engine Seizure ..................................36
ANIMALS .............................................36
FLYING OBJECTS ................................37
GETTING OFF THE ROAD ..................37
CARRYING PASSENGERS
 AND CARGO .....................................37
 Equipment .........................................37
 Instructing Passengers ......................38
 Riding With Passengers ....................38
 Carrying Loads .................................38
GROUP RIDING ...................................39
 Keep the Group Small ......................39
 Keep the Group Together .................39
 Keep Your Distance ..........................39

           BEING IN SHAPE
              TO RIDE
WHY THIS INFORMATION IS
 IMPORTANT ......................................41
ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN
MOTORCYCLE OPERATION ...............41
ALCOHOL IN THE BODY .....................41
 Blood Alcohol
   Concentration .................................42
ALCOHOL AND THE LAW ...................43
 Consequences of
   Conviction ......................................43
MINIMIZE THE RISKS .........................43
 Don’t Drink .......................................43
STEP IN TO PROTECT FRIENDS .........44
FATIGUE ..............................................44
               EARNING
             YOUR LICENSE
  Knowledge Test ................................45
  On-Motorcycle Skill Test ..................46
MICHIGAN’S DRIVER                           knowingly encourages, facilitates
                                            or participates in improper, illegal
TESTING PROGRAM                             or fraudulent driver testing is also
     State and federal laws mandate         subject to criminal prosecution.
driver testing for residents wishing to   • Any person found to have been
obtain a license or endorsement to          improperly, illegally or fraudulently
drive an automobile, a commercial           tested must take the appropriate
vehicle or a motorcycle. The                tests again. The fee for retesting
Department of State administers the         may be charged to the applicant.
written driver knowledge tests at its     • Improper, fraudulent or unlawful
branch offices. Driving skills tests        driver’s license tests result in
are provided only through a third-          illegal license applications.
party testing program. This program
uses a statewide network of
authorized public and private             UNDER THE MICHIGAN
organizations to conduct driving          VEHICLE CODE (PUBLIC ACT
skills tests. The Department of State     300 OF 1949), IT IS A FELONY:
is committed to assuring that the         • To make a false certification
procedures for testing drivers are          regarding any driver’s license
administered in a fair and reliable         application.
manner by qualified examiners.            • To bribe or attempt to corrupt a
     Names and phone numbers of             person or agency that conducts a
third-party testing organizations are       driving test with the intent to
available from the Department of            influence the opinion or decision
State Web site at                           of the tester.
www.Michigan.gov/sos or any               • For an examining officer who
Secretary of State office.                  conducts a driving test under an
                                            agreement entered into with the
TESTING IMPROPRIETIES                       Department of State to vary from,
Michigan law mandates that:                 shorten or in any other way change
                                            the method or examination criteria
• Any third-party testing organization      prescribed under that agreement.
  or examiner who intentionally
  misrepresents a driving skills test     • For a person to forge, counterfeit
  by omitting any testing requirement       or alter a driving test certification
  or procedure, or participates in any      issued by a designated examining
  illegal activity related to driver        officer.
  licensing, is subject to severe         A felony committed under these laws
  penalties. Those include loss of the    is punishable by one to five years in
  testing authorization, criminal         prison and a maximum $5,000 fine
  prosecution and restitution for         for the first offense. Subsequent
  monetary damages to the test            convictions result in additional
  applicant, the department or both.      penalties.
• Any person, including the
  examiner or applicant, who


                                                                                1
BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS FOR                   Department of State. Please be sure
THIRD-PARTY TESTING                         to include the names of the people
ORGANIZATIONS                               and organizations involved, the date
      Third-party testing organizations     of the incident and a detailed
must adhere to certain business             description of the activities observed
practices and administer driving            or discussed. All legitimate reports
skills tests according to established       will be investigated. A written
standards and procedures contained          statement may be required. This
in a formal, legal agreement with the       information should be submitted to
department. Among many contract             the:
requirements, third-party testing              Michigan Department of State
organizations must:                               Driver Programs Division
• Be approved by the department                  Richard H. Austin Building
   before testing services are offered.           430 W. Allegan, 3rd Floor
• Maintain an established place of                   Lansing, MI 48918
   business and obtain written                      Phone (517) 241-6850
   permission to use all approved test                Fax (517) 373-0964
   sites.                                    ThirdPartyTesting@Michigan.gov
• Respond to all driver-testing
   service inquiries by the next            OPERATING YOUR
   business day.                            MOTORCYCLE IN MICHIGAN
• Publish a printed fee and refund               Before traveling, make sure you
   policy and provide receipts. Test        are aware of any state laws that affect
   fees are set by the third-party          the operation of a motorcycle.
   testing organization and are not         Michigan has several laws concerning
   regulated by law.                        registration, motorcycle endorsements
• Maintain a surety bond.                   and safe riding equipment – as well
• Ensure examiners attend and pass          as traffic laws – that motorcyclists are
   all required training and obtain         required to obey.
   department authorization before
   administering tests.                     THE DEFINITION OF A
                                            MOTORCYCLE
REPORTING IMPROPER,                              A motorcycle is a two- or three-
ILLEGAL OR FRAUDULENT                       wheeled motor vehicle with a saddle
TEST ACTIVITIES                             or seat that produces more than 2.0
     If you are aware of any improper,      brake horsepower and can attain
illegal or fraudulent testing activities,   speeds greater than 30 mph on a
report them immediately to the              level surface. Some vehicles, such as




2
“pocket rockets” or “mini                 OBTAINING A MOTORCYCLE
choppers,” may meet this definition,      ENDORSEMENT
but do not have all of the equipment
                                               To operate a motorcycle on
required by Michigan law to legally
                                          public roads, you must possess a valid
drive them on public roads and will
                                          Michigan driver’s license with a
not be registered by the Department
                                          motorcycle endorsement. The cost of
of State.
                                          the motorcycle endorsement is added
                                          to the regular driver’s license fee.
REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
                                                To obtain a motorcycle
     Under Michigan law, motorcycle       endorsement, you will need to pass a
registrations are issued for one year     vision screening and a written
and expire on the owner’s birthday.       knowledge test as well as a motorcycle
You must register your motorcycle at      safety course or a motorcycle skills
a Secretary of State office if you plan   test. The requirements for obtaining a
to operate it on public roads. When       motorcycle endorsement differ for
registering, you will need to provide:    teens and adults.
• Proof of insurance for at least
   $20,000/$40,000 public liability       TEENS
   and $10,000 property damage
                                              To apply for a motorcycle
   coverage.
                                          endorsement, teens must be at least
• For an original registration, your      16 and:
   motorcycle title. For a renewal
                                          • Possess a valid Level 2 or Level 3
   registration, your renewal notice
                                            Graduated Driver License.
   or last year’s registration.
                                          • Successfully complete an approved
                                            motorcycle safety course.
RENEWING YOUR
                                          • Pass the written knowledge test
MOTORCYCLE REGISTRATION
                                            administered at a Secretary of
     You can skip the trip to a             State office.
branch office by renewing your
motorcycle registration online at the     ADULTS
Department of State’s Web site at
www.Michigan.gov/sos. Payment                 To apply for a motorcycle
is by credit card. Registrations may      endorsement, adults 18 or older must:
also be renewed by touch-tone             • Possess a valid driver’s license.
telephone and mail or in person at a      • Pass the written knowledge test
branch office. Your license plate           administered at a Secretary of
tabs will arrive within seven days.         State office.
For more information, please refer        • Pass the motorcycle skills test
to your renewal notice, visit the           given by a third-party testing
department’s Web site or contact a          organization approved by the
Secretary of State office.                  Department of State OR pass a
                                            motorcycle safety course approved
                                            by the Department of State.


                                                                               3
     • If you have a valid motorcycle      completion of an approved
       license or endorsement from         motorcycle safety course. Riders
       another state, the requirement to   who want to extend a motorcycle
       pass a motorcycle skills test or    TIP beyond 180 days must make a
       motorcycle safety course may        new application.
       be waived.
    • Adults 18 or older are required      MOTORCYCLE SKILLS TEST
       to take a motorcycle safety
       course if they fail the                  The motorcycle skills test
       motorcycle skills test twice.       should include all the components as
                                           described in this manual. Provided
     Contact your local Secretary of       below are the required skills test
State office or visit the department’s     elements and approximate times for
Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos           the test. The allotted times are
for more information and the               estimated minimums.
motorcycle safety course nearest you.
                                           Motorcycle Skills Test
THE MOTORCYCLE                             • Vehicle inspection – 5 minutes,
                                             not scored.
TEMPORARY INSTRUCTION
PERMIT                                     • Basic control skills on range – 10
                                             minutes, scored.
     The Department of State issues              During the motorcycle skills
the motorcycle Temporary                   test, certified examiners must
Instruction Permit (TIP). A                always:
motorcycle TIP allows applicants to
practice riding on public roads under      • Read standard instructions to each
the constant visual supervision of a         applicant for each part of the test
licensed motorcycle operator age 18          (a list of instructions is provided
or older. You may not ride at night          to the examiner for this purpose).
or carry passengers when using a           • Use only department-approved,
motorcycle TIP. Riders apply for a           off-street exercises.
TIP before taking the motorcycle               Before taking the skills test, you
skills test to give them an                must have a legally equipped and
opportunity to practice riding under       registered motorcycle. To drive a
supervision.                               motorcycle to your skills test, you
    The motorcycle TIP is valid for        must have a valid motorcycle TIP
180 days from the issue date. To           and be under the constant visual
apply, you must have a valid               supervision of a licensed motorcycle
operator’s or chauffeur’s license,         operator at least age 18.
pass a written test, and pay the                 The motorcycle skills test
endorsement fee. Teens ages 16-17          approved by the Department of State
must have a valid Level 2 or Level 3       has seven exercises that gauge your
Graduated Driver License and               ability to handle a motorcycle,
present proof of enrollment in or          including starting, accelerating, turning
                                           and braking.


4
• Engine stall: This is scored          LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND
  during the entire test. Points are    SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR
  assessed each time you stall the      OPERATING A MOTORCYCLE
  engine during any exercise.                Michigan law requires the
• Sharp turn: You ride a short path     following when you operate your
  and then make a sharp left turn at    motorcycle:
  low speed while staying inside a      • Wear a properly fastened safety
  5-foot path.                            helmet on your head. It must meet
• Normal stop: You must make a            U.S. Department of Transportation
  smooth stop without skidding,           standards and be properly labeled.
  with the front tire of your             Passengers must also wear a
  motorcycle in a painted box.            properly fastened and approved
• Cone weave: You must weave              safety helmet.
  through a series of five cones that   • Use shatterproof goggles, a face
  are placed 15 feet apart with a 3-      shield or windshield to protect
  foot offset.                            your eyes when riding at speeds of
• U-Turn: You must make a right           35 mph or more. Eye protection is
  U-turn in a marked area. Those          recommended when riding at any
  operating motorcycles over 500 cc       speed.
  are allowed more room to complete     • Sit on a regular, permanently
  the U-turn. Motorcycles of 500 cc       attached seat.
  or less have a smaller U-turn area.   • Never carry any package, bundle
• Quick stop: You accelerate along        or article that prevents you from
  a straight path. At the end of the      keeping both hands on the
  path (marked by cones), you must        handlebars of the vehicle.
  stop your motorcycle as quickly       • Never let anyone without a valid
  and safely as possible.                 driver’s license and motorcycle
• Obstacle swerve: You accelerate         endorsement operate your
  along a straight path. At the end       motorcycle.
  of the path (marked by cones), you    • Never attach your motorcycle to
  must swerve to avoid an obstacle        another vehicle for a “tow.”
  line and then swerve to avoid the
                                        • Never operate a motorcycle on
  sidelines of the exercise.
                                          sidewalks, more than two side-by-
After you have successfully passed        side on a public road, between
the motorcycle skills test, you will      lanes of traffic, between traffic
be given a certificate that must be       and the curb or on a bicycle path.
presented at a Secretary of State
                                             Keep the following points in
office when you apply for your
                                        mind when traveling by motorcycle
motorcycle endorsement.
                                        in Michigan:
                                        • Lane use – When operating your
                                          motorcycle, you are entitled to use
                                          a full lane.



                                                                            5
• Freeways or limited access                   and hand straight out for a left
  highways – Motorcycles with                  turn; and left arm and hand bent
  engines smaller than 125 cc are              down for a slow or stop.
  not allowed on freeways or              • Passengers – Motorcycles with
  limited access highways.                  extra foot pegs and seating space
• Equipment – Your motorcycle               may be used to carry a passenger.
  must have the following                   If your motorcycle has this
  equipment, which must be in good          equipment, it does not necessarily
  condition: front- and rear-wheel          mean that a passenger can be
  brakes, headlight, taillight,             carried legally or safely. If in
  stoplight, muffler, horn, rearview        doubt, check with a motorcycle
  mirror and permanently attached           manufacturer or dealer. A
  seat.                                     motorcycle operator may never
• Handlebars – Your motorcycle              carry more than one passenger.
  handlebars must be positioned so        • Starting on a hill – Use the front
  that there are no more than 15            brake to hold the motorcycle
  inches between the lowest point of        while you start the engine and
  the (unoccupied) seat to the              shift into first gear. Change to the
  highest point of the handle grips.        foot brake to hold your vehicle
• Signaling turns – Signaling when          while you operate the throttle with
  you are turning or changing lanes         your right hand. Slowly open the
  is not only a courtesy, it’s the law.     throttle for more power and
                                            slowly release the clutch. If you
  • Before stopping or turning, see
                                            release it too quickly, the front
     if it is safe. Then, let other
                                            wheel may lift off the ground or
     drivers know of your intention
                                            the engine may stall. Ease off the
     to turn by using your turn signal
                                            foot brake as the engine slows
     or the appropriate hand and arm
                                            down and engages.
     signals.
  • Start your signal at least 100
                                          BE EXTRA CAREFUL OF:
     feet before you turn. In heavy
     traffic or on freeways, signal       • Animals crossing the road,
     sooner so drivers behind you           especially at night.
     have time to change their speed      • Ice in the winter, early spring and
     or position.                           late fall.
  • Make sure your turn signal light      • Approaching livestock being
     has stopped blinking after you         ridden, driven or led so as not to
     have turned.                           startle the person or animals.
  • Always use turn signals to alert      • Pedestrians crossing, including
     other drivers when you plan to         blind pedestrians and joggers.
     change lanes.                          You must yield the right of way.
  • The proper hand and arm               • Bicyclists who may cross roads
     signals are: left arm and hand         without warning. Be prepared to
     bent up for a right turn; left arm     stop or avoid them.


6
DRINKING AND DRIVING IN                   • Do not allow hardship appeals for
MICHIGAN                                    habitual alcohol offenders.
    It is illegal to operate a motor      • Require a $125 reinstatement fee
vehicle in Michigan:                        if your driver’s license was
• While intoxicated or impaired by          suspended, revoked or restricted.
  alcohol, illegal drugs and certain      • Require a Driver Responsibility
  prescribed medications.                   Fee of $1,000 for two consecutive
• With a bodily alcohol content of          years for driving while
  0.08 or more.                             intoxicated, and a $500 fee for
                                            two consecutive years for driving
• With the presence of a Schedule 1
                                            while impaired, with the presence
  drug or cocaine. Schedule 1 drugs
                                            of a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine,
  have no medical uses and present
                                            under the Zero Tolerance law or
  a high risk for abuse. Included in
                                            for child endangerment.
  this group are marijuana, Ecstasy,
  hallucinogens, designer
  amphetamines and heroin.                GENERAL DRIVER’S LICENSE
                                          RENEWAL INFORMATION
     Drunken drivers face swift and
tough action under Michigan’s                  Your driver’s license is valid for
drunken driving laws. The laws:           four years. The license expiration
                                          date is shown on the upper right
• Require courts to decide drunken        corner. The Department of State
  driving cases within 77 days after      sends a renewal notice about 45 days
  an arrest.                              before your license expires. Plan to
• Require a six-month driver’s            renew at least two weeks before it
  license suspension, even for a first    expires. If your renewal notice does
  conviction. Drivers may be              not arrive or is lost, do not let your
  eligible to receive a restricted        driver’s license expire. Go to a
  license after serving 30 days of        Secretary of State office and renew it.
  the suspension.
• Require five days to one year of jail   PROVIDING A SOCIAL
  time, 30 to 90 days of community        SECURITY NUMBER
  service, or both, for a second               Anyone applying for or
  conviction of drunken driving.          renewing a Michigan driver’s
• Include a felony for a conviction       license must provide a Social
  for drunken driving that causes         Security number before the
  death.                                  application can be processed. The
• Include a felony for a conviction       federal Welfare Reform Act requires
  for drunken driving that causes a       states to collect Social Security
  serious injury to another.              numbers for use in child-support
• Require fines for a conviction of       enforcement.
  driving while a driver’s license is          A person who has never been
  suspended or revoked of up to           issued a Social Security number
  $500 for a first offense and $1,000     must certify to that fact on an
  for an additional offense.              application obtained at a Secretary

                                                                                7
of State office. Individuals who               CHANGE OF ADDRESS
make a false statement on the                       Michigan law requires that your
application are subject to                     driver’s license address, which is
imprisonment for one to five years,            your place of residence, matches the
a fine of $500 to $5000, or both.              address on your voter registration
The individual’s license or permit             card. You may submit a change of
will also be suspended.                        address at any Secretary of State
                                               office or by mail. There is no fee
RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’S                         for this service. If you go to a
LICENSE                                        branch office, a change-of-address
     When you renew your driver’s              sticker will be provided for the back
license at a branch office, you will           of your license. Mail-in forms are
be required to take a vision                   available from the department’s Web
screening. A new photograph will               site at www.Michigan.gov/sos.
be taken. You may pay the renewal              Failure to notify the Department of
fee with cash, money order or                  State of a change of address may
personal check. Credit card                    result in a driver’s license
payment at the counter is offered at           suspension.
Secretary of State PLUS offices and
SUPER!Centers.*                                OFFICE HOURS
*At the time of this printing, only Discover   • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and
credit cards are accepted at PLUS offices        Friday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and SUPER!Centers.                             • Wednesdays – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
                                                 Offices in city centers are open
RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’S                           from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
LICENSE BY MAIL                                • Secretary of State PLUS offices
You may be eligible to renew your                and SUPER!Centers provide
driver’s license by mail if you:                 extended Wednesday hours from
                                                 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Renewed in person the last time.
                                               • SUPER!Centers also offer
• Do not have a commercial driver’s
                                                 Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to
  license.
                                                 noon.
• Are not listed on the sex offender
                                               • Smaller offices may close for a
  registry.
                                                 lunch hour, and all branches are
     If you have had a change in                 closed on state holidays.
your physical condition during the
past six months, you must renew in
person. You may need to submit a
physician’s statement to renew.




8
PREPARING TO RIDE
    What you do before you start a trip goes a long way toward
determining whether or not you’ll get where you want to go safely.
Before taking off on any trip, a safe rider makes a point to:
1. Wear the right gear.
2. Become familiar with the motorcycle.
3. Check the motorcycle equipment.
4. Be a responsible rider.


WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR                      • An approved helmet lets you see
    When you ride, your gear is             as far to the sides as necessary. A
“right” if it protects you. In any          study of more than 900 motorcycle
crash, you have a far better chance of      crashes, where 40% of the riders
avoiding serious injury if you wear:        wore helmets, did not find even




                                                                                  WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR
                                            one case in which a helmet kept a
• An approved helmet.                       rider from spotting danger.
• Face or eye protection.                • Most crashes happen on short
• Protective clothing.                      trips (less than five miles
                                            long), just a few minutes after
HELMET USE                                  starting out.
     Crashes can occur —                 • Most riders are riding slower
particularly among untrained,               than 30 mph when a crash
beginning riders. And one out of            occurs. At these speeds, helmets
every five motorcycle crashes results       can cut both the number and the
in head or neck injuries. Head              severity of head injuries by half.
injuries are just as severe as neck            No matter what the speed,
injuries — and far more common.          helmeted riders are three times more
Crash analyses show that head and        likely to survive head injuries than
neck injuries account for a majority     those not wearing helmets at the time
of serious and fatal injuries to         of the crash.
motorcyclists. Research also shows
that, with few exceptions, head and
neck injuries are reduced by properly
                                         HELMET SELECTION
wearing an approved helmet.                   There are two primary types of
                                         helmets, providing two different
     Some riders don’t wear helmets
                                         levels of coverage: three-quarter and
because they think helmets will limit
                                         full face.
their view to the sides. Others wear
helmets only on long trips or when            Whichever style you choose, you
riding at high speeds. Here are some     can get the most protection by
facts to consider:                       making sure that the helmet:




                                                                             9
                          HELMETS
HELMET USE




                          • Meets U.S. Department of                      Goggles protect your eyes,
                            Transportation (DOT) and state           though they won’t protect the rest of
                            standards. Helmets with a label          your face like a faceshield does. A
                            from the Snell Memorial                  windshield is not a substitute for a
EYE AND FACE PROTECTION




                            Foundation give you an added             faceshield or goggles. Most
                            assurance of quality.                    windshields will not protect your
                          • Fits snugly, all the way around.         eyes from the wind. Neither will
                                                                     eyeglasses or sunglasses. Glasses
                          • Has no obvious defects such
                                                                     won’t keep your eyes from watering,
                            as cracks, loose padding or
                                                                     and they might blow off when you
                            frayed straps.
                                                                     turn your head while riding.
                               Whatever helmet you decide
                                                                          To be effective, eye or
                          on, keep it securely fastened on your
                                                                     faceshield protection must:
                          head when you ride. Otherwise, if
                          you are involved in a crash, it’s likely   • Be free of scratches.
                          to fly off your head before it gets a      • Be resistant to penetration.
                          chance to protect you.                     • Give a clear view to either side.
                                                                     • Fasten securely, so it does not
                          EYE AND FACE PROTECTION                      blow off.
                               A plastic shatter-resistant           • Permit air to pass through, to
                          faceshield can help protect your             reduce fogging.
                          whole face in a crash. It also             • Permit enough room for
                          protects you from wind, dust, dirt,          eyeglasses or sunglasses, if
                          rain, insects and pebbles thrown up          needed.
                          from cars ahead. These problems                Tinted eye protection should
                          are distracting and can be painful.        not be worn at night or any other
                          If you have to deal with them, you         time when little light is available.
                          can’t devote your full attention to
                          the road.




                          10
CLOTHING                                  KNOW YOUR




                                                                                   CLOTHING
      The right clothing protects you     MOTORCYCLE
in a collision. It also provides              There are plenty of things on the
comfort, as well as protection from       highway that can cause you trouble.
heat, cold, debris and hot and moving     Your motorcycle should not be one of
parts of the motorcycle.                  them. To make sure that your
• Jacket and pants should cover           motorcycle won’t let you down:
   arms and legs completely. They         • Read the owner’s manual first.
   should fit snugly enough to keep       • Start with the right motorcycle for
   from flapping in the wind, yet           you.
   loosely enough to move freely.
   Leather offers the most protection.    • Be familiar with the motorcycle
   Sturdy synthetic material provides       controls.
   a lot of protection as well.           • Check the motorcycle before
   Wear a jacket even in warm               every ride.
   weather to prevent dehydration.        • Keep it in safe riding condition




                                                                                   THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE
   Many are designed to protect             between rides.
   without getting you overheated,
                                          • Avoid add-ons and modifications
   even on summer days.
                                            that make your motorcycle
• Boots or shoes should be high and         harder to handle.
   sturdy enough to cover your ankles
   and give them support. Soles
   should be made of hard, durable,
                                          THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE
   slip-resistant material. Keep heels    FOR YOU
   short so they do not catch on rough         First, make sure your motorcycle
   surfaces. Tuck in laces so they        is right for you. It should “fit” you.
   won’t catch on your motorcycle.        Your feet should reach the ground
• Gloves allow a better grip and          while you are seated on the
   help protect your hands in a crash.    motorcycle.
   Your gloves should be made of
   leather or similar durable material.
      In cold or wet weather, your
clothes should keep you warm and
dry, as well as protect you from
injury. You cannot control a
motorcycle well if you are numb.
Riding for long periods in cold
weather can cause severe chill and
fatigue. A winter jacket should resist
wind and fit snugly at the neck,
wrists and waist. Good-quality
rainsuits designed for motorcycle
riding resist tearing apart or
ballooning up at high speeds.


                                                                             11
KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE       At minimum, your street-legal              are licensed and know how to ride
                       motorcycle should have:                        before allowing them out into traffic.
                       • Headlight, taillight and                          No matter how experienced you
                         brakelight.                                  may be, ride extra carefully on any
                       • Front and rear brakes.                       motorcycle that’s new or unfamiliar
                                                                      to you. More than half of all crashes
                       • Turn signals.                                occur on motorcycles ridden by the
                       • Horn.                                        operator for less than six months.
                       • Two mirrors.
                                                                      GET FAMILIAR WITH THE
                       BORROWING AND LENDING                          MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS
                            Borrowers and lenders of                       Make sure you are completely
                       motorcycles, beware. Crashes are               familiar with the motorcycle before
                       fairly common among beginning                  you take it out on the street. Be sure
                       riders — especially in the first               to review the owner’s manual. This is
                       months of riding. Riding an                    particularly important if you are
                       unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the              riding a borrowed motorcycle.
                       problem. If you borrow a motorcycle,                If you are going to use an
                       get familiar with it in a controlled           unfamiliar motorcycle:
                       area. And if you lend your
                       motorcycle to friends, make sure they


                       MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS
                                              Light Switch (high/low)      Engine Cut-Off
                                                     Choke (varies)        Switch
                                                     Turn-Signal           Electric
                                                     Switch                Start
                                                                           Button
                                                            Ignition Key
                                                            (varies)




                             Horn Button                                                             Throttle



                             Clutch Lever                                                   Front Brake Lever
                                            Speedometer
                                            & Odometer
                                                                                    Tachometer
                                                                                    (if equipped)

                                       Fuel Supply Valve
                                       (if equipped)
                                                                                       Rear Brake Pedal
                                 Gear-Change Lever
                                                                                            Kick Starter
                                                                                            (if equipped)


                       12
• Make all the checks you would           • Brake Light — Try both brake




                                                                                        CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE
  on your own motorcycle.                    controls, and make sure each one
• Find out where everything is,              turns on the brake light.
  particularly the turn signals, horn,          Once you have mounted the
  headlight switch, fuel-supply           motorcycle, complete the following
  valve and engine cut-off switch.        checks before starting out:
  Find and operate these items            • Clutch and Throttle — Make
  without having to look for them.           sure they work smoothly. The
• Know the gear pattern. Work the            throttle should snap back when
  throttle, clutch and brakes a few          you let go. The clutch should feel
  times before you start riding. All         tight and smooth.
  controls react a little differently.    • Mirrors — Clean and adjust both
• Ride very cautiously and be                mirrors before starting. It’s
  aware of surroundings. Accelerate          difficult to ride with one hand
  gently, take turns more slowly and         while you try to adjust a mirror.
  leave extra room for stopping.             Adjust each mirror so you can see
                                             the lane behind and as much as
CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE                        possible of the lane next to you.
                                             When properly adjusted, a mirror
      A motorcycle needs more                may show the edge of your arm or
frequent attention than a car. A minor       shoulder—but it’s the road behind
technical failure in a car seldom leads      and to the side that’s most
to anything more than an                     important.
inconvenience for the driver.
                                          • Brakes — Try the front and rear
      If something’s wrong with the          brake levers one at a time. Make
motorcycle, you’ll want to find out          sure each one feels firm and holds
about it before you get in traffic.          the motorcycle when the brake is
Make a complete check of your                fully applied.
motorcycle before every ride.             • Horn — Try the horn. Make sure
      Before mounting the motorcycle,        it works.
make the following checks:                      In addition to the checks you
• Tires — Check the air pressure,         should make before every trip, check
   general wear and tread.                the following items at least once a
• Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. At a     week: wheels, cables, fasteners and
   minimum, check hydraulic fluids        fluid levels. Follow your owner’s
   and coolants weekly. Look under        manual to get recommendations.
   the motorcycle for signs of an oil
   or gas leak.                            1                      Test Yourself
• Headlights and Taillight —               More than half of all crashes:
   Check them both. Test your switch       A. Occur at speeds greater than
   to make sure both high and low             35 mph.
   beams are working.                      B. Happen at night.
                                           C. Are caused by worn tires.
• Turn Signals — Turn on both
                                           D. Involve riders who have ridden
   right and left turn signals. Make          their motorcycles less than six
   sure all lights are working                months.
                                                                     Answer - page 45
   properly.

                                                                                   13
                             KNOW YOUR                                    • Be visible — wear proper
KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
                             RESPONSIBILITIES                                clothing, use your headlight, ride
                                                                             in the best lane position to see and
                                  “Accident” implies an                      be seen.
                             unforeseen event that occurs without
                                                                          • Communicate your intentions —
                             anyone’s fault or negligence. Most
                                                                             use the proper signals, brake light
                             often in traffic, that is not the case. In
                                                                             and lane position.
                             fact, most people involved in a crash
                             can usually claim some responsibility        • Maintain an adequate space
                             for what takes place.                           cushion — following, being
                                                                             followed, lane sharing, passing
                                  Consider a situation where
                                                                             and being passed.
                             someone decides to try to squeeze
                             through an intersection on a yellow          • Scan your path of travel 12
                             light turning red. Your light turns             seconds ahead.
                             green. You pull into the intersection        • Identify and separate multiple
                             without checking for possible                   hazards.
                             latecomers. That is all it takes for the     • Be prepared to act — remain
                             two of you to tangle. It was the                alert and know how to carry out
                             driver’s responsibility to stop. And it         proper crash-avoidance skills.
                             was your responsibility to look
                                                                               Blame doesn’t matter when
                             before pulling out. Neither of you
                                                                          someone is injured in a crash. There
                             held up your end of the deal. Just
                                                                          is rarely a single cause of any crash.
                             because someone else is the first to
                                                                          The ability to ride aware, make
                             start the chain of events leading to a
                                                                          critical decisions and carry them out
                             crash, it doesn’t leave any of us free
                                                                          separates responsible riders from all
                             of responsibility.
                                                                          the rest. Remember, it is up to you to
                                  As a rider you can’t be sure that       keep from being the cause of, or an
                             other operators will see you or yield        unprepared participant in, any crash.
                             the right of way. To lessen your
                             chances of a crash occurring:




                             14
RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES




                                                                                 BODY POSITION
    This manual cannot teach you how to control direction, speed or balance.
That’s something you can learn only through practice. But control begins with
knowing your abilities and riding within them, along with knowing and
obeying the rules of the road.



BASIC VEHICLE                            too much throttle. Also, adjust the
CONTROL                                  handlebars so your hands are even
                                         with or below your elbows. This
                                         permits you to use the proper muscles
BODY POSITION                            for precision steering.
     To control a motorcycle well:       • Knees — Keep your knees against
• Posture — Sit so you can use your        the gas tank to help you keep your
  arms to steer the motorcycle rather      balance as the motorcycle turns.




                                                                                 SHIFTING GEARS
  than to hold yourself up.              • Feet — Keep your feet firmly on
• Seat — Sit far enough forward so         the footrests to maintain balance.
  that arms are slightly bent when         Don’t drag your feet. If your foot
  you hold the handlegrips. Bending        catches on something, you could
  your arms permits you to press on        be injured and it could affect your
  the handlebars without having to         control of the motorcycle. Keep
  stretch.                                 your feet near the controls so you
• Hands — Hold the handlegrips             can get to them fast if needed.
  firmly to keep your grip over            Also, don’t let your toes point
  rough surfaces. Start with your          downward — they may get caught
  right wrist flat. This will help you     between the road and the footrests.
  keep from accidentally using
                                         SHIFTING GEARS
HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS                           There is more to shifting gears
                                         than simply getting the motorcycle to
                     RIGHT               pick up speed smoothly. Learning to
                                         use the gears when downshifting,
                                         turning or starting on hills is
                                         important for safe motorcycle
                                         operation.
                                              Shift down through the gears
                                         with the clutch as you slow or stop.
                                         Remain in first gear while you are
     WRONG                               stopped so that you can move out
                                         quickly if you need to.




                                                                           15
BRAKING         Make certain you are riding            Also, using the front brake
          slowly enough when you shift into a          incorrectly on a slippery surface
          lower gear. If not, the motorcycle will      may be hazardous. Use caution
          lurch, and the rear wheel may skid.          and squeeze the brake lever, never
          When riding downhill or shifting into        grab.
          first gear you may need to use the         • Some motorcycles have integrated
          brakes to slow enough before                 braking systems that activate the
          downshifting safely. Work toward a           front and rear brakes together
          smooth, even clutch release,                 when applying the rear brake
          especially when downshifting.                pedal. (Consult the owner’s
               It is best to change gears before       manual for a detailed explanation
          entering a turn. However, sometimes          on the operation and effective use
          shifting while in the turn is necessary.     of these systems.)
          If so, remember to do so smoothly. A
          sudden change in power to the rear
                                                     TURNING
          wheel can cause a skid.                         Riders often try to take curves or
                                                     turns too fast. When they can’t hold
TURNING




          BRAKING                                    the turn, they end up crossing into
                                                     another lane of traffic or going off the
                Your motorcycle has two brakes:
                                                     road. Or, they overreact and brake too
          one each for the front and rear wheel.
                                                     hard, causing a skid and loss of
          Use both of them at the same time.
                                                     control. Approach turns and curves
          The front brake is more powerful and
                                                     with caution.
          can provide at least three-quarters
          of your total stopping power. The          Use four steps for better control:
          front brake is safe to use if you use      • SLOW
          it properly.                               • LOOK
                Remember:                            • PRESS
          • Use both brakes every time you           • ROLL
             slow or stop. Using both brakes for
             even “normal” stops will permit         • SLOW — Reduce speed before
             you to develop the proper habit or        the turn by closing the throttle and,
             skill of using both brakes properly       if necessary, applying both brakes.
             in an emergency. Squeeze the front      • LOOK — Look through the turn
             brake and press down on the rear.         to where you want to go. Turn just
             Grabbing at the front brake or            your head, not your shoulders, and
             jamming down on the rear can              keep your eyes level with the
             cause the brakes to lock, resulting       horizon.
             in control problems.                    • PRESS — To turn, the motorcycle
          • If you know the technique, using           must lean. To lean the motor-
             both brakes in a turn is possible,        cycle, press on the handlegrip in
             although it should be done very           the direction of the turn. Press
             carefully. When leaning the               left — lean left — go left. Press
             motorcycle some of the traction is        right — lean right — go right.
             used for cornering. Less traction is      Higher speeds and/or tighter
             available for stopping. A skid can        turns require the motorcycle to
             occur if you apply too much brake.        lean more.

          16
• ROLL — Roll on the throttle               2                       Test Yourself




                                                                                          LANE POSITIONS
  through the turn to stabilize the         When riding, you should:
  suspension. Maintain steady speed         A. Turn your head and shoulders to
  or accelerate gradually through the          look through turns.
  turn. This will help keep the             B. Keep your arms straight.
  motorcycle stable.                        C. Keep your knees away from the
                                               gas tank.
     In normal turns, the rider and the
                                            D. Turn just your head and eyes to
motorcycle should lean together at             look where you are going.
the same angle.                                                        Answer - page 45



NORMAL TURNS                               KEEPING YOUR
                                           DISTANCE
                                                The best protection you can have
                                           is distance — a “cushion of space” —
                                           all around your motorcycle. 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. Each traffic lane gives a
     In slow tight turns, counterbalance   motorcycle three paths of travel, as
by leaning the motorcycle only and         indicated in the illustration (next page).
keeping your body straight.                     Your lane position should:
                                           • Increase your ability to see and be
SLOW, TIGHT TURNS                             seen.
                                           • Avoid others’ blind spots.
                                           • Avoid surface hazards.
                                           • Protect your lane from other
                                              drivers.
                                           • Communicate your intentions.
                                           • Avoid wind blast from other
                                              vehicles.
                                           • Provide an escape route.
                                                Select the appropriate path to
                                           maximize your space cushion and
                                           make yourself more easily seen by
                                           others on the road.


                                                                                     17
            LANE POSITIONS




                 In general, there is no single      FOLLOWING ANOTHER
            best position for riders to be seen      VEHICLE
FOLLOWING




            and to maintain a space cushion
                                                          “Following too closely” could
            around the motorcycle. No portion
                                                     be a factor in crashes involving
            of the lane need be avoided —
                                                     motorcyclists. In traffic, motorcycles
            including the center.
                                                     need as much distance to stop as
                 Position yourself in the portion    cars. Normally, a minimum of two
            of the lane where you are most likely    seconds distance should be
            to be seen and you can maintain a        maintained behind the vehicle ahead.
            space cushion around you. Change              To gauge your following
            position as traffic situations change.   distance:
            Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and
                                                     • Pick out a marker, such as a
            other potential problems are on your
                                                       pavement marking or lamppost, on
            left only. Remain in path 1 or 2 if
                                                       or near the road ahead.
            hazards are on your right only. If
            vehicles are being operated on both      • When the rear bumper of the
            sides of you, the center of the lane,      vehicle ahead passes the marker,
            path 2, is usually your best option.       count off the seconds: “one-
                                                       thousand-one, one-thousand-two.”
                 The oily strip in the center
            portion that collects drippings from     • If you reach the marker before
            cars is usually no more than two feet      you reach “two,” you are
            wide. Unless the road is wet, the          following too closely.
            average center strip permits adequate         A two-second following distance
            traction to ride on safely. You can      leaves a minimum amount of space to
            operate to the left or right of the      stop or swerve if the driver ahead
            grease strip and still be within the     stops suddenly. It also permits a
            center portion of the traffic lane.      better view of potholes and other
            Avoid riding on big buildups of oil      hazards in the road.
            and grease usually found at busy              A larger cushion of space is
            intersections or toll booths.            needed if your motorcycle will take
                                                     longer than normal to stop. If the

            18
FOLLOWING




pavement is slippery, if you cannot       drivers ahead and to prevent lane
see through the vehicle ahead, or if      sharing by others.




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


                                                                              19
PASSING        PASSING                                   stay in the center portion of your
               1. Ride in the left portion of the        lane. Riding any closer to them could
                    lane at a safe following distance    put you in a hazardous situation.
                    to increase your line of sight and        Avoid being hit by:
                    make you more visible. Signal        • The other vehicle — A slight
                    and check for oncoming traffic.         mistake by you or the passing
                    Use your mirrors and turn your          driver could cause a sideswipe.
                    head to look for traffic behind.
                                                         • Extended mirrors — Some
               2. When safe, move into the left lane        drivers forget that their mirrors
                    and accelerate. Select a lane           hang out farther than their fenders.
                    position that doesn’t crowd the
                                                         • Objects thrown from windows
                    car you are passing and pro-
                                                            — Even if the driver knows you’re
                    vides space to avoid hazards in
                                                            there, a passenger may not see you
                    your lane.
                                                            and might toss something on you
               3. Ride through the blind spot as            or the road ahead of you.
                    quickly as possible.
                                                         • Blasts of wind from larger
               4. Signal again, and complete mirror         vehicles — They can affect your
BEING PASSED




                    and headchecks before returning         control. You have more room for
                    to your original lane and then          error if you are in the middle
                    cancel the signal.                      portion when hit by this blast
                    Remember, passes must be                than if you are on either side of
               completed within posted speed limits,        the lane.
               and only where permitted. Know your
               signs and road markings!
                                                              Do not move into the portion
                                                         of the lane farthest from the
               BEING PASSED                              passing vehicle. It might invite the
                   When you are being passed from        other driver to cut back into your lane
               behind or by an oncoming vehicle,         too early.

               PASSING                                   BEING PASSED




               20
LANE SHARING                              another lane if one is open. If there is




                                                                                        LANE SHARING
                                          no room for a lane change, adjust
     Cars and motorcycles need a full
                                          speed to open up space for the
lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is
                                          merging driver.
usually prohibited.
     Riding between rows of stopped       CARS ALONGSIDE
or moving cars in the same lane can
leave you vulnerable to the                    Do not ride next to cars or trucks
unexpected. A hand could come out         in other lanes if you do not have to.
of a window; a door could open; a car     You might be in the blind spot of a
could turn suddenly. Discourage lane      car in the next lane, which could
sharing by others. Keep a center-         switch into your lane without
portion position whenever drivers         warning. Cars in the next lane also
might be tempted to squeeze by you.       block your escape if you come upon
Drivers are most tempted to do this:      danger in your own lane. Speed up or
                                          drop back to find a place clear of
• In heavy, bumper-to-bumper              traffic on both sides.
  traffic.
• When they want to pass you.             BLIND SPOTS
• When you are preparing to turn at
  an intersection.
• When you are moving into an exit
  lane or leaving a highway.

MERGING CARS
     Drivers on an entrance ramp may
not see you on the highway. Give
them plenty of room. Change to

MERGING




                                           3                      Test Yourself
                                           Usually, a good way to handle
                                           tailgaters is to:
                                           A. Change lanes and let them pass.
                                           B. Use your horn and make obscene
                                               gestures.
                                           C. Speed up to put distance between
                                               you and the tailgater.
                                           D. Ignore them.
                                                                     Answer - page 45




                                                                                   21
SEE   SEE
           Good experienced riders remain       • Road and surface characteristics
      aware of what is going on around            — Potholes, guardrails, bridges,
      them. They improve their riding             telephone poles and trees won’t
      strategy by using SEE, a three-step         move into your path but may
      process used to make appropriate            influence your riding strategy.
      judgments, and apply them correctly       • Traffic control devices — Look
      in different traffic situations:            for traffic signals, including
      • Search                                    regulatory signs, warning signs,
      • Evaluate                                  and pavement markings, to help
      • Execute                                   you evaluate circumstances
                                                  ahead.
         Let’s examine each of these steps.
                                                • Vehicles and other traffic —
                                                  May move into your path and
      SEARCH                                      increase the likelihood of a crash.
            Search aggressively ahead, to the       Think about your time and space
      sides and behind to avoid potential       requirements in order to maintain a
      hazards even before they arise. How       margin of safety. You must leave
      assertively you search, and how           yourself time to react if an
      much time and space you have, can         emergency arises.
      eliminate or reduce harm. Focus even
      more on finding potential escape
      routes in or around intersections,        EXECUTE
      shopping areas and school and                   Carry out your decision.
      construction zones.                             To create more space and
            Search for factors such as:         minimize harm from any hazard:
      • Oncoming traffic that may turn          • Communicate your presence with
         left in front of you.                     lights and/or horn.
      • Traffic coming from the left and        • Adjust your speed by
         right.                                    accelerating, stopping or slowing.
      • Traffic approaching from behind.        • Adjust your position and/or
      • Hazardous road conditions.                 direction.
            Be especially alert in areas with         Apply the old adage “one step
      limited visibility. Visually “busy”       at a time” to handle two or more
      surroundings could hide you and           hazards. Adjust speed to permit two
      your motorcycle from others.              hazards to separate. Then deal with
                                                them one at a time as single hazards.
                                                Decision-making becomes more
      EVALUATE                                  complex with three or more hazards.
           Think about how hazards can          Weigh the consequences of each and
      interact to create risks for you.         give equal distance to the hazards.
      Anticipate potential problems and
      have a plan to reduce risks.


      22
     In potential high-risk areas, such       INTERSECTIONS




                                                                                        INTERSECTIONS
as intersections, shopping areas and               The greatest potential for
school and construction zones, cover          conflict between you and other traffic
the clutch and both brakes to reduce          is at intersections. An intersection
the time you need to react.                   can be in the middle of an urban area
                                              or at a driveway on a residential
                                              street — anywhere traffic may cross
                                              your path of travel. Over one-half of
                                              motorcycle/car crashes are caused by
4                       Test Yourself         drivers entering a rider’s right-of-
 To reduce your reaction time, you            way. Cars that turn left in front of
 should:                                      you, including cars turning left from
 A. Ride slower than the speed limit.         the lane to your right, and cars on
 B. Cover the clutch and the brakes.          side streets that pull into your lane,
 C. Shift into neutral when slowing.          are the biggest dangers. Your use
 D. Pull in the clutch when turning.          of SEE [p. 22] at intersections
                           Answer - page 45   is critical.
                                                   There are no guarantees that
                                              others see you. Never count on “eye
                                              contact” as a sign that a driver will
                                              yield. Too often, a driver looks right
                                              at a motorcyclist and still fails to
                                              “see” him or her. The only eyes that
                                              you can count on are your own. If a
                                              car can enter your path, assume that it
                                              will. Good riders are always “looking
                                              for trouble” — not to get into it, but
                                              to stay out of it.
                                                    Increase your chances of being
                                              seen at intersections. Ride with your
                                              headlight on in a lane position that
                                              provides the best view of oncoming
                                              traffic. Provide a space cushion
                                              around the motorcycle that permits
                                              you to take evasive action.

                                              LARGE INTERSECTIONS




                                                                                  23
LARGE INTERSECTIONS




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

24
STOP SIGNS                                      PARKED CARS




                                                                                         PARKED CARS
     If you have a stop sign or stop
line, stop there first. Then edge
forward and stop again, just short of
where the cross-traffic lane meets
your lane. From that position, lean                  In either event, the driver might
your body forward and look around               cut into your path. Slow down or
buildings, parked cars or bushes to             change lanes to make room for
see if anything is coming. Just make            someone cutting in.
sure your front wheel stays out of the               Cars making a sudden U-turn are
cross lane of travel while you’re               the most dangerous. They may cut
looking.                                        you off entirely, blocking the whole
PASSING PARKED CARS                             roadway and leaving you with no
                                                place to go. Since you can’t tell what
     When passing parked cars, stay
                                                a driver will do, slow down and get
toward the left of your lane. You can
                                                the driver’s attention. Sound your
avoid problems caused by doors
                                                horn and continue with caution.
opening, drivers getting out of cars or
people stepping from between cars. If           PARKING AT THE ROADSIDE
oncoming traffic is present, it is                Park at a 90˚ angle to the curb with
usually best to remain in the center-           your rear wheel touching the curb.
lane position to maximize your space
cushion.
     A bigger problem can occur if              PARKING AT CURBS
the driver pulls away from the curb
without checking for traffic behind.
Even if he does look, he may fail to
see you.
5                         Test Yourself
 Making eye contact with other drivers:
 A. Is a good sign they see you.
 B. Is not worth the effort it takes.
 C. Doesn’t mean that the driver will
    yield.
 D. Guarantees that the other driver will
    yield to you.
                             Answer - page 45



                                                                                   25
CLOTHING   INCREASING                                    Reflective material on a vest and
           CONSPICUITY                               on the sides of the helmet will help
                                                     drivers coming from the side to spot
                In crashes with motorcyclists,       you. Reflective material can also be a
           drivers often say that they never saw     big help for drivers coming toward
           the motorcycle. From ahead or             you or from behind.
           behind, a motorcycle’s outline is
           much smaller than a car’s. Also, it’s
                                                     HEADLIGHT
           hard to see something you are not
           looking for, and most drivers are not          The best way to help others see
           looking for motorcycles. More likely,     your motorcycle is to keep the
           they are looking through the skinny,      headlight on — at all times
           two-wheeled silhouette in search of       (although new motorcycles sold in
           cars that may pose a problem to           the USA since 1978 automatically
           them.                                     have the headlights on when
                                                     running). Studies show that, during
                Even if a driver does see you
                                                     the day, a motorcycle with its light
           coming, you aren’t necessarily safe.
LIGHTS




                                                     on is twice as likely to be noticed.
           Smaller vehicles appear farther away
                                                     Use low beam at night and in fog.
           and seem to be traveling slower than
           they actually are. It is common for
           drivers to pull out in front of           SIGNALS
           motorcyclists, thinking they have             The signals on a motorcycle are
           plenty of time. Too often, they           similar to those on a car. They tell
           are wrong.                                others what you plan to do.
                However, you can do many
           things to make it easier for others to    SIGNALING
           recognize you and your motorcycle.

           CLOTHING
                Most crashes occur in broad
           daylight. Wear bright-colored
           clothing to increase your chances of
SIGNALS




           being seen. Remember, your body is
           half of the visible surface area of the
           rider/motorcycle unit.
                Bright orange, red, yellow or
           green jackets or vests are your best
           bets for being seen. Your helmet can
           do more than protect you in a crash.
           Brightly colored helmets can also
           help others see you.
                Any bright color is better than
           drab or dark colors. Reflective,
           bright-colored clothing (helmet and
           jacket or vest) is best.

           26
However, due to a rider’s added          • You slow where others may not




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




                                                                              27
HEAD CHECKS   USING MIRRORS                          HEAD CHECKS
                                                          Checking your mirrors is not
                                                     enough. Motorcycles have “blind
                                                     spots” like cars. Before you change
                                                     lanes, turn your head, and look to the
                                                     side for other vehicles.
                                                          On a road with several lanes,
                                                     check the far lane and the one next
                                                     to you. A driver in the distant lane
                                                     may head for the same space you
                                                     plan to take.
                                                          Frequent head checks should
                                                     be your normal scanning routine,
                                                     also. Only by knowing what is
                                                     happening all around you are you
                                                     fully prepared to deal with it.
HORN




                                                     HORN
                   Some motorcycles have rounded          Be ready to use your horn to
              (convex) mirrors. These provide a      get someone’s attention quickly.
              wider view of the road behind than
              do flat mirrors. They also make cars        It is a good idea to give a quick
              seem farther away than they really     beep before passing anyone that
              are. If you are not used to convex     may move into your lane.
              mirrors, get familiar with them.            Here are some situations:
              (While you are stopped, pick out a     • A driver in the lane next to you is
              parked car in your mirror. Form a         driving too closely to the vehicle
              mental image of how far away it is.       ahead and may want to pass.
              Then, turn around and look at it to    • A parked car has someone in the
              see how close you came.) Practice         driver’s seat.
              with your mirrors until you become a
              good judge of distance. Even then,     • Someone is in the street, riding a
              allow extra distance before you           bicycle or walking.
              change lanes.                               In an emergency, press the horn
                                                     button loud and long. Be ready to
                                                     stop or swerve away from the danger.
                                                          Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s
                                                     horn isn’t as loud as a car’s —
                                                     therefore, use it, but don’t rely on it.
                                                     Other strategies may be appropriate
                                                     along with the horn.




              28
RIDING AT NIGHT                                   CRASH AVOIDANCE




                                                                                            NIGHT RIDING
      At night it is harder for you to                 No matter how careful you are,
see and be seen. Picking your                     there will be times when you find
headlight or taillight out of the car             yourself in a tight spot. Your chances
lights around you is not easy for other           of getting out safely depend on your
drivers. To compensate, you should:               ability to react quickly and properly.
• Reduce Your Speed — Ride even                   Often, a crash occurs because a rider
   slower than you would during the               is not prepared or skilled in crash-
   day — particularly on roads you                avoidance maneuvers.
   don’t know well. This will increase
   your chances of avoiding a hazard.                  Know when and how to stop or
                                                  swerve, two skills critical in avoiding
• Increase Distance — Distances
                                                  a crash. It is not always desirable or
   are harder to judge at night than
   during the day. Your eyes rely                 possible to stop quickly to avoid an
   upon shadows and light contrasts               obstacle. Riders must also be able to
   to determine how far away an                   swerve around an obstacle. Deter-
   object is and how fast it is coming.           mining which skill is necessary for




                                                                                            CRASH AVOIDANCE
   These contrasts are missing or dis-            the situation is important as well.
   torted under artificial lights at                   Studies show that most crash-
   night. Open up a three-second fol-             involved riders:
   lowing distance or more. And
   allow more distance to pass and                • Underbrake the front tire and
   be passed.                                        overbrake the rear.
• Use the Car Ahead — The                         • Did not separate braking from
   headlights of the car ahead can                   swerving or did not choose
   give you a better view of the road                swerving when it was appropriate.
   than even your high beam can.
   Taillights bouncing up and down                     The following information offers
   can alert you to bumps or rough                some good advice.
   pavement.
• Use Your High Beam — Get all                    QUICK STOPS
   the light you can. Use your high                    To stop quickly, apply both
   beam whenever you are not                      brakes at the same time. Don’t be shy
   following or meeting a car. Be                 about using the front brake, but don’t
                                                                                            QUICK STOPS



   visible: Wear reflective materials             “grab” it, either. Squeeze the brake
   when riding at night.                          lever firmly and progressively. If the
• Be Flexible About Lane Position.                front wheel locks, release the front
   Change to whatever portion of the              brake immediately then reapply it
   lane is best able to help you see, be
                                                  firmly. At the same time, press down
   seen and keep an adequate space
   cushion.                                       on the rear brake. If you accidentally
                                                  lock the rear brake on a good traction
 6                       Test Yourself            surface, you can keep it locked until
 Reflective clothing should:                      you have completely stopped; but,
 A. Be worn at night.                             even with a locked rear wheel, you
 B. Be worn during the day.                       can control the motorcycle on a
 C. Not be worn.                                  straightaway if it is upright and going
 D. Be worn day and night                         in a straight line.
                               Answer - page 45



                                                                                      29
SWERVING   STOPPING DISTANCE                       in the last few feet of stopping. The
                                                   motorcycle should then be straight up
                                                   and in balance.

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

           SWERVE, THEN BRAKE                      BRAKE, THEN SWERVE




           30
feet solidly on the footrests. Let the        CORNERING




                                                                                        CORNERING
motorcycle move underneath you.                    A primary cause of single-
Make your escape route the target of          vehicle crashes is motorcyclists
your vision. Press on the opposite            running wide in a curve or turn and
handlegrip once you clear the                 colliding with the roadway or a fixed
obstacle to return you to your original       object.
direction of travel. To swerve to the
left, press the left handlegrip, then              Every curve is different. Be alert
press the right to recover. To swerve         to whether a curve remains constant,
to the right, press right, then left.         gradually widens, gets tighter or
                                              involves multiple turns.
    IF BRAKING IS REQUIRED,                        Ride within your skill level and
SEPARATE IT FROM SWERVING.                    posted speed limits.
Brake before or after — never while
swerving.                                          Your best path may not always
                                              follow the curve of the road.




CONSTANT CURVES                                 MULTIPLE CURVES




DECREASING CURVES           (TIGHTER TURNS)     WIDENING CURVES




                                                                                  31
DANGEROUS SURFACES   Change lane position depending on             HANDLING DANGEROUS
                     traffic, road conditions and curve of         SURFACES
                     the road. If no traffic is present, start
                                                                       Your chance of falling or being
                     at the outside of a curve to increase
                                                                   involved in a crash increases
                     your line of sight and the effective
                                                                   whenever you ride across:
                     radius of the turn. As you turn, move
                     toward the inside of the curve, and as        • Uneven surfaces or obstacles.
                     you pass the center, move to the              • Slippery surfaces.
                     outside to exit.                              • Railroad tracks.
                          Another alternative is to move to        • Grooves and gratings.
                     the center of your lane before
                     entering a curve — and stay there             UNEVEN SURFACES AND
                     until you exit. This permits you to           OBSTACLES
                     spot approaching traffic as soon as                 Watch for uneven surfaces such
                     possible. You can also adjust for             as bumps, broken pavement, potholes
                     traffic “crowding” the center line, or        or small pieces of highway trash.
                     debris blocking part of your lane.
                                                                         Try to avoid obstacles by
                                                                   slowing or going around them. If you
                                                                   must go over the obstacle, first
                                                                   determine if it is possible. Approach
                                                                   it at as close to a 90˚ angle as
                                                                   possible. Look where you want to go
                      7                       Test Yourself        to control your path of travel. If you
                      The best way to stop quickly is to:          have to ride over the obstacle, you
                      A. Use the front brake only.                 should:
                      B. Use the rear brake first.                 • Slow down as much as possible
                      C. Throttle down and use the front              before contact.
                         brake.
                      D. Use both brakes at the same time.
                                                                   • Make sure the motorcycle is
                                                Answer - page 45      straight.


                     OBSTACLES




                     32
• Rise slightly off the seat with your         brake lever gradually to avoid
  weight on the footrests to absorb            locking the front wheel.
  the shock with your knees and                Remember, gentle pressure on the
  elbows, and avoid being thrown off           rear brake.
  the motorcycle.                           • The center of a lane can be
• Just before contact, roll on the             hazardous when wet. When it
   throttle slightly to lighten the front      starts to rain, ride in the tire tracks
   end.                                        left by cars. Often, the left tire
                                               track will be the best position,
     If you ride over an object on the
                                               depending on traffic and other
street, pull off the road and check
                                               road conditions as well.
your tires and rims for damage before
riding any farther.                         • Watch for oil spots when you put
                                               your foot down to stop or park.
SLIPPERY SURFACES                              You may slip and fall.
      Motorcycles handle better when        • Dirt and gravel collect along the
ridden on surfaces that permit good            sides of the road — especially on
traction. Surfaces that provide poor           curves and ramps leading to and
traction include:                              from highways. Be aware of what’s
                                               on the edge of the road,
• Wet pavement, particularly just              particularly when making sharp
   after it starts to rain and before          turns and getting on or off
   surface oil washes to the side of           freeways at high speeds.
   the road.
                                            • Rain dries and snow melts faster
• Gravel roads, or where sand and              on some sections of a road than
   gravel collect.                             on others. Patches of ice tend to
• Mud, snow, and ice.                          develop in low or shaded areas
• Lane markings (painted lines),               and on bridges and overpasses.
   steel plates and manhole covers,            Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just
   especially when wet.                        as slippery. Ride on the least
                                               slippery portion of the lane and
      To ride safely on slippery
                                               reduce speed.
surfaces:
                                                  Cautious riders steer clear of
• Reduce Speed — Slow down
                                            roads covered with ice or snow. If you
   before you get to a slippery
                                            can’t avoid a slippery surface, keep
   surface to lessen your chances of
                                            your motorcycle straight up and
   skidding. Your motorcycle needs
                                            proceed as slowly as possible. If you
   more distance to stop. And it is
                                            encounter a large surface so slippery
   particularly important to reduce
                                            that you must coast, or travel at a
   speed before entering wet curves.
                                            walking pace, consider letting your
• Avoid Sudden Moves — Any                  feet skim along the surface. If the
   sudden change in speed or                motorcycle starts to fall, you can
   direction can cause a skid. Be as        catch yourself. Be sure to keep off the
   smooth as possible when you              brakes. If possible, squeeze the clutch
   speed up, shift gears, turn or brake.    and coast. Attempting this maneuver
• Use Both Brakes — The front               at anything other than the slowest of
   brake is still effective, even on a      speeds could prove hazardous.
   slippery surface. Squeeze the


                                                                                   33
TRACKING GRATINGS   CROSSTRACKS-RIGHT                          enough away from tracks, ruts, or
                                                               pavement seams to cross at an angle
                                                               of at least 45˚. Then, make a quick,
                                                               sharp turn. Edging across could catch
                                                               your tires and throw you off balance.
                                                               GROOVES AND GRATINGS
                                                                    Riding over rain grooves or
                    CROSSTRACKS-WRONG                          bridge gratings may cause a
                                                               motorcycle to weave. The uneasy,
                                                               wandering feeling is generally not
                                                               hazardous. Relax, maintain a steady
                                                               speed and ride straight across.
                                                               Crossing at an angle forces riders to
                                                               zigzag to stay in the lane. The zigzag
                                                               is far more hazardous than the
                    RAILROAD TRACKS, TROLLEY                   wandering feeling.
                    TRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMS
                        Usually it is safer to ride straight   GRATE CROSSINGS-RIGHT
                    within your lane to cross tracks.
                    Turning to take tracks head-on (at a
                    90˚ angle) can be more dangerous —
                    your path may carry you into another
                    lane of traffic.
                        For track and road seams that run
                    parallel to your course, move far
                                                               GRATE CROSSINGS-WRONG
                    PARALLEL TRACKS-RIGHT




                    PARALLEL TRACKS-WRONG                      8                         Test Yourself
                                                                When it starts to rain it is usually
                                                                best to:
                                                                A. Ride in the center of the lane.
                                                                B. Pull off to the side until the rain
                                                                   stops.
                                                                C. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.
                                                                D. Increase your speed.
                                                                                            Answer - page 45


                    34
MECHANICAL                                   STUCK THROTTLE




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


                                                                                    35
   Trying to “accelerate out of a             ENGINE SEIZURE
wobble” will only make the                         When the engine “locks” or
motorcycle more unstable. Instead:            “freezes” it is usually low on oil. The
• Grip the handlebars firmly, but             engine’s moving parts can’t move
  don’t fight the wobble.                     smoothly against each other, and the
• Close the throttle gradually to             engine overheats. The first sign may
  slow down. Do not apply the                 be a loss of engine power or a change
  brakes; braking could make the              in the engine’s sound. Squeeze the
  wobble worse.                               clutch lever to disengage the engine
                                              from the rear wheel. Pull off the road
• Move your weight as far forward             and stop. Check the oil. If needed, oil
  and down as possible.                       should be added as soon as possible
• Pull off the road as soon as you            or the engine will seize. When this
  can to fix the problem.                     happens, the effect is the same as a
                                              locked rear wheel. Let the engine
9                       Test Yourself         cool before restarting.
 If your motorcycle starts to wobble:
 A. Accelerate out of the wobble.             ANIMALS
 B. Use the brakes gradually.
 C. Grip the handlebars firmly and
                                                   Naturally, you should do
     close the throttle gradually.            everything you safely can to avoid
 D. Downshift.                                hitting an animal. If you are in traffic,
                           Answer - page 45
                                              however, remain in your lane. Hitting
                                              something small is less dangerous to
CHAIN PROBLEMS                                you than hitting something big —
    A chain that slips or breaks while        like a car.
you’re riding could lock the rear                  Motorcycles seem to attract
wheel and cause your cycle to skid.           dogs. If you are chased, downshift
Chain slippage or breakage can be             and approach the animal slowly. As
avoided by proper maintenance.                you approach it, accelerate away and
• Slippage — If the chain slips               leave the animal behind. Don’t kick
  when you try to speed up quickly            at an animal. Keep control of your
  or ride uphill, pull off the road.          motorcycle and look to where you
  Check the chain and sprockets.              want to go.
  Tightening the chain may help. If                For larger animals (deer, elk,
  the problem is a worn or stretched          cattle) brake and prepare to stop —
  chain or worn or bent sprockets,            they are unpredictable.
  replace the chain, the sprockets or
  both before riding again.
                                              10                        Test Yourself
• Breakage — You’ll notice an                  If you are chased by a dog:
  instant loss of power to the rear            A. Kick it away.
  wheel. Close the throttle and brake          B. Stop until the animal loses interest.
  to a stop.                                   C. Swerve around the animal.
                                               D. Approach the animal slowly, then
                                                   speed up.
                                                                          Answer - page 45


36
FLYING OBJECTS                           CARRYING PASSENGERS




                                                                                 FLYING OBJECTS
     From time to time riders are        AND CARGO
struck by insects, cigarettes thrown          Only experienced riders should
from cars or pebbles kicked up by the    carry passengers or large loads. The
tires of the vehicle ahead. If you are   extra weight changes the way the
wearing face protection, it might get    motorcycle handles, balances, speeds
smeared or cracked, making it            up and slows down. Before taking a
difficult to see. Without face           passenger or a heavy load on the
protection, an object could hit you in   street, practice away from traffic.
the eye, face or mouth. Whatever
happens, keep your eyes on the road      EQUIPMENT
and your hands on the handlebars.
                                              To carry passengers safely:
When safe, pull off the road and
repair the damage.                       • Equip and adjust your
                                           motorcycle to carry passengers.
GETTING OFF THE ROAD                     • Instruct the passenger before you




                                                                                 GETTING OFF THE ROAD
                                           start.
     If you need to leave the road to
check the motorcycle (or just to rest    • Adjust your riding technique for
for a while), be sure you:                 the added weight.
• Check the roadside — Make sure              Equipment should include:
  the surface of the roadside is firm    • A proper seat — large enough
  enough to ride on. If it is soft         to hold both of you without
  grass, loose sand or if you’re just      crowding. You should not sit
  not sure about it, slow way down         any farther forward than you
  before you turn onto it.                 usually do.
• Signal — Drivers behind might          • Footrests — for the passenger.
  not expect you to slow down. Give        Firm footing prevents your
  a clear signal that you will be          passenger from falling off and
  slowing down and changing                pulling you off, too.
  direction. Check your mirror and       • Protective equipment — the
  make a head check before you take        same protective gear
                                                                                 CARRYING LOADS



  any action.                              recommended for operators.
• Pull off the road — Get as far off          Adjust the suspension to handle
  the road as you can. It can be very    the additional weight. You will
  hard to spot a motorcycle by the       probably need to add a few pounds of
  side of the road. You don’t want       pressure to the tires if you carry a
  someone else pulling off at the        passenger. (Check your owner’s
  same place you are.                    manual for appropriate settings.)
• Park carefully — Loose and             While your passenger sits on the seat
  sloped shoulders can make setting      with you, adjust the mirror and
  the side or center stand difficult.    headlight according to the change in
                                         the motorcycle’s angle.



                                                                           37
CARRYING PASSENGERS   INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS                        • Ride a little slower, especially
                                                                       when taking curves, corners or
                           Even if your passenger is a
                                                                       bumps.
                      motorcycle rider, provide complete
                      instructions before you start. Tell           • Start slowing earlier as you
                      your passenger to:                               approach a stop.
                      • Get on the motorcycle only after            • Open up a larger cushion of
                         you have started the engine.                  space ahead and to the sides.
                                                                    • Wait for larger gaps to cross,
                      • Sit as far forward as possible
                                                                       enter or merge in traffic.
                         without crowding you.
                                                                         Warn your passenger of special
                      • Hold firmly to your waist, hips,
                                                                    conditions — when you will pull out,
                         belt, or to the bike’s passenger
                                                                    stop quickly, turn sharply or ride over
                         handholds.
                                                                    a bump. Turn your head slightly to
                      • Keep both feet on the footrests,            make yourself understood, but keep
                         even when stopped.                         your eyes on the road ahead.
                      • Keep legs away from the
                         muffler(s), chains or moving parts.        CARRYING LOADS
                      • Stay directly behind you, leaning                Most motorcycles are not
                          as you lean.                              designed to carry much cargo. Small
                      • Avoid unnecessary talk or                   loads can be carried safely if
                         motion.                                    positioned and fastened properly.
                           Also, tell your passenger to             • Keep the Load Low — Fasten
                      tighten his or her hold when you:               loads securely, or put them in
                                                                      saddlebags. Piling loads against a
                      • Approach surface problems.                    sissybar or frame on the back of
                      • Are about to start from a stop.               the seat raises the motorcycle’s
                      • Warn that you will make a                     center of gravity and disturbs its
                         sudden move.                                 balance.
                                                                    • Keep the Load Forward — Place
                      RIDING WITH PASSENGERS                          the load over, or in front of, the
                                                                      rear axle. Tankbags keep loads
                           Your motorcycle will respond               forward, but use caution when
                      more slowly with a passenger on                 loading hard or sharp objects.
                      board. The heavier your passenger,              Make sure the tankbag does not
                      the longer it will take to slow down            interfere with handlebars or
                      and speed up — especially on a light            controls. Mounting loads behind
                      motorcycle.                                     the rear axle can affect how the
                      11                      Test Yourself           motorcycle turns and brakes. It can
                                                                      also cause a wobble.
                       Passengers should:
                       A. Lean as you lean.                         • Distribute the Load Evenly —
                       B. Hold on to the motorcycle seat.             Load saddlebags with about the
                       C. Sit as far back as possible.                same weight. An uneven load can
                       D. Never hold onto you.                        cause the motorcycle to drift to
                                                 Answer - page 45
                                                                      one side.

                      38
• Secure the Load — Fasten the               down a little to stay with the




                                                                                      GROUP RIDING
  load securely with elastic cords           tailender.
  (bungee cords or nets). Elastic          • Know the Route — Make sure
  cords with more than one                   everyone knows the route. Then,
  attachment point per side are more         if someone is separated they won’t
  secure. A tight load won’t catch in        have to hurry to keep from getting
  the wheel or chain, causing it to          lost or taking a wrong turn. Plan
  lock up and skid. Rope tends to            frequent stops on long rides.
  stretch and knots come loose,
  permitting the load to shift or fall.    KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
• Check the Load — Stop and                     Maintain close ranks but at the
  check the load every so often to         same time keep a safe distance to
  make sure it has not worked loose        allow each rider in the group time
  or moved.                                and space to react to hazards. A close
                                           group takes up less space on the
GROUP RIDING                               highway, is easier to see and is less
     If you ride with others, do it in a   likely to be separated. However, it
way that promotes safety and doesn’t       must be done properly.
interfere with the flow of traffic.        • Don’t Pair Up — Never operate
                                             directly alongside another rider.
KEEP THE GROUP SMALL                         There is no place to go if you have
     Small groups make it easier and         to avoid a car or something on the
safer for car drivers who need to get        road. To talk, wait until you are both
around them. A small number isn’t            stopped.
separated as easily by traffic or red
lights. Riders won’t always be             • Staggered Formation — This is
hurrying to catch up. If your group is       the best way to keep ranks close
larger than four or five riders, divide      yet maintain an adequate space
it up into two or more smaller groups.
                                           STAGGERED FORMATION
KEEP THE GROUP TOGETHER
• Plan — The leader should look
  ahead for changes and signal early
  so “the word gets back” in plenty
  of time. Start lane changes early to
  permit everyone to complete the
  change.
• Put Beginners Up Front — Place
  inexperienced riders just behind
  the leader. That way the more
  experienced riders can watch them
  from the back.
• Follow Those Behind — Let the
  tailender set the pace. Use your
  mirrors to keep an eye on the
  person behind. If a rider falls
  behind, everyone should slow

                                                                                39
  cushion. The leader rides in the left      open up room for the next rider.
  side of the lane, while the second            Some people suggest that the
  rider stays one second behind in           leader should move to the right
  the right side of the lane.                side after passing a vehicle. This
     A third rider maintains in the left     is not a good idea. It encourages
  position, two seconds behind the first     the second rider to pass and cut
  rider. The fourth rider would keep a       back in before there is a large
  two-second distance behind the             enough space cushion in front of
  second rider. This formation keeps         the passed vehicle. It’s simpler
  the group close and permits each           and safer to wait until there
  rider a safe distance from others          is enough room ahead of the
  ahead, behind and to the sides.            passed vehicle to allow each rider
                                             to move into the same position
• Passing in Formation — Riders
                                             held before the pass.
  in a staggered formation should
  pass one at a time.                      • Single-File Formation — It is best
                                             to move into a single-file formation
• First, the lead rider should pull
                                             when riding curves, turning,
  out and pass when it is safe. After
                                             entering or leaving a highway.
  passing, the leader should return to
  the left position and continue            12                      Test Yourself
  riding at passing speed to open           When riding in a group,
  room for the next rider.                  inexperienced riders should
• After the first rider passes              position themselves:
  safely, the second rider should           A. Just behind the leader.
  move up to the left position and          B. In front of the group.
  watch for a safe chance to pass.          C. At the tail end of the group.
  After passing, this rider should          D. Beside the leader.
                                                                       Answer - page 45
  return to the right position and

GROUP PASSING (STAGE 1)                      GROUP PASSING (STAGE 2)




40
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE




                                                                                     BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE
     Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. Skilled riders pay
attention to the riding environment and to operating the motorcycle, identifying
potential hazards, making good judgments and executing decisions quickly and
skillfully. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and traffic
conditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. Alcohol and other drugs,
more than any other factor, degrade your ability to think clearly and to ride
safely. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance.
     Let’s look at the risks involved in riding after drinking or using drugs.
What to do to protect yourself and your fellow riders is also examined.

WHY THIS INFORMATION                      substance abuse don’t mix. Take
IS IMPORTANT                              positive steps to protect yourself and
                                          prevent others from injuring
     Alcohol is a major contributor to    themselves.
motorcycle crashes, particularly fatal




                                                                                     ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
crashes. Studies show that 40% to         ALCOHOL AND OTHER
45% of all riders killed in motorcycle    DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE
crashes had been drinking. Only one-
third of those riders had a blood         OPERATION
alcohol concentration above legal              No one is immune to the effects
limits. The rest had only a few drinks    of alcohol or drugs. Friends may brag
in their systems — enough to impair       about their ability to hold their liquor
riding skills. In the past, drug levels   or perform better on drugs, but
have been harder to distinguish or        alcohol or drugs make them less able
have not been separated from              to think clearly and perform physical
drinking violations for the traffic       tasks skillfully. Judgment and the
records. But riding “under the            decision-making processes needed
influence” of either alcohol or drugs     for vehicle operation are affected long
poses physical and legal hazards for      before legal limitations are reached.
every rider.                                   Many over-the-counter,
     Drinking and drug use is as big a    prescription and illegal drugs have
problem among motorcyclists as it is      side effects that increase the risk of
among automobile drivers.                 riding. It is difficult to accurately
Motorcyclists, however, are more          measure the involvement of
likely to be killed or severely injured   particular drugs in motorcycle
in a crash. Injuries occur in 90% of      crashes. But we do know what effects
motorcycle crashes and 33% of             various drugs have on the process
automobile crashes that involve abuse     involved in riding a motorcycle. We
of substances. On a yearly basis,         also know that the combined effects
2,100 motorcyclists are killed and        of alcohol and other drugs are more
about 50,000 seriously injured in this    dangerous than either is alone.
same type of crash. These statistics
are too overwhelming to ignore.           ALCOHOL IN THE BODY
     By becoming knowledgeable                Alcohol enters the bloodstream
about the effects of alcohol and other    quickly. Unlike most foods and
drugs you will see that riding and
                                                                               41
BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION   beverages, it does not need to be         Your sex, physical condition and food
                              digested. Within minutes after being      intake are just a few that may cause
                              consumed, it reaches the brain and        your BAC level to be even higher.
                              begins to affect the drinker. The         But the full effects of these are not
                              major effect alcohol has is to slow       completely known. Alcohol may still
                              down and impair bodily functions —        accumulate in your body even if
                              both mental and physical. Whatever        you are drinking at a rate of one
                              you do, you do less well after            drink per hour. Abilities and
                              consuming alcohol.                        judgment can be affected by that
                                                                        one drink.
                              BLOOD ALCOHOL                                  A 12-ounce can of beer, a mixed
                              CONCENTRATION                             drink with one shot of liquor and a 5-
                                   Blood Alcohol Concentration or       ounce glass of wine all contain the
                              BAC is the amount of alcohol in           same amount of alcohol.
                              relation to blood in the body.                 The faster you drink, the more
                              Generally, alcohol can be eliminated      alcohol accumulates in your body. If
                              in the body at the rate of almost one     you drink two drinks in an hour, at
                              drink per hour. But a variety of other    the end of that hour, at least one drink
                              factors may also influence the level of   will remain in your bloodstream.
                              alcohol retained. The more alcohol in          Without taking into account any
                              your blood, the greater the degree of     other factors, these examples
                              impairment.                               illustrates why time is a critical factor
                                   Three factors play a major part      when a rider decides to drink.
                              in determining BAC:                            A person drinking:
                              • The amount of alcohol you               – Seven drinks over the span of three
                                consume.                                hours would have at least four (7 – 3
                              • How fast you drink.                     = 4) drinks remaining in their system
                              • Your body weight.                       at the end of the three hours. They
                                                                        would need at least another four
                                   Other factors also contribute to     hours to eliminate the four remaining
                              the way alcohol affects your system.      drinks before they consider riding.


                              ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION




                              42
– Four drinks over the span of two             If you are convicted of riding




                                                                                    ALCOHOL AND THE LAW
hours would have at least two (4 – 2      under the influence of alcohol or
= 2) drinks remaining in their system     drugs, you may receive any of the
at the end of the two hours. They         following penalties:
would need at least another two hours     • License Suspension —
to eliminate the two remaining drinks       Mandatory suspension for
before they consider riding.                conviction, arrest or refusal to
     There are times when a larger          submit to a breath test.
person may not accumulate as high a       • Fines — Severe fines are another
concentration of alcohol for each drink     aspect of a conviction, usually
consumed. They have more blood              levied with a license suspension.
and other bodily fluids. But because
                                          • Community Service — Performing
of individual differences it is better
                                            tasks such as picking up litter
not to take the chance that abilities
                                            along the highway, washing cars in
and judgment have not been affected.
                                            the motor-vehicle pool or working
Whether or not you are legally
                                            at an emergency ward.
intoxicated is not the real issue.
                                          • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees




                                                                                    MINIMIZE RISKS
Impairment of judgment and skills
begins well below the legal limit.          to pay, lost work time spent in
                                            court or alcohol-education
ALCOHOL AND THE LAW                          programs, public transportation
     Nationwide, a person with a            costs (while your license is
BAC of 0.08 or above is considered          suspended) and the added
intoxicated. It doesn’t matter how          psychological costs of being
sober you may look or act. The              tagged a “drunk driver.”
breath or urine test is what usually
determines whether you are riding
                                          MINIMIZE THE RISKS
legally or illegally.                          Your ability to judge how well
     Your chances of being stopped        you are riding is affected first.
for riding under the influence of         Although you may be performing
alcohol are increasing. Law               more and more poorly, you think you
enforcement is being stepped up           are doing better and better. The result
across the country in response to the     is that you ride confidently, taking
senseless deaths and injuries caused      greater and greater risks. Minimize
by drinking drivers and riders.           the risks of drinking and riding by
                                          taking steps before you drink.
CONSEQUENCES OF                           Control your drinking or control
CONVICTION                                your riding.
     Years ago, first offenders had a
good chance of getting off with a         DON’T DRINK
small fine and participation in                Don’t Drink — Once you start,
alcohol-abuse classes. Today the laws     your resistance becomes weaker.
of most states impose stiff penalties          Setting a limit or pacing yourself
on drinking operators. And those          are poor alternatives at best. Your
penalties are mandatory, meaning          ability to exercise good judgment is
that judges must impose them.


                                                                              43
FATIGUE   one of the first things affected by             It helps to enlist support from
          alcohol. Even if you have tried to        others when you decide to step in.
          drink in moderation, you may not          The more people on your side, the
          realize to what extent your skills have   easier it is to be firm and the harder
          suffered from alcohol’s fatiguing         it is for the rider to resist. While
          effects.                                  you may not be thanked at the
                                                    time, you will never have to say,
               Or Don’t Ride — If you haven’t
                                                    “If only I had ...”
          controlled your drinking, you must
          control your riding.                      FATIGUE
          • Leave the motorcycle —                        Riding a motorcycle is more
            so you won’t be tempted to ride.        tiring than driving a car. On a long
            Arrange another way to get home.        trip, you’ll tire sooner than you would
          • Wait — If you exceed your               in a car. Avoid riding when tired.
            limit, wait until your system           Fatigue can affect your control of the
            eliminates the alcohol and its          motorcycle.
            fatiguing effects.
                                                    • Protect yourself from the
          STEP IN TO                                   elements — Wind, cold, and rain
                                                       make you tire quickly. Dress
          PROTECT FRIENDS                              warmly. A windshield is worth its
                People who have had too much to        cost if you plan to ride long
          drink are unable to make a responsible       distances.
          decision. It is up to others to step in
                                                    • Limit your distance — Experi-
          and keep them from taking too great a
          risk. No one wants to do this — it’s         enced riders seldom try to ride
          uncomfortable, embarrassing and              more than about six hours a day.
          thankless. You are rarely thanked for     • Take frequent rest breaks —
          your efforts at the time. But the            Stop and get off the motorcycle at
          alternatives are often worse.                least every two hours.
                There are several ways to keep      • Don’t drink or use drugs —
          friends from hurting themselves:             Artificial stimulants often result in
          • Arrange a safe ride — Provide              extreme fatigue or depression
             alternative ways for them to              when they start to wear off. Riders
             get home.                                 are unable to concentrate on the
          • Slow the pace of drinking —                task at hand.
             Involve them in other activities.
          • Keep them there — Use any                13                      Test Yourself
             excuse to keep them from getting        If you wait one hour per drink for the
             on their motorcycle. Serve them         alcohol to be eliminated from your
             food and coffee to pass the time.       body before riding:
             Explain your concerns for their         A. You cannot be arrested for drinking
                                                         and riding.
             risks of getting arrested or hurt
                                                     B. Your riding skills will not be
             or hurting someone else. Take their         affected.
             key, if you can.                        C. Side effects from the drinking may
          • Get friends involved — Use peer              still remain.
             pressure from a group of friends        D. You will be okay as long as you ride
                                                         slowly.
             to intervene.                                                      Answer - page 45


          44
EARNING YOUR LICENSE




                                                                                      EARNING YOUR LICENSE
      Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. Licensing tests are the best
measurement of the skills necessary to operate safely in traffic. Assessing your
own skills is not enough. People often overestimate their own abilities. It’s even
harder for friends and relatives to be totally honest about your skills. Licensing
exams are designed to be scored more objectively.
      To earn your license, you must pass a knowledge test and an on-cycle skill
test. Knowledge test questions are based on information, practices and ideas
from this manual. They require that you know and understand road rules and
safe riding practices. An on-cycle skill test will either be conducted in an actual
traffic environment or in a controlled, off-street area.


KNOWLEDGE TEST                              4. If a tire goes flat while riding and
(Sample Questions)                          you must stop, it is usually best to:
1. It is MOST important to flash            A. Relax on the handlegrips.




                                                                                      KNOWLEDGE TEST
your brake light when:                      B. Shift your weight toward the good
                                               tire.
A. Someone is following too closely.
                                            C. Brake on the good tire and steer to
B. You will be slowing suddenly.
                                               the side of the road.
C. There is a stop sign ahead.
                                            D. Use both brakes and stop quickly.
D. Your signals are not working.
                                            5. The car below is waiting to enter
2. The FRONT brake supplies how
                                            the intersection. It is best to:
much of the potential stopping
power?                                      A. Make eye contact with the driver.
                                            B. Reduce speed and be ready to
A. About one-quarter.
                                               react.
B. About one-half.
                                            C. Maintain speed and position.
C. About three-quarters.
                                            D. Maintain speed and move right.
D. All of the stopping power.
3. To swerve correctly:
A. Shift your weight quickly.
B. Turn the handlebars quickly.
C. Press the handlegrip in the
   direction of the turn.
D. Press the handlegrip in the
   opposite direction of the turn.



_____________________________________
Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages)
  1-D,    2-D,    3-A,     4-B,    5-C,     _____________________________________
  6-D     7-D,    8-C,     9-C,    10-D,    Answers to above Knowledge Test:
  11-A, 12-A, 13-C                            1-B,   2-C, 3-C,     4-C,    5-B


                                                                                45
ON-MOTORCYCLE                            • Adjust speed and position to the
SKILL TEST                                 traffic situation.
                                         • Stop, turn and swerve quickly.
     Basic vehicle control and
crash-avoidance skills are included in   • Make critical decisions and carry
on-motorcycle tests to determine           them out.
your ability to handle normal and             Examiners may score on
hazardous traffic situations.            factors related to safety such as:
     You may be tested for your          • Selecting safe speeds to perform
ability to:                                maneuvers.
• Know your motorcycle and your          • Choosing the correct path and
  riding limits.                           staying within boundaries.
• Accelerate, brake and turn             • Completing normal and quick
  safely.                                  stops.
• See, be seen and communicate           • Completing normal and quick
  with others.                             turns or swerves.




  To receive a motorcycle endorsement with full privileges,
  skills test maneuvers must be performed on a motorcycle
  with two wheels.
  A modified version of the test will be administered if your vehicle has
  more than two wheels, such as an autocycle, a motorcycle with sidecar
  or other three-wheeled vehicle. If you successfully complete the
  modified test, you become eligible for a restricted motorcycle
  endorsement that would allow you to ride only these types of vehicles.


    Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference only
and are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances.

46
ABOUT THIS BOOK


      Operating a motorcycle safely in       These revisions reflect:
traffic requires special skills and            • The latest finding of motorcycle-
knowledge. The Motorcycle Safety                 safety research.
Foundation (MSF) has made this manual
                                               • Comments and guidance provided
available to help novice motorcyclists
                                                 by the motorcycling, licensing and
reduce their risk of having a crash. The
                                                 traffic safety communities.
manual conveys essential safe riding
information and has been designed for          • Expanded alcohol and drug
use in licensing programs. While                 information.
designed for the novice, all motorcyclists        In promoting improved licensing
can benefit from the information this        programs, the MSF works closely with
manual contains.                             state licensing agencies. The Foundation
     The original Motorcycle Operator        has helped more than half the states in
Manual was developed by the National         the nation adopt the Motorcycle Operator
Public Services Research Institute           Manual for use in their licensing
(NPSRI) under contract to the National       systems.
Highway Traffic Safety Administration             Improved licensing, along with
(NHTSA) and within the terms of a            high-quality motorcycle rider education
cooperative agreement between NHTSA          and increased public awareness, has the
and the MSF. The manual and related          potential to reduce crashes. Staff at the
tests were used in a multi-year study of     Foundation are available to assist state,
improved motorcycle operator licensing       private and governmental agencies in
procedures, conducted by the California      efforts to improve motorcycle safety.
Department of Motor Vehicles under
contract to NHTSA.
     The purpose of this manual is to
educate the reader to help avoid crashes
while safely operating a motorcycle. For
this edition, the MSF has updated and
expanded the content of the original             Tim Buche
manual.                                          President,
                                                 Motorcycle Safety Foundation




                             2 Jenner Street, Suite 150
                               Irvine, CA 92618-3806
                                  www.msf-usa.org


                                                                               47
48
49
50
MOTORCYCLES MAKE SENSE –
SO DOES PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

   Motorcycles are inexpensive to operate, fun to ride and easy to park.
Unfortunately, many riders never learn critical skills needed to ride safely.
     Professional training for beginning and experienced riders prepares them for
real-world traffic situations. Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoursesSM teach
and improve such skills as:
• Effective turning                         • Braking maneuvers                                  • Protective apparel selection
• Obstacle avoidance                        • Traffic strategies                                 • Maintenance

    For the basic or experienced RiderCourse nearest you,
     call: (517) 241-6850 or visit: www.Michigan.gov/sos


     The Motorcycle                                                                             motorcycles. The infor-
Safety Foundation’s                                                                             mation has been com-
(MSF) purpose is to                                                                             piled from publications,
improve the safety of                                                                           interviews and observa-
motorcyclists on the                                                                            tions of individuals and
nation’s streets and highways. In an                                             organizations familiar with the use of
attempt to reduce motorcycle crashes                                             motorcycles, accessories, and training.
and injuries, the Foundation has                                                 Because there are many differences in
programs in rider education, licensing                                           product design, riding styles, federal,
improvement, public information and                                              state and local laws, there may be orga-
statistics. These programs are designed                                          nizations and individuals who hold dif-
for both motorcyclists and motorists. A                                          fering opinions. Consult your local
national not-for-profit organization, the                                        regulatory agencies for information
MSF is sponsored by BMW, Ducati,                                                 concerning the operation of motor-
Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki,                                                cycles in your area. Although the MSF
KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Victory                                              will continue to research, field test and
and Yamaha.                                                                      publish responsible viewpoints on the
     The information contained in this                                           subject, it disclaims any liability for
publication is offered for the benefit of                                        the views expressed herein.
those who have an interest in riding



                              Motorcycle Safety Foundation
                     2 Jenner Street, Suite 150, Irvine, CA 92618-3806
                                      www.msf-usa.org

       Second Revision....................December 1978                                   Seventh Revision ..................September 1992
       Third Revision........................February 1981                                Eighth Revision........................January 1999
       Fourth Revision .......................January 1983                                Ninth Revision ............................March 2000
       Fifth Revision...........................October 1987                              Tenth Revision..........................January 2002
       Sixth Revision ...............................April 1991                           Eleventh Revision...........................July 2002
       .......................................................................            Twelfth Revision.............................May 2004
                                                                        Printed in USA 000254
                   www.Michigan.gov/sos

   An alternative format of this printed material may
   be obtained by contacting the Department of State
         at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424).

Total Copies Printed: 50,000; Total Cost: $15,475.00; Cost Per Copy: $0.31

                                                                 SOS 116 Rev. 01/07

				
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