Motorcycle Test Ride Agreement by imy54181

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     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

                 PREPARING                                     HANDLING DANGEROUS SURFACES ...27
                  TO RIDE                                       Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles ........27
                                                                Slippery Surfaces ..............................28
WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR ..................... 4                     Railroad Tracks, Trolley Tracks
 Helmet Use ........................................ 4            and Pavement Seams .....................29
 Helmet Selection ................................ 4            Grooves and Gratings .......................29
 Eye and Face Protection ..................... 5               MECHANICAL PROBLEMS ..................30
 Clothing ............................................. 6
                                                                Tire Failure .......................................30
KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE ............... 6                          Stuck Throttle ...................................30
 The Right Motorcycle for You ........... 6                     Wobble ..............................................30
 Borrowing and Lending ..................... 7                  Chain Problems .................................31
 Get Familiar with the                                          Engine Seizure ..................................31
  Motorcycle Controls ....................... 7
                                                               ANIMALS ..............................................31
 Check Your Motorcycle ..................... 8
KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ......... 9                         FLYING OBJECTS ................................32
                                                               GETTING OFF THE ROAD ...................32
             RIDE WITHIN                                       CARRYING PASSENGERS
            YOUR ABILITIES                                      AND CARGO ......................................32
BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL ................ 10                       Equipment .........................................32
  Body Position ................................... 10          Instructing Passengers ......................33
  Shifting Gears .................................. 10          Riding With Passengers ....................33
  Braking ............................................ 11       Carrying Loads .................................33
  Turning ............................................. 11     GROUP RIDING ....................................34
KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE ................ 12                       Keep the Group Small ......................34
  Lane Positions .................................. 12          Keep the Group Together ..................34
  Following Another Vehicle ............... 13                  Keep Your Distance ...........................34
  Being Followed ................................ 14
  Passing and Being Passed ................ 14
                                                                           BEING IN SHAPE
  Lane Sharing .................................... 16                        TO RIDE
  Merging Cars ................................... 16          WHY THIS INFORMATION IS
  Cars Alongside ................................. 16           IMPORTANT ......................................36
SEE ..................................................... 17   ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS IN
INTERSECTIONS .................................. 18             MOTORCYCLE OPERATION .............36
  Blind Intersections ........................... 19           ALCOHOL IN THE BODY .....................37
  Passing Parked Cars ......................... 20              Blood Alcohol
  Parking at the Roadside ................... 20                  Concentration ................................37
INCREASING CONSPICUITY ................ 21                     ALCOHOL AND THE LAW ...................38
  Clothing ........................................... 21       Consequences of
  Headlight .......................................... 21         Conviction .....................................38
  Signals .............................................. 21    MINIMIZE THE RISKS .........................38
  Brake Light ....................................... 22
                                                               STEP IN TO PROTECT FRIENDS ..........39
  Using Your Mirrors .......................... 22
  Head Checks .................................... 23          FATIGUE ..............................................39
  Horn ................................................. 23
  Riding at Night ................................ 24
CRASH AVOIDANCE ........................... 24
                                                                            YOUR LICENSE
  Quick Stops ...................................... 24          Knowledge Test .................................40
  Swerving or Turning Quickly .......... 25                      On-Motorcycle Skill Test ..................41
  Cornering ......................................... 26

                      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
                                                                  as far to the sides as necessary. A
                          When you ride, your gear is
                                                                  study of more than 900 motorcycle
                      “right” if it protects you. In any
                                                                  crashes, where 40% of the riders
                      crash, you have a far better chance of
                                                                  wore helmets, did not find even
                      avoiding serious injury if you wear:
                                                                  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
                                                                  severity of head injuries by half.
                      in head or neck injuries. Head
                      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      HELMET SELECTION
                      neck injuries are reduced by properly         There are two primary types of
                      wearing an approved helmet.              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          Whichever style you choose, you
                      helmets only on long trips or when       can get the most protection by
                      riding at high speeds. Here are some     making sure that the helmet:
                      facts to consider:


                                                                                    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
are distracting and can be painful.             Tinted eye protection should
If you have to deal with them, you         not be worn at night or any other
can’t devote your full attention to        time when little light is available.
the road.

CLOTHING               CLOTHING                                  KNOW YOUR
                            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

                          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           THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE
                          should be made of hard, durable,
                                                                 FOR YOU
                          slip-resistant material. Keep heels
                          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
                                                                 while you are seated on the
                       • Gloves allow a better grip and
                          help protect your hands in a crash.
                          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.           1                      Test Yourself
                       Riding for long periods in cold
                                                                  A plastic shatter-resistant face
                       weather can cause severe chill and         shield:
                       fatigue. A winter jacket should resist
                                                                  A. Is not necessary if you have a
                       wind and fit snugly at the neck,               windshield.
                       wrists and waist. Good-quality             B. Only protects your eyes.
                       rainsuits designed for motorcycle          C. Helps protect your whole face.
                       riding resist tearing apart or             D. Does not protect your face as well
                       ballooning up at high speeds.                 as goggles.
                                                                                            Answer - page 40

    At minimum, your street-legal               are licensed and know how to ride

                                                                                           KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE
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
     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

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

     Horn Button                                                           Throttle

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

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

CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE   • Make all the checks you would           • Brake Light — Try both brake
                          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
                                                                  should make before every trip, check
                        • Tires — Check the air pressure,
                                                                  the following items at least once a
                           general wear and tread.
                                                                  week: Wheels, cables, fasteners and
                        • Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. At a      fluid levels. Follow your owner’s
                           minimum, check hydraulic fluids
                                                                  manual to get recommendations.
                           and coolants weekly. Look under
                           the motorcycle for signs of an oil
                           or gas leak.                            2                       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.
                        • Turn Signals — Turn on both              C. Are caused by worn tires.
                           right and left turn signals. Make       D. Involve riders who have ridden
                                                                      their motorcycles less than six
                           sure all lights are working                months.
                           properly.                                                         Answer - page 40

                                                                                      KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
KNOW YOUR                                   • Be visible — wear proper
RESPONSIBILITIES                               clothing, use your headlight, ride
                                               in the best lane position to see and
     “Accident” implies an
                                               be seen.
unforeseen event that occurs without
anyone’s fault or negligence. Most          • Communicate your intentions —
often in traffic, that is not the case. In      use the proper signals, brake light
fact, most people involved in a crash          and lane position.
can usually claim some responsibility       • Maintain an adequate space
for what takes place.                          cushion — following, being
     Consider a situation where                followed, lane sharing, passing
someone decides to try to squeeze              and being passed.
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:

                     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.
                   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
                                                         pick up speed smoothly. Learning to
                                      RIGHT              use the gears when downshifting,
                                                         turning or starting on hills is
                                                         important for safe motorcycle
                                                              Shift down through the gears
                                                         with the clutch as you slow or stop.
                                                         Remain in first gear while you are
                                                         stopped so that you can move out
                                                         quickly if you need to.

     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
                                             manual for a detailed explanation
     It is best to change gears before       on the operation and effective use
entering a turn. However, sometimes          of these systems.)
shifting while in the turn is necessary.
If so, remember to do so smoothly. A       TURNING
sudden change in power to the rear              Riders often try to take curves or
wheel can cause a skid.                    turns too fast. When they can’t hold

                                           the turn, they end up crossing into
BRAKING                                    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        Use four steps for better control:
of your total stopping power. The
                                           • SLOW
front brake is safe to use if you use
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.

                 • ROLL — Roll on the throttle              3.                     Test Yourself
                    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 40

                  TURNS                                    KEEPING YOUR
                                                                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.
                 keeping your body straight.                    Your lane position should:
                                                           • Increase your ability to see and be
                  SLOW, TIGHT TURNS
                                                           • Avoid others’ blind spots.
                                                           • Avoid surface hazards.
                                                           • Protect your lane from other
                                                           • Communicate your intentions.
                                                           • Avoid wind blast from other
                                                           • Provide an escape route.
                                                                Select the appropriate path to
                                                           maximize your space cushion and
                                                           make yourself more easily seen by
                                                           others on the road.


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

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
position as traffic situations change.        To gauge your following
Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles and     distance:
other potential problems are on your    • Pick out a marker, such as a
left only. Remain in path 1 or 2 if        pavement marking or lamppost, on
hazards are on your right only. If         or near the road ahead.
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
                                        • If you reach the marker before
portion that collects drippings from
                                           you reach “two,” you are
cars is usually no more than two feet      following too closely.
wide. Unless the road is wet, the
                                             A two-second following distance
average center strip permits adequate
                                        leaves a minimum amount of space to
traction to ride on safely. You can
                                        stop or swerve if the driver ahead
operate to the left or right of the     stops suddenly. It also permits a
grease strip and still be within the    better view of potholes and other
center portion of the traffic lane.      hazards in the road.
Avoid riding on big buildups of oil
                                             A larger cushion of space is
and grease usually found at busy
                                        needed if your motorcycle will take
intersections or toll booths.           longer than normal to stop. If the


                 pavement is slippery, if you cannot       drivers ahead and to prevent lane
                 see through the vehicle ahead, or if      sharing by others.
                 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     PASSING AND BEING PASSED
                 may permit a driver to see you in a
                 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

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
     your lane.                                  there, a passenger may not see you
                                                 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                Do not move into the portion
signs and road markings!
                                              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
                                          /                                             /

LANE SHARING   LANE SHARING                                  another lane if one is open. If there is
                    Cars and motorcycles need a full         no room for a lane change, adjust
               lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is       speed to open up space for the
               usually prohibited.                           merging driver.
                    Riding between rows of stopped
               or moving cars in the same lane can           CARS ALONGSIDE
               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
               • In heavy, bumper-to-bumper                  drop back to find a place clear of
                  traffic.                                    traffic on both sides.
               • When they want to pass you.
               • When you are preparing to turn at            BLIND SPOTS
                  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


                                                              4                      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
                                                              C. Speed up to put distance between
                                                                  you and the tailgater.
                                                              D. Ignore them.
                                                                                        Answer - page 40


     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            infuence 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
    Let’s examine each of these steps.      ahead.
                                         • Vehicles and other traffic —
SEARCH                                      May move into your path and
     Search aggressively ahead, to the      increase the likelihood of a crash.
sides and behind to avoid potential          Think about your time and space
hazards even before they arise. How      requirements in order to maintain a
assertively you search, and how          margin of safety. You must leave
much time and space you have, can        yourself time to react if an
eliminate or reduce harm. Focus even     emergency arises.
more on finding potential escape
routes in or around intersections,       EXECUTE
shopping areas and school and
construction zones.                           Carry out your decision.
     Search for factors such as:              To create more space and
                                         minimize harm from any hazard:
• Oncoming traffic that may turn
   left in front of you.                 • Communicate your presence with
                                            lights and/or horn.
• Traffic coming from the left and
   right.                                • Adjust your speed by
                                            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.
EVALUATE                                 Decision-making becomes more
     Think about how hazards can         complex with three or more hazards.
interact to create risks for you.        Weigh the consequences of each and
Anticipate potential problems and        give equal distance to the hazards.
have a plan to reduce risks.

INTERSECTIONS        In potential high-risk areas, such       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
                 5                       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
                                                              the lane to your right, and cars on
                 A. Ride slower than the speed limit.
                                                              side streets that pull into your lane,
                 B. Cover the clutch and the brakes.
                                                              are the biggest dangers. Your use
                 C. Shift into neutral when slowing.
                                                              of SEE [p. 17] at intersections
                 D. Pull in the clutch when turning.
                                           Answer - page 40   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.

                                                               SMALL 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         BLIND 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.

     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
picture, the rider has moved to the             Remember, the key is to see as
left portion of the lane — away from       much as possible and remain visible
the parked car — so the driver on the      to others while protecting your space.

PARKED CARS    STOP SIGNS                                      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
                                                               PARKING AT CURBS
                   A bigger problem can occur if
              the driver pulls away from the curb
              without checking for traffic behind.
              Even if he does look, he may fail to
              see you.
               6                        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
               D. Guarantees that the other driver will
                  yield to you.
                                           Answer - page 40

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
                                               The best way to help others see
looking for, and most drivers are not
                                          your motorcycle is to keep the
looking for motorcycles. More likely,
                                          headlight on — at all times
they are looking through the skinny,
                                          (although motorcycles sold in the
two-wheeled silhouette in search of
                                          USA since 1978 automatically have
cars that may pose a problem to
                                          the headlights on when running).
                                          Studies show that, during the day, a
     Even if a driver does see you        motorcycle with its light on is twice
coming, you aren’t necessarily safe.

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

     Most crashes occur in broad
daylight. Wear bright-colored

clothing to increase your chances of
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.

                     However, due to a rider’s added          • You slow where others may not
                     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
                     permit, help others notice you by        • Before you slow down. The driver
                     flashing your brake light before you         behind may not expect you to
                     slow down. It is especially important       slow, or may be unsure about
                     to flash your brake light before:            where you will slow. For example,
                                                                 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.

 USING MIRRORS                         HEAD CHECKS

                                                                                  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.

     Some motorcycles have rounded     HORN
(convex) mirrors. These provide a           Be ready to use your horn to
wider view of the road behind than     get someone’s attention quickly.
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
parked car in your mirror. Form a      • A driver in the lane next to you is
mental image of how far away it is.       driving too closely to the vehicle
Then, turn around and look at it to       ahead and may want to pass.
see how close you came.) Practice      • A parked car has someone in the
with your mirrors until you become a      driver’s seat.
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.

NIGHT RIDING      RIDING AT NIGHT                                  CRASH AVOIDANCE
                       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
                  • Increase Distance — Distances                  swerve, two skills critical in avoiding
                     are harder to judge at night than             a crash. It is not always desirable or
                     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
                     These contrasts are missing or dis-

                                                                   the situation is important as well.
                     torted under artificial lights at
                     night. Open up a three-second fol-                 Studies show that most crash-
                     lowing distance or more. And                  involved riders:
                     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.                      The following information offers
                     Taillights bouncing up and down
                                                                   some good advice.
                     can alert you to bumps or rough
                  • 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

                     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
                     lane is best able to help you see, be         brake immediately then reapply it
                     seen and keep an adequate space               firmly. At the same time, press down
                     cushion.                                      on the rear brake. If you accidentally
                                                                   lock the rear brake on a good traction
                   7                       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
                                                Answer - page 40   in a straight line.


    STOPPING DISTANCE                   in the last few feet of stopping. The

                                        motorcycle should then be straight up
                                        and in balance.

                                        SWERVING OR TURNING
                                             Sometimes you may not have
                                        enough room to stop, even if you use
                                        both brakes properly. An object
                                        might appear suddenly in your path.
                                        Or the car ahead might squeal to a
     Always use both brakes at the
                                        stop. The only way to avoid a crash
same time to stop. The front brake
                                        may be to turn quickly, or swerve
can provide 70% or more of the
                                        around it.
potential stopping power.
     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


CORNERING   feet solidly on the footrests. Let the    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
            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,
            SEPARATE IT FROM SWERVING.                     Ride within your skill level and
            Brake before or after — never while       posted speed limits.
            swerving.                                      Your best path may not always
                                                      follow the curve of the road.

Change lane position depending on             HANDLING DANGEROUS

                                                                                       DANGEROUS SURFACES
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
 8                      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.
 D. Use both brakes at the same time.         • Make sure the motorcycle is
                           Answer - page 40       straight.


• 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
     If you ride over an object on the         track will be the best position,
street, pull off the road and check            depending on traffic and other 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.
                                               You may slip and fall.
SLIPPERY SURFACES                           • Dirt and gravel collect along the
     Motorcycles handle better when            sides of the road — especially on
ridden on surfaces that permit good            curves and ramps leading to and
traction. Surfaces that provide poor           from highways. Be aware of what’s
traction include:                              on the edge of the road,
                                               particularly when making sharp
• Wet pavement, particularly just              turns and getting on or off
   after it starts to rain and before          freeways at high speeds.
   surface oil washes to the side of
   the road.                                • Rain dries and snow melts faster
                                               on some sections of a road than
• Gravel roads, or where sand and              on others. Patches of ice tend to
   gravel collect.                             develop in low or shaded areas
• Mud, snow, and ice.                          and on bridges and overpasses.
• Lane markings (painted lines),               Wet surfaces or wet leaves are just
    steel plates and manhole covers,           as slippery. Ride on the least
    especially when wet.                       slippery portion of the lane and
    To ride safely on slippery                 reduce speed.
surfaces:                                        Cautious riders steer clear of
                                            roads covered with ice or snow. If you
• Reduce Speed — Slow down
   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

 CROSSTRACKS-RIGHT                          enough away from tracks, ruts, or

                                                                                             TRACKING GRATINGS
                                            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.
                                             GRATE CROSSINGS-RIGHT
     Usually it is safer to ride straight
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-WRONG                       9                         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
                                             C. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.
                                             D. Increase your speed.
                                                                         Answer - page 40

                      PROBLEMS                                        Twist the throttle back and forth
                           You can find yourself in an            several times. If the throttle cable is
                      emergency the moment something             stuck, this may free it. If the throttle
                      goes wrong with your motorcycle. In        stays stuck, immediately operate the
                      dealing with any mechanical                engine cut-off switch and pull in the
                      problem, take into account the road        clutch at the same time. This will
                      and traffic conditions you face. Here       remove power from the rear wheel,
                      are some guidelines that can help you      though engine sound may not
                      handle mechanical problems safely.         immediately decline. Once the
                                                                 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
                           If the front tire goes flat, the       start to shake from side to side at any
                      steering will feel “heavy.” A              speed. Most wobbles can be traced to
                      front-wheel flat is particularly            improper loading, unsuitable
                      hazardous because it affects your          accessories or incorrect tire pressure.
                      steering. You have to steer well to        If you are carrying a heavy load,
                      keep your balance.                         lighten it. If you can’t, shift it. Center
                                                                 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
                      • When the motorcycle slows, edge          the cause, have the motorcycle
                         to the side of the road, squeeze the    checked out thoroughly by a qualified
                         clutch and stop.                        professional.

    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
• Move your weight as far forward             from the rear wheel. Pull off the road
  and down as possible.                       and stop. Check the oil. If needed, oil
                                              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
 10                     Test Yourself         locked rear wheel. Let the engine
 If your motorcycle starts to wobble:         cool before restarting.
 A. Accelerate out of the wobble.
 B. Use the brakes gradually.                 ANIMALS
 C. Grip the handlebars firmly and
     close the throttle gradually.                 Naturally, you should do
 D. Downshift.                                everything you safely can to avoid
                           Answer - page 40   hitting an animal. If you are in traffic,
                                              however, remain in your lane. Hitting
CHAIN PROBLEMS                                something small is less dangerous to
                                              you than hitting something big —
    A chain that slips or breaks while
                                              like a car.
you’re riding could lock the rear
wheel and cause your cycle to skid.                Motorcycles seem to attract
Chain slippage or breakage can be             dogs. If you are chased, downshift
avoided by proper maintenance.                and approach the animal slowly. As
                                              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
  the problem is a worn or stretched               For larger animals (deer, elk,
  chain or worn or bent sprockets,            cattle) brake and prepare to stop —
  replace the chain, the sprockets or         they are unpredictable.
  both before riding again.                    11                       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 40

                            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
                       and your hands on the handlebars.
                       When safe, pull off the road and              To carry passengers safely:
                       repair the damage.                       • Equip and adjust your
                                                                   motorcycle to carry passengers.
                       GETTING OFF THE ROAD                     • Instruct the passenger before you

                            If you need to leave the road to       start.
                       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

                          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.

INSTRUCTING PASSENGERS                        • Ride a little slower, especially

                                                                                        CARRYING PASSENGERS
                                                 when taking curves, corners or
     Even if your passenger is a
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.
• Sit as far forward as possible              • Wait for larger gaps to cross,
   without crowding you.                         enter or merge in traffic.
• Hold firmly to your waist, hips,                  Warn your passenger of special
   belts or to the bike’s passenger           conditions — when you will pull out,
   handholds.                                 stop quickly, turn sharply or ride over
• Keep both feet on the footrests,            a bump. Turn your head slightly to
   even when stopped.                         make yourself understood, but keep
                                              your eyes on the road ahead.
• Keep legs away from the
   muffler(s), chains or moving parts.
                                              CARRYING LOADS
• Stay directly behind you, leaning
   as you lean.                                    Most motorcycles are not
                                              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
• Approach surface problems.                     saddlebags. Piling loads against a
• Are about to start from a stop.                sissybar or frame on the back of
                                                 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
     Your motorcycle will respond                rear axle. Tankbags keep loads
more slowly with a passenger on                  forward, but use caution when
board. The heavier your passenger,               loading hard or sharp objects.
the longer it will take to slow down             Make sure the tankbag does not
and speed up — especially on a light             interfere with handlebars or
motorcycle.                                      controls. Mounting loads behind
                                                 the rear axle can affect how the
 12                     Test Yourself            motorcycle turns and brakes. It can
 Passengers should:                              also cause a wobble.
 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 40
                                                 one side.

GROUP RIDING   • Secure the Load — Fasten the               down a little to stay with the
                 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, if
                 attachment point per side are more         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
                 or moved.                                allow each rider in the group time
                                                          and space to react to hazards. A close
               GROUP RIDING                               group takes up less space on the
                                                          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       Staggered Formation — This is the
               lights. Riders won’t always be               best way to keep ranks close yet
               hurrying to catch up. If your group is       maintain an adequate space
               larger than four or five riders, divide
               it up into two or more smaller groups.      STAGGERED FORMATION
               • 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
               • 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

   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 side
   the right side of the lane.
                                            after passing a vehicle. This is not a
      A third rider maintains in the left   good idea. It encourages the second
position, two seconds behind the first       rider to pass and cut back in before
rider. The fourth rider would keep a        there is a large enough space cushion
two-second distance behind the              in front of the passed vehicle. It’s
second rider. This formation keeps          simpler and safer to wait until there
the group close and permits each            is enough room ahead of the passed
rider a safe distance from others           vehicle to allow each rider to move
ahead, behind and to the sides.             into the same position held before
• Passing in Formation — Riders             the pass.
    in a staggered formation should         Single-File Formation — It is best
    pass one at a time.                        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           13                      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 safely,        position themselves:
    the second rider should move up to       A. Just behind the leader.
    the left position and watch for a        B. In front of the group.
    safe chance to pass. After passing,      C. At the tail end of the group.
    this rider should return to the right    D. Beside the leader.
                                                                        Answer - page 40
    position and

                         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

                         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
                         about the effects of alcohol and other        Alcohol enters the bloodstream
                         drugs you will see that riding and        quickly. Unlike most foods and

beverages, it does not need to be        Your sex, physical condition and food

                                                                                    BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION
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
your blood, the greater the degree of         Without taking into account any
impairment.                              other factors, these examples
                                         illustrate 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
   consume.                              – Seven drinks over the span of three
                                         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
     Other factors also contribute to    would need at least another four
the way alcohol affects your system.     hours to eliminate the four remaining
                                         drinks before they consider riding.


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

                      begins well below the legal limit.          • Costs — Additional lawyer’s fees
                                                                     to pay, lost work time spent in
                      ALCOHOL AND THE LAW                            court or alcohol-education
                           In most states, a person with a           programs, public transportation
                      BAC of .08% or above is considered             costs (while your license is
                      intoxicated; in others the legal limit is      suspended) and the added
                      .10%. It doesn’t matter how sober              psychological costs of being
                      you may look or act. The breath or             tagged a “drunk driver.”
                      urine test is what usually determines
                      whether you are riding legally or           MINIMIZE THE RISKS
                      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
                      on drinking operators. And those                 Setting a limit or pacing yourself
                      penalties are mandatory, meaning            are poor alternatives at best. Your
                                                                  ability to exercise good judgment is

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
     Or Don’t Ride — If you haven’t       time, you will never have to say,
controlled your drinking, you must        “If only I had ...”
control your riding.
• Leave the motorcycle —                  FATIGUE
   so you won’t be tempted to ride.             Riding a motorcycle is more
   Arrange another way to get home.       tiring than driving a car. On a long
• Wait — If you exceed your               trip, you’ll tire sooner than you would
   limit, wait until your system          in a car. Avoid riding when tired.
   eliminates the alcohol and its         Fatigue can affect your control of the
   fatiguing effects.                     motorcycle.
STEP IN TO                                • Protect yourself from the
PROTECT FRIENDS                               elements — Wind, cold, and rain
                                              make you tire quickly. Dress
     People who have had too much to
                                              warmly. A windshield is worth its
drink are unable to make a responsible        cost if you plan to ride long
decision. It is up to others to step in       distances.
and keep them from taking too great a
                                          • Limit your distance — Experi-
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.       14                       Test Yourself
• Keep them there — Use any                If you wait one hour per drink for the
   excuse to keep them from getting        alcohol to be eliminated from your
   on their motorcycle. Serve them         body before riding:
   food and coffee to pass the time.       A. You cannot be arrested for drinking
   Explain your concerns for their            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
                                              still remain.
• Get friends involved — Use peer          D. You will be okay as long as you ride
   pressure from a group of friends           slowly.
                                                                      Answer - page 40
   to intervene.

                       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.
                       your brake light when:                       B. Shift your weight toward the good
                       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-C,     2-D,    3-D,      4-A,    5-B,    _____________________________________
                         6-C,     7-D     8-D,      9-C,    10-C,   Answers to above Knowledge Test:
                         11-D, 12-A, 13-A, 14-C                       1-B,   2-C,    3-C,   4-C,     5-B

ON-MOTORCYCLE SKILL                       • Adjust speed and position to the
TEST                                         traffic situation.
     Basic vehicle control and            • Stop, turn and swerve quickly.
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 license with full privileges, most
   states require that maneuvers be performed as designed.
   On-motorcycle skill tests are not designed for sidecars or three-wheeled
   vehicles. Those vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled
   motorcycle. Depending on the state, an examiner may follow you on a car
   test-route. Restrictions (sidecar, three-wheeled vehicle) may be added
   until completion of a two-wheeled motorcycle test.

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

    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 toll free: 800.446.9227

      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 pro-                                             Because there are many differences in
grams 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, Ven-                                                  will continue to research, field test and
geance, Victory 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

                                             Printing and distribution courtesy of
                                 Motorcycle Safety Foundation
                       2 Jenner Street, Suite 150, Irvine, CA 92618-3806

        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

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