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PREFACE

Because operating a motorcycle is different than operating a motor


vehicle, the Motorcycle Operator Manual was produced.

The manual is an important tool for the inexperienced rider to gain the
information necessary to operate a motorcycle safely in traffic. Even the
experienced rider can find something new in this manual.

Education and public awareness are the keys to reducing the number
of motorcyclists killed and injured on our highways. The Motorcycle
Ohio (MO) program, offered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety,
provides motorcycle safety courses for riders, as well as public informa-
tion campaigns. Information on the course is included in this manual
or can be obtained by calling 1-800-83-RIDER. Research comparing
MO graduates and untrained motorcyclists has found that course gradu-
ates involved in crashes are more likely to be helmeted, insured and
unimpaired.

The motorcycle crash problem is complex. A variety of countermeasures


have been implemented over the past several years to effectively reduce
the number of fatalities and injuries associated with motorcycle crashes
in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Public Safety is making every effort
possible to provide the programs and education to reduce the tragedies
suffered on our roadways by motorcyclists.

Reading this manual and gaining the knowledge required to operate a


motorcycle safely will add to the enjoyment you experience as a mo-
torcycle rider.

To schedule a road test, visit www.ohiodrivingtest.com.r Ohio,


CONTENTS
How to Obtain a Temporary Motorcycle Learner’s Permit.................................. i
How To Obtain a Motorcycle License or Endorsement . .................................... ii
Motorcycle Ohio (MO) Program........................................................................ iii
MO’s Instructor Preparation............................................................................... iv

PREPARING TO RIDE
Wear The Right Gear . .................................................................................... 1
Helmet Use....................................................................................................... 1
Helmet Selection . ............................................................................................ 1
Eye and Face Protection................................................................................... 2
Clothing............................................................................................................ 2
Know Your Motorcycle . ................................................................................ 3
The Right Motorcycle for You . ....................................................................... 3
Borrowing and Lending . ................................................................................. 3
Get Familiar with the Motorcycle Controls . ................................................... 4
Check Your Motorcycle ................................................................................... 5
Know Your Responsibilities............................................................................. 5

RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES


Basic Vehicle Control..................................................................................... 7
Body Position .................................................................................................. 7
Shifting Gears................................................................................................... 7
Braking............................................................................................................. 8
Turning ............................................................................................................ 8
Keeping Your Distance .................................................................................... 9
Lane Positions . ................................................................................................ 9
Following Another Vehicle ............................................................................ 10
Being Followed . ............................................................................................ 11
Passing and Being Passed . ............................................................................ 11
Lane Sharing . ................................................................................................ 12
Merging Cars.................................................................................................. 13
Cars Alongside . ............................................................................................. 13
See .................................................................................................................... 14
Intersections.................................................................................................... 15
Blind Intersections.......................................................................................... 16
Passing Parked Cars . ..................................................................................... 16
Parking at the Roadside.................................................................................. 17
Increasing Visibility. ...................................................................................... 17
Clothing.......................................................................................................... 18
Headlights....................................................................................................... 18
Signals ........................................................................................................... 18
Brake Light..................................................................................................... 19
Using Your Mirrors . ...................................................................................... 19
Head Checks................................................................................................... 19
Horn................................................................................................................ 20
Riding at Night............................................................................................... 20
Crash Avoidance ............................................................................................. 21
Quick Stops . .................................................................................................. 21
Swerving or Turning Quickly......................................................................... 21
Cornering........................................................................................................ 22
Handling Dangerous Surfaces....................................................................... 23
Uneven Surfaces and Obstacles . ................................................................... 24
Slippery Surfaces ........................................................................................... 24
Railroad Tracks, Trolley Tracks and Pavement Seams . ................................ 25
Grooves and Gratings..................................................................................... 26
Mechanical Problems..................................................................................... 26
Tire Failure..................................................................................................... 26
Stuck Throttle................................................................................................. 27
Wobble ........................................................................................................... 27
Chain Problems . ............................................................................................ 27
Engine Seizure................................................................................................ 28
Animals............................................................................................................. 28
Flying Objects................................................................................................. 28
Getting Off The Road.................................................................................... 28
Carrying Passengers And Cargo................................................................... 29
Equipment . .................................................................................................... 29
Instructing Passengers.................................................................................... 29
Riding With Passengers.................................................................................. 29
Carrying Loads............................................................................................... 30
Group Riding.................................................................................................... 30
Keep the Group Small.................................................................................... 30
Keep the Group Together . ............................................................................. 30
Keep Your Distance........................................................................................ 31

BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE


Why This Information Is Important.............................................................. 33
Alcohol And Other Drugs In Motorcycle Operation. ............................. 33
Alcohol In The Body...................................................................................... 34
Blood Alcohol Concentration......................................................................... 34
Alcohol And The Law. ................................................................................... 35
Alcohol And Ohio’s Law................................................................................ 35
Consequences of Conviction.......................................................................... 35
Minimize The Risks.......................................................................................... 36
Step In To Protect Friends............................................................................ 36
Fatigue.............................................................................................................. 37

EARNING YOUR LICENSE


Knowledge Test . ............................................................................................ 38
On-Cycle Skill Test....................................................................................... 39
Did You Know.................................................................................................. 39

Ohio Driver License Exam Stations


Ohio Driver License Exam Stations.............................................................. 41
HOW TO OBTAIN A TEMPORARY
MOTORCYCLE LEARNER’S PERMIT
Step 1: To help you study for the Temporary Permit Holder
knowledge test, be sure to Special Restrictions
pick up a Motorcycle Operator
Manual and a Digest of Ohio • Daylight hours only
Motor Vehicle Laws.
• No passengers
Step 2: Proceed to any exam station to
complete the knowledge test. • Not valid on congested roads and
interstate highways
Step 3: Call to schedule an appointment
for your motorcycle skills test • Must wear approved protective
or contact Motorcycle Ohio. helmet and use eye protection

Step 4: Upon successfully passing the


knowledge and skills test you
may be issued a receipt to be
taken to any Deputy Registrar YOU MUST HAVE A VALID
along with your motorcycle MOTORCYCLE PERMIT
Te m p o r a r y I n s t r u c t i o n OR ENDORSEMENT
Permit Identification Card TO PARTICIPATE IN A
(T.I.P.I.C.). MOTORCYCLE RIDER
COURSE.

The permit is valid one year from issue and allows you to ride
with some restrictions.

i
HOW TO OBTAIN A MOTORCYCLE LICENSE
OR ENDORSEMENT
Anyone wishing to obtain a motorcycle Step 3: After you have passed the on-
license or endorsement must either cycle test, the examiner may
complete motorcycle skills testing at provide you with a receipt to
an Driver Exam Station or complete the take to any Deputy Registrar
Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course. agency.

Applicants under 18 years of age are Step 4: Present the T.I.P.I.C. along with
required to complete the Motorcycle Ohio a receipt (for motorcycle-only
Basic Course and complete Graduated license holders) or driver li-
Driver Licensing requirements to be cense (for motorcycle endorse-
eligible to purchase the motorcycle ment holders) to the Deputy
license or endorsement. Applicants 18 Registrar to receive the license
years of age or older are not required or endorsement. A fee will be
to complete the motorcycle course to charged for the new license.
attempt the motorcycle skills test.
Complete the Motorcycle Ohio
The Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course Basic Course
completion card is valid to waive
Step 1: After successfully completing
motorcycle skills testing for a period of
the Motorcycle Ohio Basic
60 days from the date of issuance. After
Course, you will be issued a
60 days, all applicants for a motorcycle
course completion card by the
license or endorsement must complete
course instructor.
motorcycle skills testing at the driver
license exam station. Step 2: Within 60 days of card issu-
ance, present the motorcycle
Testing to Obtain your temporary permit (T.I.P.I.C.) to
Motorcycle License/ the Deputy Registrar to receive
Endorsement the license or endorsement.
A fee will be charged for the
Step 1: Contact a driver license exam license.
station to make an appointment
for the on-cycle examination.
No fee is charged for this test. Note: All first-year endorsed opera-
tors and any passengers must
Step 2: You must bring your T.I.P.I.C. wear a helmet.
and a street-legal motorcycle
to the exam site. A helmet and
eye protection must be worn
during the test.

ii
MOTORCYCLE OHIO PROGRAM
about the Basic rider will have the State of Ohio skill test
course waived and will receive their mo-
torcycle endorsement/license upon
• Motorcycles, helmets and work- presenting the (T.I.P.I.C.) to a Deputy
books are provided. Registrar within 60 days. Graduates
under 18 years of age must also meet
• Students must have a validat- Graduated Driver License require-
ed motorcycle temporary per- ments.
mit (T.I.P.I.C.) or motorcycle en-
dorsement before the first riding About the EXPERIENCED
session. rider course

• Students must provide their own • Students must bring their own
over-the-ankle sturdy footwear, motorcycle, proof of motorcycle
gloves, long shirt or jacket, long insurance, over-the-ankle sturdy
pants and a Department of Trans- footwear, gloves, long shirt or jacket,
portation–approved helmet if they long pants and a Department of
bring their own. Transportation–approved helmet.

• A $25 non-refundable fee is charged • Each operator must have a mo-


to all participants except 15½ torcycle endorsement or motor-
– 17-year-olds. cycle license before the first riding
session.
• Each motorcycle rider course is
scheduled for 16 hours. • A tuition of $25 per person is
charged to cover some of the cost.
• As a minimum, each student must
be able to ride a bicycle. • Each Experienced Rider Course is
scheduled for six hours.
• All course times and dates are
subject to change. • Co-riders may participate in the
Experienced Rider Course and will
The Motorcycle Ohio Rider Course is be charged a tuition of $25.
FREE to all individuals ages
15½ – 17. • All course times and dates are
subject to change.
A fee of $25 is required for individuals
ages 18 and older. Visit our Web site at
www.motorcycle.ohio.gov or call
Students who successfully complete 1-800-83-RIDER for a course location
the Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course near you!

iii
MOTORCYCLE OHIO INSTRUCTOR
PREPARATION
Scheduling
General information • The IPC will take place on five
Saturdays and/or Sundays from
Prior to the course 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Student teaching
• All Instructor Candidates (IC) will be scheduled on a regular
must have taken and successfully scheduled BRC weekend. The IC
completed the Basic Rider Course must be present for the entire BRC
(BRC) within 24 months prior to course.
the Instructor Preparation Course
(IPC). No other course, such as the Contents
Experienced Rider Course (ERC), • The instructional portion of the IPC
will meet this requirement. This is will consist of approximately 40
to insure that the IC has a working hours of time, split between class-
knowledge of the course structure, room and range. The purpose of this
is familiar with the curriculum and portion of the IPC is to teach the
can perform all of the exercises. candidates how to teach the BRC
to novice students.
• All IC’s must complete a home
study assignment prior to the start • Besides the BRC curriculum, other
date of the IPC. This assignment topics will include background and
will take the average candidate organizational information, class-
approximately six to eight hours to room teaching techniques, range
complete. The purpose of this home coaching techniques and range
study assignment is to thoroughly management.
familiarize the candidate with all
written materials. Completion requirements
• Candidates must attend all sched-
• All IC’s must be registered for the uled sessions of the IPC and must
IPC with a tuition fee, up to $100, attend the entire BRC course during
paid to Motorcycle Ohio no later student teaching.
than two weeks prior to the start
date of the course. • All IC’s must pass a riding test, a
closed book written test and suc-
• Motorcycle Ohio reserves the cessfully pass a student teaching
right to cancel an IPC due to low evaluation in order to become certi-
enrollment. fied instructors.

• All applicants must be pre-ap- • At the discretion of the MO staff,


proved by the Motorcycle Ohio an IPC qualifying session may be
Coordinator to become enrolled in scheduled to administer the riding
the IPC. test, pass out course materials and
answer IC questions.
iv
Interested in Becoming a MO Instructor?
The MO Program has a need for skilled and dedicated motorcyclists with good
communication skills.

Yes, send me more information.

NAME

ADDRESS

CITY STATE ZIP CODE

DAYTIME PHONE

( )

Instructor candidate qualifications


• High school graduate
• Experienced motorcycle operator
• Licensed motorcyclist for three years
• Driving record with no more than five points within a three-year period
during the last five years
• Graduate of the Basic Rider Course, or will be prior to the Instructor
Prep Course

To receive more information, go to www.motorcycle.ohio.gov or mail this com-


pleted form to:

Ohio Department of Public Safety


Motorcycle Ohio
P.O. Box 182081
Columbus, Ohio 43218-2081

PREPARING TO RIDE
What you do before you start a trip goes Here are some facts to consider:
a long way toward determining whether • An approved helmet lets you see
or not you’ll get where you want to go as far to the sides as necessary. A
safely. Before taking off on any trip, a study of more than 900 motorcycle
safe rider makes a point to: crashes, where 40% of the riders
1. Wear the right gear. wore helmets, did not find even one
2. Become familiar with the case in which a helmet kept a rider
motorcycle. from spotting danger.
3. Check the motorcycle • Most crashes happen on short trips
equipment. (less than five miles long), just a
4. Be a responsible rider. few minutes after starting out.
• Most riders are riding slower than
Wear the right gear 30 mph when a crash occurs. At
When you ride, your gear is “right” if these speeds, helmets can decrease
it protects you. In any crash, you have both the number and the severity of
a far better chance of avoiding serious head injuries by one-half.
injury if you wear:
• An approved helmet No matter what the speed, helmeted
• Face or eye protection riders are three times more likely to
• Protective clothing survive head injuries than those not
wearing helmets at the time of the
Helmet Use crash.
Crashes can occur — particularly among
untrained, beginning riders. One out of Helmet Selection
every five motorcycle crashes results in There are two primary types of helmets,
head or neck injuries. Head injuries are providing two different levels of
just as severe as neck injuries — and coverage: three-quarter and full face.
far more common. Crash analyses show
that head and neck injuries account for Whichever style you choose, you can
a majority of serious and fatal injuries get the most protection by making sure
to motorcyclists. Research also shows that the helmet:
that, with few exceptions, head and neck • Meets U.S. Department of Trans-
injuries are reduced by properly wearing portation (DOT) and state stan-
an approved helmet. dards. Helmets with a label from the
Snell Memorial Foundation give
Some riders don’t wear helmets because you an added assurance of quality.
they think helmets will limit their view • Fits snugly, all the way around.
to the sides. Others wear helmets only • Has no obvious defects such as
on long trips or when riding at high cracks, loose padding or frayed
speeds. straps.

1
HELMETS

Full Face Three-Quarter

Whatever helmet you choose, keep it To be effective, eye or faceshield


securely fastened on your head when protection must:
you ride. Otherwise, if you are involved • Be free of scratches.
in a crash, it’s likely to fly off your head • Be resistant to penetration.
before it gets a 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 faceshield can • Permit air to pass through, to
help protect your whole face in a crash. reduce fogging.
It also protects you from wind, dust, • Permit enough room for eyeglass-
dirt, rain, insects and pebbles thrown es or sunglasses, if needed.
up from cars ahead. These problems are
distracting and can be painful. If you Tinted eye protection should not be
have to deal with them, you can’t devote worn at night or any other time when
your full attention to the road. little light is available.

Goggles protect your eyes, though they Clothing


won’t protect the rest of your face like The right clothing protects you in a
a faceshield does. A windshield is not a collision. It also provides comfort,
substitute for a faceshield or goggles. as well as protection from heat, cold,
Most windshields will not protect debris and hot and moving parts of the
your eyes from the wind. Neither will motorcycle.
eyeglasses or sunglasses. Glasses won’t
keep your eyes from watering, and they • Jacket and pants should cover
might blow off when you turn your head arms and legs completely. They
while riding. should fit snugly enough to keep
from flapping in the wind, yet
loosely enough to move freely.

2
Leather offers the most protection. • Check the motorcycle before
Sturdy synthetic material provides every ride.
a lot of protection as well. Wear • Keep it in safe riding condition
a jacket even in warm weather to between rides.
prevent dehydration. Many are • Avoid add-ons and modifications
designed to protect without getting that make your motorcycle harder
you overheated, even on summer to handle.
days. 1 Test Yourself
• Boots or shoes should be high
and sturdy enough to cover your A plastic shatter-resistant face
shield:
ankles and give them support. Soles
should be made of hard, durable, A. Is not necessary if you have a
slip-resistant material. Keep heels windshield
short so they do not catch on rough B. Only protects your eyes
C. Helps protect your whole face
surfaces. Tuck in laces so they D. Does not protect your face as
won’t catch on your motorcycle. well as goggles
• Gloves allow a better grip and help Answer - page 39
protect your hands in a crash. Your
gloves should be made of leather or
similar durable material. The Right Motorcycle For You
First, make sure your motorcycle is right
In cold or wet weather, your clothes for you. It should “fit” you. Your feet
should keep you warm and dry, as should reach the ground while you are
well as protect you from injury. You seated on the motorcycle.
cannot control a motorcycle well if
you are numb. Riding for long periods At minimum, your street-legal
in cold weather can cause severe chill motorcycle should have:
and fatigue. A winter jacket should • Headlight, taillight and brake light
resist wind and fit snugly at the neck, • Front and rear brakes
wrists and waist. Good-quality rainsuits • Turn signals
designed for motorcycle riding resist • Horn
tearing apart or ballooning up at high • Two mirrors
speeds.
Borrowing and Lending
KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE Borrowers and lenders of motorcycles,
There are plenty of things on the beware. Crashes are fairly common
highway that can cause you trouble. among beginning riders — especially
Your motorcycle should not be one of in the first months of riding. Riding
them. To make sure that your motorcycle an unfamiliar motorcycle adds to the
won’t let you down: problem. If you borrow a motorcycle,
• Read the owner’s manual first. get familiar with it in a controlled area.
• Start with the right motorcycle for If you lend your motorcycle to friends,
you. make sure they are licensed and know
• Be familiar with the motorcycle how to ride before allowing them out
controls. into traffic.
3
No matter how experienced you may If you are going to use an unfamiliar
be, ride extra carefully on any motor- motorcycle:
cycle that’s new or unfamiliar to you. • Make all the checks you would on
More than half of all crashes occur on your own motorcycle.
motorcycles ridden by the operator for • Find out where everything is, par-
less than six months. ticularly the turn signals, horn,
headlight switch, fuel-supply valve
Get Familiar with the and engine cut-off switch. Find and
Motorcycle Controls operate these items without having
Make sure you are completely familiar to look for them.
with the motorcycle before you take it • Know the gear pattern. Work the
out on the street. Be sure to review the throttle, clutch and brakes a few
owner’s manual. This is particularly times before you start riding. All
important if you are riding a borrowed controls react a little differently.
motorcycle. • Ride very cautiously and be aware
of surroundings. Accelerate gently,
take turns more slowly and leave
extra room for stopping.

MOTORCYCLE CONTROLS

4
Check Your Motorcycle behind and as much as possible of
A motorcycle needs more frequent atten- the lane next to you. When properly
tion than a car. A minor technical failure adjusted, a mirror may show the
in a car seldom leads to anything more edge of your arm or shoulder—but
than an inconvenience for the driver. it’s the road behind and to the side
that’s most important.
If something’s wrong with the motor- • Brakes – Try the front and rear
cycle, you’ll want to find out about it brake levers one at a time. Make
before you get in traffic. Make a com- sure each one feels firm and holds
plete check of your motorcycle before the motorcycle when the brake is
every ride. fully applied.
• Horn – Try the horn. Make sure it
Before mounting the motorcycle, make works.
the following checks:
• Tires – Check the air pressure, In addition to the checks you should
general wear and tread. make before every trip, check the fol-
• Fluids – Oil and fluid levels. At a lowing items at least once a week:
minimum, check hydraulic fluids wheels, cables, fasteners and fluid lev-
and coolants weekly. Look under els. Follow your owner’s manual to get
the motorcycle for signs of an oil recommendations.
or gas leak.
• Headlights and taillight – Check
them both. Test your switch to make
sure both high and low beams are 2 Test Yourself
working.
• Turn signals – Turn on both right More than half of all crashes:
and left turn signals. Make sure all
A.
Occur at speeds greater than
lights are working properly. 35 mph
• Brake light – Try both brake con- B.
Happen at night
trols, and make sure each one turns C.
Are caused by worn tires
D.
Involve riders who have ridden
on the brake light.
their motorcycles less than six
months
Once you have mounted the motorcycle, Answer - page 39
complete the following checks before
starting out:
• Clutch and throttle – Make sure
they work smoothly. The throttle
Know your
should snap back when you let go.
The clutch should feel tight and
Responsibilities
“Accident” implies an unforeseen event
smooth.
that occurs without anyone’s fault or
• Mirrors – Clean and adjust both
negligence. Most often in traffic, that
mirrors before starting. It’s dif-
is not the case. In fact, most people in-
ficult to ride with one hand while
volved in a crash can usually claim some
you try to adjust a mirror. Adjust
responsibility for what takes place.
each mirror so you can see the lane
5
Consider a situation where someone Blame doesn’t matter when someone
decides to try to squeeze through an is injured in a crash. There is rarely a
intersection on a yellow light turning single cause of any crash. The ability to
red. Your light turns green. You pull ride aware, make critical decisions and
into the intersection without checking carry them out separates responsible
for possible latecomers. That is all it riders from all the rest. Remember, it is
takes for the two of you to tangle. It was up to you to keep from being the cause
the driver’s responsibility to stop, and it of, or an unprepared participant in, any
was your responsibility to look before crash.
pulling out. Neither of you held up your
end of the deal. Just because someone
else is the first to start the chain of events
leading to a crash doesn’t leave any of
us free of responsibility.

As a rider you can’t be sure that other


operators will see you or yield the right
of way. To lessen your chances of a crash
occurring:
• Be visible – wear proper clothing,
use your headlight, and ride in the
best lane position to see and be
seen.
• Communicate your intentions –
use the proper signals, brake light
and lane position.
• Maintain an adequate space
cushion – following, being fol-
lowed, lane sharing, passing and
being passed.
• Scan your path of travel 12 sec-
onds ahead.
• Identify and separate multiple
hazards.
• Be prepared to act – remain alert
and know how to carry out proper
crash-avoidance skills.

6
RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES
This manual cannot teach you how to use the proper muscles for precision
control direction, speed or balance. steering.
That’s something you can learn only • Knees – Keep your knees against
through practice. Control begins with the gas tank to help you keep your
knowing your abilities and riding within balance as the motorcycle turns.
them, along with knowing and obeying • Feet – Keep your feet firmly on the
the rules of the road. footrests to maintain balance. Don’t
drag your feet. If your foot catches
Basic Vehicle Control on something, you could be injured,
and it could affect your control of
Body Position the motorcycle. Keep your feet near
• Posture – Sit so you can use your the controls so you can get to them
arms to steer the motorcycle rather quickly if needed. Also, don’t let
than to hold yourself up. your toes point downward — they
• Seat – Sit far enough forward so may get caught between the road
that arms are slightly bent when and the footrests.
you hold the handlegrips. Bending
your arms permits you to press on Shifting Gears
the handlebars without having to There is more to shifting gears than
stretch. simply getting the motorcycle to pick
• Hands – Hold the handlegrips up speed smoothly. Learning to use the
firmly to keep your grip over rough gears when downshifting, turning or
surfaces. Start with your right wrist starting on hills is important for safe
flat. This will help you keep from motorcycle operation.
accidentally using too much throt-
tle. Also, adjust the handlebars so Shift down through the gears with the
your hands are even with or below clutch as you slow or stop. Remain
your elbows. This permits you to in first gear while you are stopped so
that you can move out quickly if you
need to.
HOLDING HANDLEGRIPS
Make certain you are riding slowly
enough when you shift into a lower
gear. If not, the motorcycle will lurch,
and the rear wheel may skid. When
riding downhill or shifting into first
gear, you may need to use the brakes to
slow enough before downshifting safely.
Work toward a smooth, even clutch
release, especially when downshifting.

It is best to change gears before entering


a turn. However, sometimes shifting
7
while in the turn is necessary. If so, Turning
remember to do so smoothly. A sudden Riders often try to take curves or turns
change in power to the rear wheel can too fast. When they can’t hold the turn,
cause a skid. they end up crossing into another lane
of traffic or going off the road, or they
Braking overreact and brake too hard, causing a
Your motorcycle has two brakes: one skid and loss of control. Approach turns
each for the front and rear wheel. Use and curves with caution.
both of them at the same time. The
front brake is more powerful and can Use four steps for better control:
provide at least three-quarters of your • Slow
total stopping power. The front brake is • Look
safe to use if you use it properly. • Press
• Roll
Remember:
• Use both brakes every time you Slow – Reduce speed before the turn
slow or stop. Using both brakes for by closing the throttle and, if necessary,
even routine stops will permit you applying both brakes.
to develop the proper habit or skill
of using both brakes properly in an Look – Look through the turn to where
emergency. Squeeze the front brake you want to go. Turn just your head, not
and press down on the rear. Grabbing your shoulders, and keep your eyes level
at the front brake or jamming down with the horizon.
on the rear can cause the brakes to
lock, resulting in control problems. Press – To turn, the motorcycle must
• If you know the technique, using lean. To lean the motorcycle, press on
both brakes in a turn is possible, the handlegrip in the direction of the
although it should be done very turn. Press left — lean left — go left.
carefully. When leaning the mo- Press right — lean right — go right.
torcycle, some of the traction is Higher speeds and/or tighter turns
used for cornering. Less traction is require the motorcycle to lean more.
available for stopping. A skid can
occur if you apply too much brake. Roll – Roll on the throttle through
Also, using the front brake incor- the turn to stabilize the suspension.
rectly on a slippery surface may be Maintain steady speed or accelerate
hazardous. Use caution and squeeze gradually through the turn. This will
the brake lever, never grab. help keep the motorcycle stable.
• Some motorcycles have integrated
braking systems that activate the
front and rear brakes together
when applying the rear brake pedal.
(Consult the owner’s manual for
a detailed explanation on the op-
eration and effective use of these
systems.)
8
In normal turns, the rider and the 3 Test Yourself
motorcycle should lean together at the
same angle. When riding, you should:
A. Turn your head and shoulders to
TURNS look through turns
B. Keep your arms straight
C. Keep your knees away from the
gas tank
D. Turn just your head and eyes to
look where you are going
Answer - page 39

KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE


The best protection you can have is
distance — a cushion of space — all
around your motorcycle. If someone
else makes a mistake, distance permits
you:
• Time to react.
• Space to maneuver.
In slow tight turns, counterbalance by
leaning the motorcycle only and keeping Lane positions
your body straight. In some ways, the size of the motorcycle
can work to your advantage. Each traffic
SLOW , TIGHT TURNS lane gives a motorcycle three paths of
travel, as indicated in the illustration.

Your lane position should:


• Increase your ability to see and be
seen.
• Avoid others’ blind spots.
• Avoid surface hazards.
• Protect your lane from other
drivers.
• Communicate your intentions.
• Avoid wind blast from other
vehicles.
• Provide an escape route.

Select the appropriate path to maximize
your space cushion and make yourself
more easily seen by others on the
road.

9
LANE POSITION

In general, there is no single best Following Another Vehicle


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

10
FOLLOWING A better way to handle tailgaters is to get
them in front of you. When someone is
following too closely, change lanes and
let them pass. If you can’t do this, slow
down and open up extra space ahead of
you to allow room for both you and the
tailgater to stop. This will also encourage
them to pass. If they don’t pass, you will
have given yourself and the tailgater
more time and space to react in case an
and someone may squeeze in front of emergency does develop ahead.
you, open up a three-second or more
following distance. Passing And Being Passed
Passing and being passed by another
Keep well behind the vehicle ahead even vehicle is not much different than with a
when you are stopped. This will make it car. However, visibility is more critical.
easier to get out of the way if someone Be sure other drivers see you, and you
bears down on you from behind. It will see potential hazards.
also give you a cushion of space if the
vehicle ahead starts to back up for some Passing
reason. 1. Ride in the left portion of the lane at a
safe following distance to increase your
When behind a car, ride where the driver line of sight and make you more visible.
can see you in the rearview mirror. Signal and check for oncoming traffic.
Riding in the center portion of the lane Use your mirrors and turn your head to
should put your image in the middle of look for traffic behind.
the rearview mirror — where a driver is
most likely to see you. 2. When safe, move into the left lane and
accelerate. Select a lane position that
Riding at the far side of a lane may doesn’t crowd the car you are passing
permit a driver to see you in a sideview and provides space to avoid hazards in
mirror, but remember that most drivers your lane.
don’t look at their sideview mirrors
nearly as often as they check the 3. Ride through the blind spot as quickly
rearview mirror. If the traffic situation as possible.
allows, the center portion of the lane is
usually the best place for you to be seen 4. Signal again, complete mirror and
by the drivers ahead and to prevent lane headchecks before returning to your
sharing by others. original lane, and cancel the signal.

Being Followed Remember, passes must be completed


Speeding up to lose someone following within posted speed limits, and only
too closely only ends up with someone where permitted. Know your signs
tailgating you at a higher speed. and road markings.

11
Being Passed Do not move into the portion of the
When you are being passed from behind lane farthest from the passing vehicle. It
or by an oncoming vehicle, stay in the might invite the other driver to cut back
center portion of your lane. Riding into your lane too early.
any closer to them could put you in a
hazardous situation. Lane Sharing
Cars and motorcycles need a full lane to
Avoid being hit by: operate safely. Lane sharing is usually
• The other vehicle – A slight mis- prohibited.
take by you or the passing driver
could cause a sideswipe. Riding between rows of stopped or
• Extended mirrors – Some drivers moving cars in the same lane can leave
forget that their mirrors hang out you vulnerable to the unexpected. A
farther than their fenders. hand could come out of a window;
• Objects thrown from windows– a door could open; a car could turn
Even if the driver knows you’re suddenly. Discourage lane sharing by
there, a passenger may not see you others. Keep a center-portion position
and might toss something on you whenever drivers might be tempted to
or the road ahead of you. squeeze by you.
• Blasts of wind from larger vehi-
cles – They can affect your control. Drivers are most tempted to do this:
You have more room for error if • In heavy, bumper-to-bumper
you are in the middle portion when traffic.
hit by this blast than if you are on • When they want to pass you.
either side of the lane. • When you are preparing to turn at
an intersection.
• When you are moving into an exit
lane or leaving a highway.

PASSING BEING PASSED

12
Merging Cars
MERGING
Drivers on an entrance ramp may not see
you on the highway. Give them plenty
of room. Change to another lane if one
is open. If there is no room for a lane
change, adjust speed to open up space
for the merging driver.

Cars Alongside
Do not ride next to cars or trucks in other
lanes if you do not have to. You might
be in the blind spot of a car in the next
lane, which could switch into your lane
without warning. Cars in the next lane
also block your escape if you come upon
danger in your own lane. Speed up or
drop back to find a place clear of traffic BLIND SPOTS
on both sides.

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 gestures
C. Speed up to put distance
between you and the tailgater
D. Ignore them
Answer - page 39

13
SEE phone poles and trees won’t move
Good experienced riders remain aware into your path but may influence
of what is going on around them. They your riding strategy.
improve their riding strategy by using • Traffic control devices — Look for
SEE, a three-step process used to make traffic signals, including regulatory
appropriate judgments, and apply them signs, warning signs, and pavement
correctly in different traffic situations: markings, to help you evaluate
• Search circumstances ahead.
• Evaluate • Vehicles and other traffic may move
• Execute into your path and increase the
likelihood of a crash.
Let’s examine each of these steps. Think about your time and space
requirements in order to maintain
Search a margin of safety. You must leave
Search aggressively ahead, to the sides yourself time to react if an emergency
and behind to avoid potential hazards arises.
even before they arise. How assertively
you search, and how much time and
Execute
space you have, can eliminate or reduce
Carry out your decision.
harm. Focus even more on finding
potential escape routes in or around
To create more space and minimize harm
intersections, shopping areas and school
from any hazard:
and construction zones.
• Communicate your presence with
Search for factors such as: lights and/or horn.
• Oncoming traffic that may turn
• Adjust your speed by accelerat-
left in front of you. ing, stopping or slowing.
• Traffic coming from the left and • Adjust your position and/or
right. direction.
• Traffic approaching from behind.
• Hazardous road conditions. Apply the old adage “one step at a
time” to handle two or more hazards.
Be especially alert in areas with limited
Adjust speed to permit two hazards to
visibility. Visually “busy” surroundings
separate. Then deal with them one at a
could hide you and your motorcycle
time as single hazards. Decision-making
from others.
becomes more complex with three or
more hazards. Weigh the consequences
Evaluate of each and give equal distance to the
Think about how hazards can interact hazards.
to create risks for you. Anticipate
potential problems and have a plan to In potential high-risk areas, such as
reduce risks. intersections, shopping areas and school
and construction zones, cover the clutch
• Road and surface characteristics— and both brakes to reduce the time you
Potholes, guardrails, bridges, tele- need to react.

14
INTERSECTIONS SMALL INTERSECTIONS
The greatest potential for conflict
between you and other traffic is at
intersections. An intersection can be
in the middle of an urban area or at
a driveway on a residential street —
anywhere traffic may cross your path
of travel. Over one-half of motorcycle/
vehicle crashes are caused by drivers
entering a rider’s right-of-way. Cars
that turn left in front of you, including
cars turning left from the lane to your will. Good riders are always looking for
right, and cars on side streets that pull trouble — not to get into it, but to stay
into your lane, are the biggest dangers. out of it.
Your use of SEE (p. 14) at intersections
is critical. Increase your chances of being seen at
intersections. Ride with your headlight
There are no guarantees that others see on in a lane position that provides
you. Never count on eye contact as a the best view of oncoming traffic.
sign that a driver will yield. Too often, Provide a space cushion around the
a driver looks right at a motorcyclist and motorcycle that permits you to take
still fails to see him or her. The only eyes evasive action.
that you can count on are your own. If
a car can enter your path, assume that it
LARGE INTERSECTIONS

15
As you approach the intersection, select a BLIND INTERSECTIONS
lane position that increases your visibility
to the driver. Cover the clutch and both
brakes to reduce reaction time.

Reduce your speed as you approach


an intersection. After entering the
intersection, move away from vehicles
preparing to turn. Do not change speed
or position radically. The driver might
think that you are preparing to turn.

Blind Intersections
If you approach a blind intersection,
move to the portion of the lane that will
bring you into another driver’s field of
vision at the earliest possible moment.
In this picture, the rider has moved to the STOP SIGNS
left portion of the lane — away from the
parked car — so the driver on the cross
street can see him as soon as possible.

Remember, the key is to see as much


as possible and remain visible to others
while protecting your space.

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, Passing Parked Cars
lean your body forward and look around When passing parked cars, stay toward
buildings, parked cars or bushes to see if the left of your lane. You can avoid
anything is coming. Just make sure your problems caused by doors opening,
front wheel stays out of the cross lane of drivers getting out of cars or people
travel while you’re looking. stepping from between cars. If oncoming
5 Test Yourself traffic is present, it is usually best to
remain in the center-lane position to
To reduce your reaction time, maximize your space cushion.
you should:
A. Ride slower than the speed limit
B. Cover the clutch and the brakes
C. Shift into neutral when slowing
D. Pull in the clutch when turning
Answer - page 39

16
PARKED CARS do, slow down and get the driver’s
attention. Sound your horn and continue
with caution.

Parking At The Roadside


Park at a 90° angle to the curb with your
rear wheel touching the curb.
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
yield
D. Guarantees that the other driver
will yield to you
Answer - page 39
A bigger problem can occur if the
driver pulls away from the curb without
checking for traffic behind. Even if he INCREASING VISIBILITY
does look, he may fail to see you. In crashes with motorcyclists, drivers
often say that they never saw the
In either event, the driver might cut into motorcycle. From ahead or behind, a
your path. Slow down or change lanes to motorcycle’s outline is much smaller
make room for someone cutting in. than a car’s. Also, it’s hard to see
something you are not looking for,
Cars making a sudden U-turn are the and most drivers are not looking for
most dangerous. They may cut you off motorcycles. More likely, they are
entirely, blocking the whole roadway looking through the narrow, two-
and leaving you with no place to go. wheeled silhouette in search of cars that
Since you can’t tell what a driver will may pose a problem to them.

PARKING AT CURBS Even if a driver does see you coming,


you aren’t necessarily safe. Smaller
vehicles appear farther away and seem
to be traveling slower than they actually
are. It is common for drivers to pull out
in front of motorcyclists, thinking they
have plenty of time. Too often, they are
wrong.

However, you can do many things to


make it easier for others to recognize
you and your motorcycle.

17
Clothing to change lanes or turn. Use them even
Most crashes occur in broad daylight. when you think no one else is around.
Wear bright-colored clothing to increase It’s the car you don’t see that’s going to
your chances of being seen. Remember, give you the most trouble. Your signal
your body is half of the visible surface lights also make you easier to spot.
area of the rider/motorcycle unit. That’s why it’s a good idea to use your
turn signals even when what you plan
Bright orange, red, yellow or green to do is obvious.
jackets or vests are your best bets for
SIGNALING
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.

Reflective material on a vest and on the
sides of the helmet will help drivers
coming from the side to spot you.
Reflective material can also be a big
help for drivers coming toward you or
from behind. When you enter a freeway, drivers
approaching from behind are more
Headlights likely to see your signal blinking and
The best way to help others see your make room for you.
motorcycle is to keep the headlight on at
all times (although motorcycles sold in Turning your signal on before each
the USA since 1978 automatically have turn reduces confusion and frustration
the headlights on when running). Studies for the traffic around you. Once you
show that during the day, a motorcycle turn, make sure your signal is off, or a
with its light on is twice as likely to be driver may pull directly into your path,
noticed. thinking you plan to turn again. Use your
signals at every turn so drivers can react
Signals accordingly. Don’t make them guess
The signals on a motorcycle are similar what you intend to do.
to those on a car. They tell others what
you plan to do.

However, due to a rider ’s added


vulnerability, signals are even more
important. Use them anytime you plan

18
Brake Light • Before you slow down. The driver
Your motorcycle’s brake light is usually behind may not expect you to slow,
not as noticeable as the brake lights on or may be unsure about where you
a car — particularly when your taillight will slow. For example, you signal
is on. (It goes on with the headlight.) a turn and the driver thinks you
If the situation will permit, help others plan to turn at a distant intersection,
notice you by flashing your brake light rather than at a nearer driveway.
before you slow down. It is especially
important to flash your brake light USING MIRRORS
before:
• You slow quicker than others might
expect (turning off a high-speed
highway).
• You slow where others may not
expect it (in the middle of a block
or at an alley).

If you are being followed closely, it’s


a good idea to flash your brake light
before you slow. The tailgater may be
watching you and not see something
ahead that will make you slow down.
This will hopefully discourage them
from tailgating and warn them of Some motorcycles have rounded
hazards ahead they may not see. (convex) mirrors. These provide a wider
view of the road behind than flat mirrors.
Using Your Mirrors They also make cars seem farther away
While it’s most important to keep track than they really are. If you are not used
of what’s happening ahead, you can’t to convex mirrors, get familiar with
afford to ignore situations behind. them. (While you are stopped, pick
Traffic conditions change quickly. out a parked car in your mirror. Form
Knowing what’s going on behind is a mental image of how far away it is.
essential for you to make a safe decision Then, turn around and look at it to see
about how to handle trouble ahead. how close you came.) Practice with
your mirrors until you become a good
Frequent mirror checks should be part of judge of distance. Even then, allow extra
your normal searching routine. Make a distance before you change lanes.
special point of using your mirrors:
• When you are stopped at an Head Checks
intersection. Watch cars coming Checking your mirrors is not enough.
up from behind. If the drivers aren’t Motorcycles have blind spots like cars.
paying attention, they could be on Before you change lanes, turn your
top of you before they see you. head, and look to the side for other
• Before you change lanes. Make vehicles.
sure no one is about to pass you.
19
On a road with several lanes, check the • Reduce your speed – Ride even
far lane and the one next to you. A driver slower than you would during
in the distant lane may head for the same the day — particularly on roads
space you plan to take. you don’t know well. This will
increase your chances of avoiding
Frequent head checks should also be a hazard.
your normal scanning routine. Only by • Increase distance – Distances are
knowing what is happening all around harder to judge at night than during
you are you fully prepared to deal with the day. Your eyes rely upon shad-
it. ows and light contrasts to determine
how far away an object is and how
Horn fast it is coming. These contrasts
Be ready to use your horn to get are missing or distorted under
someone’s attention quickly. artificial lights at night. Open up a
three-second following distance or
It is a good idea to give a quick beep more, and allow more distance to
before passing anyone that may move pass and be passed.
into your lane. • Use the car ahead – The headlights
of the car ahead can give you a bet-
Here are some situations: ter view of the road than even your
• A driver in the lane next to you is high beam can. Taillights bouncing
driving too closely to the vehicle up and down can alert you to bumps
ahead and may want to pass. or rough pavement.
• A parked car has someone in the • Use your high beam – Get all the
driver’s seat. light you can. Use your high beam
• Someone is in the street, riding a whenever you are not following
bicycle or walking. or meeting a car. Be visible: Wear
reflective materials when riding at
In an emergency, press the horn button night.
loud and long. Be ready to stop or • Be flexible about lane position–
swerve away from the danger. Change to whatever portion of the
lane is best able to help you see, be
Keep in mind that a motorcycle’s horn seen and keep an adequate space
isn’t as loud as a car’s — therefore, use cushion.
it, but don’t rely on it. Other strategies
7 Test Yourself
may be appropriate along with the
horn.
Reflective clothing should:
Riding At Night
At night it is harder for you to see and be A. Be worn at night
B. Be worn during the day
seen. Picking your headlight or taillight C. Not be worn
out of the car lights around you is not D. Be worn day and night
easy for other drivers. To compensate,
you should:
Answer - page 39

20
CRASH AVOIDANCE Always use both brakes at the same time
No matter how careful you are, there to stop. The front brake can provide
will be times when you find yourself in 70% or more of the potential stopping
a tight spot. Your chances of getting out power.
safely depend on your ability to react
quickly and properly. Often, a crash If you must stop quickly while turning
occurs because a rider is not prepared or or riding a curve, the best technique is
skilled in crash-avoidance maneuvers. to straighten the bike upright first and
then brake.
Know when and how to stop or swerve,
two skills critical in avoiding a crash. However, it may not always be possible
It is not always desirable or possible to to straighten the motorcycle and then
stop quickly to avoid an obstacle. Riders stop. If you must brake while leaning,
must also be able to swerve around an apply light brakes and reduce the
obstacle. Determining which skill is throttle. As you slow, you can reduce
necessary for the situation is important your lean angle and apply more brake
as well. pressure until the motorcycle is straight
and maximum brake pressure is possible.
Studies show that most crash-involved You should straighten the handlebars
riders: in the last few feet of stopping. The
• Underbraked the front tire and motorcycle should then be straight up
overbraked the rear. and in balance.
• Did not separate braking from
swerving or did not choose swerv- Swerving Or Turning Quickly
ing when it was appropriate. Sometimes you may not have enough
room to stop, even if you use both
Quick Stops brakes properly. An object might appear
To stop quickly, apply both brakes at suddenly in your path, or the car ahead
the same time. Don’t be shy about using might squeal to a stop. The only way to
the front brake, but don’t grab it, either. avoid a crash may be to turn quickly or
Squeeze the brake lever firmly and swerve around it.
progressively. If the front wheel locks,
release the front brake immediately,
then reapply it firmly. At the same STOPPING DISTANCE
time, press down on the rear brake. If
you accidentally lock the rear brake on
a good traction surface, keep it locked
until you have completely stopped; but,
even with a locked rear wheel, you can
control the motorcycle on a straightaway
if it is upright and going in a straight
line.

21
SWERVE, THEN BRAKE the target of your vision. Press on the
opposite handlegrip once you clear the
obstacle to return you to your original
direction of travel. To swerve to the left,
press the left handlegrip, then press the
right to recover. To swerve to the right,
press right, then left.

If braking is required, separate it


from swerving. Brake before or after —
never while swerving.
8 Test Yourself

The best way to stop quickly


A swerve is any sudden change in is to:
direction. It can be two quick turns,
or a rapid shift to the side. Apply a A. Use the front brake only
small amount of hand pressure to the B. Use the rear brake first
C. Throttle down and use the front
handlegrip located on the side of your brake
intended direction of escape. This will D. Use both brakes at the same
cause the motorcycle to lean quickly. time
The sharper the turn(s), the more the Answer - page 39
motorcycle must lean.
Cornering
Keep your body upright and allow the A primary cause of single-vehicle
motorcycle to lean in the direction of the crashes is motorcyclists running wide
turn while keeping your knees against in a curve or turn and colliding with the
the tank and your feet solidly on the roadway or a fixed object.
footrests. Let the motorcycle move
underneath you. Make your escape route Every curve is different. Be alert to
whether a curve remains constant,
BRAKE, THEN SWERVE gradually widens, gets tighter or involves
multiple turns.

Ride within your skill level and posted


speed limits.

Your best path may not always follow


the curve of the road. Change lane
position depending on traffic, road
conditions and curve of the road. If no
traffic is present, start at the outside of
a curve to increase your line of sight
and the effective radius of the turn. As

22
CONSTANT CURVES MULTIPLE CURVES

DECREASING CURVES (tight turns) WIDENING CURVES

you turn, move toward the inside of the HANDLING DANGEROUS


curve, and as you pass the center, move SURFACES
to the outside to exit. Your chance of falling or being involved
in a crash increases whenever you ride
Another alternative is to move to the across:
center of your lane before entering a • Uneven surfaces or obstacles
curve, and stay there until you exit. This • Slippery surfaces
permits you to spot approaching traffic • Railroad tracks
as soon as possible. You can also adjust • Grooves and gratings
for traffic crowding the center line, or
debris blocking part of your lane.

23
OBSTACLES

Uneven Surfaces And Slippery Surfaces


Obstacles Motorcycles handle better when ridden
Watch for uneven surfaces such as on surfaces that permit good traction.
bumps, broken pavement, potholes or
small pieces of highway trash. Surfaces that provide poor traction
include:
Try to avoid obstacles by slowing or • Wet pavement, particularly just af-
going around them. If you must go ter it starts to rain and before surface
over the obstacle, first determine if it oil washes to the side of the road
is possible. Approach it at as close to a • Gravel roads, or where sand and
90° angle as possible. Look where you gravel collect
want to go to control your path of travel. • Mud, snow and ice
If you have to ride over the obstacle, • Lane markings (painted lines),
you should: steel plates and manhole covers,
• Slow down as much as possible especially when wet
before contact.
• Make sure the motorcycle is To ride safely on slippery surfaces:
straight. • Reduce speed – Slow down before
• Rise slightly off the seat with your you get to a slippery surface to less-
weight on the footrests to absorb the en your chances of skidding. Your
shock with your knees and elbows, motorcycle needs more distance to
and avoid being thrown off the stop. It is particularly important to
motorcycle. reduce speed before entering wet
• Just before contact, roll on the curves.
throttle slightly to lighten the front • Avoid sudden moves – Any sud-
end. den change in speed or direction
can cause a skid. Be as smooth as
If you ride over an object on the street, possible when you speed up, shift
pull off the road and check your tires gears, turn or brake.
and rims for damage before riding any
farther.
24
• Use both brakes – The front brake speeds could prove hazardous.
is still effective, even on a slippery
surface. Squeeze the brake lever
gradually to avoid locking the front 9 Test Yourself
wheel. Remember, apply gentle
When it starts to rain it is
pressure to the rear brake.
usually best to:
• Ride in the tire tracks left by cars
when it starts to rain. The center A. Ride in the center of the lane
of the lane can be hazardous when B. Pull off to the side until the rain
stops
wet. Often the left tire track will
C. Ride in the tire tracks left by
be the best position, depending on cars
traffic and other road conditions. D. Increase your speed
• Watch for oil spots when you put Answer - page 39
your foot down to stop or park. You
may slip and fall. Railroad Tracks, Trolley
• Avoid dirt and gravel collected Tracks And Pavement Seams
along the sides of the road — espe- Usually it is safer to ride straight within
cially on curves and ramps leading your lane to cross tracks. Turning to take
to and from highways. Be aware tracks head-on (at a 90° angle) can be
of what’s on the edge of the road, more dangerous — your path may carry
particularly when making sharp you into another lane of traffic.
turns and getting on or off freeways
at high speeds. For track and road seams that run
• Ride on the least slippery portion parallel to your course, move far enough
of the lane and reduce speed. Rain away from tracks, ruts or pavement
dries and snow melts faster on some seams to cross at an angle of at least 45°.
sections of a road than on others. Then, make a quick, sharp turn. Edging
Patches of ice tend to develop in across could catch your tires and throw
low or shaded areas and on bridges you off balance.
and overpasses. Wet surfaces or wet
leaves are just as slippery. CROSSTRACKS -RIGHT

Cautious riders steer clear of roads


covered with ice or snow. If you can’t
avoid a slippery surface, keep your
motorcycle straight up and proceed as
slowly as possible. If you encounter a
large surface so slippery that you must
CROSSTRACKS -WRONG
coast or travel at a walking pace, consider
letting your feet skim along the surface.
If the motorcycle starts to fall, you can
catch yourself. Be sure to keep off the
brakes. If possible, squeeze the clutch
and coast. Attempting this maneuver
at anything other than the slowest of
25
PARALLEL TRACKS -RIGHT MECHANICAL PROBLEMS
You can find yourself in an emergency
the moment something goes wrong with
your motorcycle. In dealing with any
mechanical problem, take into account
the road and traffic conditions you
face. Here are some guidelines that can
help you handle mechanical problems
PARALLEL TRACKS -WRONG safely:

Tire Failure
You will seldom hear a tire go flat. If the
motorcycle starts handling differently,
it may be tire failure. This can be
dangerous. You will be able to tell a
tire is flat from the way the motorcycle
reacts. If one of your tires suddenly loses
Grooves And Gratings air, react quickly to keep your balance.
Riding over rain grooves or bridge Pull off and check the tires.
gratings may cause a motorcycle to
weave. The uneasy, wandering feeling If the front tire goes flat, the steering
is generally not hazardous. Relax, will feel heavy. A front-wheel flat is
maintain a steady speed and ride straight particularly hazardous because it affects
across. Crossing at an angle forces your steering. You have to steer well to
riders to zigzag to stay in the lane. The keep your balance.
zigzag is far more hazardous than the
wandering feeling. If the rear tire goes flat, the back of the
motorcycle may jerk or sway from side
GRATE CROSSING -RIGHT to side.

If either tire goes flat while riding:


• Hold handlegrips firmly, ease off
the throttle, and keep a straight
course.
• If braking is required, gradually
apply the brake of the tire that isn’t
GRATE CROSSING -WRONG flat, if you are sure which one it
is.
• When the motorcycle slows, edge
to the side of the road, squeeze the
clutch and stop.

26
Stuck Throttle Trying to accelerate out of a wobble
Twist the throttle back and forth several will only make the motorcycle more
times. If the throttle cable is stuck, this unstable. Instead:
may free it. If the throttle stays stuck, • Grip the handlebars firmly, but
immediately operate the engine cut-off don’t fight the wobble.
switch and pull in the clutch at the same • Close the throttle gradually to slow
time. This will remove power from the down. Do not apply the brakes;
rear wheel, though engine sound may braking could make the wobble
not immediately decline. Once the worse.
motorcycle is under control, pull off • Move your weight as far forward
and stop. and down as possible.
• Pull off the road as soon as you can
After you have stopped, check the to fix the problem.
throttle cable carefully to find the source
of the trouble. Make certain the throttle 10 Test Yourself
works freely before you start to ride
again. If your motorcycle starts to
wobble:
Wobble A. Accelerate out of the wobble
A wobble occurs when the front wheel B. Use the brakes gradually
and handlebars suddenly start to shake C. Grip the handlebars firmly and
from side to side at any speed. Most close the throttle gradually
D. Downshift
wobbles can be traced to improper Answer - page 39
loading, unsuitable accessories or
incorrect tire pressure. If you are
carrying a heavy load, lighten it; if you Chain Problems
can’t, shift it. Center the weight lower A chain that slips or breaks while you’re
and farther forward on the motorcycle. riding could lock the rear wheel and
Make sure tire pressure, spring pre- cause your cycle to skid. Chain slippage
load, air shocks and dampers are at the or breakage can be avoided by proper
settings recommended for that much maintenance.
weight. Make sure windshields and
fairings are mounted properly. • Slippage — If the chain slips when
you try to speed up quickly or ride
Check for poorly adjusted steering; uphill, pull off the road. Check the
worn steering parts; a front wheel that chain and sprockets. Tightening the
is bent, misaligned, or out of balance; chain may help. If the problem is a
loose wheel bearings or spokes; and worn or stretched chain or worn or
worn swingarm bearings. If none of bent sprockets, replace the chain,
these is determined to be the cause, have the sprockets or both before riding
the motorcycle checked out thoroughly again.
by a qualified professional. • Breakage — You’ll notice an
instant loss of power to the rear
wheel. Close the throttle and brake
to a stop.
27
Engine Seizure FLYING OBJECTS
When the engine locks or freezes, it is From time to time, riders are struck
usually low on oil. The engine’s moving by insects, cigarettes thrown from cars
parts can’t move smoothly against each or pebbles kicked up by the tires of
other, and the engine overheats. The the vehicle ahead. If you are wearing
first sign may be a loss of engine power face protection, it might get smeared
or a change in the engine’s sound. or cracked, making it difficult to see.
Squeeze the clutch lever to disengage Without face protection, an object
the engine from the rear wheel. Pull could hit you in the eye, face or mouth.
off the road and stop. Check the oil. If Whatever happens, keep your eyes
needed, oil should be added as soon as on the road and your hands on the
possible, or the engine will seize. When handlebars. When safe, pull off the road
this happens, the effect is the same as a and repair the damage.
locked rear wheel. Let the engine cool
before restarting. GETTING OFF THE ROAD
If you need to leave the road to check the
ANIMALS motorcycle (or just to rest for a while),
Naturally, you should do everything you be sure you:
safely can to avoid hitting an animal. • Check the roadside — Make sure
If you are in traffic, however, remain the surface of the roadside is firm
in your lane. Hitting something small enough to ride on. If it is soft grass,
is less dangerous to you than hitting loose sand or if you’re just not sure
something big, like a car. about it, slow way down before you
turn onto it.
Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. If • Signal — Drivers behind might not
you are chased, downshift and approach expect you to slow down. Give a
the animal slowly. As you approach it, clear signal that you will be slow-
accelerate away and leave the animal ing down and changing direction.
behind. Don’t kick at an animal. Keep Check your mirror and make a head
control of your motorcycle and look to check before you take any action.
where you want to go. • Pull off the road — Get as far off
the road as you can. It can be very
For unpredictable larger animals (deer, hard to spot a motorcycle by the
elk, cattle) brake and prepare to stop. side of the road. You don’t want
someone else pulling off at the same
place you are.
11 Test Yourself
• Park carefully — Loose and
If you are chased by a dog: sloped shoulders can make setting
the side or center stand difficult.
A. Kick it away
B. Stop until the animal loses
interest
C. Swerve around the animal
D. Approach the animal slowly,
then speed up
Answer - page 39

28
CARRYING PASSENGERS Instructing Passengers
AND CARGO Even if your passenger is a motorcycle
Only experienced riders should carry rider, provide complete instructions
passengers or large loads. The extra before you start. Tell your passenger
weight changes the way the motorcycle to:
handles, balances, speeds up and slows • Get on the motorcycle only after
down. Before taking a passenger or a you have started the engine.
heavy load on the street, practice away • Sit as far forward as possible with-
from traffic. out crowding you.
• Hold firmly to your waist, hips,
Equipment belts or to the bike’s passenger
To carry passengers safely: handholds.
• Equip and adjust your motorcycle • Keep both feet on the footrests,
to carry passengers. even when stopped.
• Instruct the passenger before you • Keep legs away from the muffler(s),
start. chains or moving parts.
• Adjust your riding technique for • Stay directly behind you, leaning
the added weight. as you lean.
• Avoid unnecessary talk or motion.
Equipment should include:
• A proper seat — large enough to Also, tell your passenger to tighten his
hold both of you without crowd- or her hold when you:
ing. You should not sit any farther • Approach surface problems.
forward than you usually do. • Are about to start from a stop.
• Footrests — for the passenger. • Warn that you will make a sudden
Firm footing prevents your pas- move.
senger from falling off and pulling
you off too. Riding With Passengers
• Protective equipment — the same Your motorcycle will respond more
protective gear recommended for slowly with a passenger on board. The
operators. heavier your passenger, the longer it
will take to slow down and speed up,
Adjust the suspension to handle the especially on a light motorcycle.
additional weight. You will probably
need to add a few pounds of pressure to • Ride a little slower, especially when
the tires if you carry a passenger. (Check taking curves, corners or bumps.
your owner’s manual for appropriate • Start slowing earlier as you ap-
settings.) While your passenger sits on proach a stop.
the seat with you, adjust the mirror and • Open up a larger cushion of space
headlight according to the change in the ahead and to the sides.
motorcycle’s angle. • Wait for larger gaps to cross, enter
or merge in traffic.


29
Warn your passenger of special the motorcycle to drift to one side.
conditions — when you will pull out, • Secure the load – Fasten the load
stop quickly, turn sharply or ride over a securely with elastic cords (bungee
bump. Turn your head slightly to make cords or nets). Elastic cords with
yourself understood, but keep your eyes more than one attachment point per
on the road ahead. side are more secure. A tight load
won’t catch in the wheel or chain,
12 Test Yourself causing it to lock up and skid. Rope
tends to stretch, and knots come
Passengers should: loose, permitting the load to shift
A. Lean as you lean or fall.
B. Hold on to the motorcycle seat • Check the load – Stop and check
C. Sit as far back as possible the load every so often to make sure
D. Never hold onto you
it has not worked loose or moved.

GROUP RIDING
Answer - page 39 If you ride with others, do it in a way that
promotes safety and doesn’t interfere
with the flow of traffic.
Carrying Loads
Most motorcycles are not designed to Keep The Group Small
carry much cargo. Small loads can be Small groups make it easier and safer
carried safely if positioned and fastened for car drivers who need to get around
properly. them. A small number isn’t separated
as easily by traffic or red lights. Riders
• Keep the load low – Fasten loads won’t always be hurrying to catch up.
securely, or put them in saddlebags. If your group is larger than four or five
Piling loads against a sissybar or riders, divide it up into two or more
frame on the back of the seat raises smaller groups.
the motorcycle’s center of gravity
and disturbs its balance. Keep The Group Together
• Keep the load forward – Place the • Plan – The leader should look
load over, or in front of, the rear ahead for changes and signal early
axle. Tankbags keep loads forward, so “the word gets back” in plenty
but use caution when loading hard of time. Start lane changes early to
or sharp objects. Make sure the permit everyone to complete the
tankbags do not interfere with han- change.
dlebars or controls. Mounting loads • Put beginners up front – Place
behind the rear axle can affect how inexperienced riders just behind the
the motorcycle turns and brakes. It leader. That way the more experi-
can also cause a wobble. enced riders can watch them from
• Distribute the load evenly – Load the back.
saddlebags with about the same • Follow those behind – Let the
weight. An uneven load can cause tailender set the pace. Use your

30
mirrors to keep an eye on the per- yet maintain an adequate space
son behind. If a rider falls behind, cushion. The leader rides in the left
everyone should slow down a little side of the lane, while the second
to stay with the tailender. rider stays one second behind in the
• Know the route – Make sure ev- right side of the lane.
eryone knows the route. Then, if
someone is separated, they won’t A third rider maintains in the left
have to hurry to keep from getting position, two seconds behind the first
lost or taking a wrong turn. Plan rider. The fourth rider would keep a
frequent stops on long rides. two-second distance behind the second
rider. This formation keeps the group
Keep Your Distance close and permits each rider a safe
Maintain close ranks, but at the same distance from others ahead, behind and
time, keep a safe distance to allow each to the sides.
rider in the group time and space to react
to hazards. A close group takes up less • Passing in formation — Riders in
space on the highway, is easier to see and a staggered formation should pass
is less likely to be separated. However, one at a time.
it must be done properly. • First, the lead rider should pull
out and pass when it is safe. After
• Don’t pair up — Never operate passing, the leader should return to
directly alongside another rider. the left position and continue riding
There is no place to go if you have at passing speed to open room for
to avoid a car or something on the the next rider.
road. To talk, wait until you are both • After the first rider passes safely,
stopped. the second rider should move up
• Staggered formation — This is to the left position and watch for a
the best way to keep ranks close safe chance to pass. After passing,
this rider should return to the right
position and open up room for the
STAGGERED FORMATION
next rider.

Some people suggest that the leader


should move to the right side after
passing a vehicle. This is not a good
idea. It encourages the second rider to
pass and cut back in before there is a
large enough space cushion in front of
the passed vehicle. It’s simpler and safer
to wait until there is enough room ahead
of the passed vehicle to allow each rider
to move into the same position held
before the pass.

31
Single-file formation — It is best to 13 Test Yourself
move into a single-file formation when
riding curves, turning, entering or When riding in a group, inexpe-
leaving a highway. rienced riders should position
themselves:
A. Just behind the leader
B. In front of the group
GROUP PASSING (Stage 1) C. At the tail end of the group
D. Beside the leader
Answer - page 39

GROUP PASSING (Stage 2)

32
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE
Riding a motorcycle is a demanding however, are more likely to be killed
and complex task. Skilled riders pay or severely injured in a crash. Injuries
attention to the riding environment occur in 90% of motorcycle crashes and
and to operating the motorcycle, 33% of automobile crashes that involve
identifying potential hazards, making abuse of substances. On a yearly basis,
good judgments and executing decisions 2,100 motorcyclists are killed and about
quickly and skillfully. Your ability to 50,000 seriously injured in this same
perform and respond to changing road type of crash. These statistics are too
and traffic conditions is influenced by overwhelming to ignore.
how fit and alert you are. Alcohol and
other drugs, more than any other factor, By becoming knowledgeable about
degrade your ability to think clearly the effects of alcohol and other drugs,
and to ride safely. As little as one drink you will see that riding and substance
can have a significant effect on your abuse don’t mix. Take positive steps to
performance. protect yourself and prevent others from
injuring themselves.
Let’s look at the risks involved in riding
after drinking or using drugs. What to ALCOHOL AND OTHER
do to protect yourself and your fellow DRUGS IN MOTORCYCLE
riders is also examined. OPERATION
No one is immune to the effects of
WHY THIS INFORMATION alcohol or drugs. Friends may brag
IS IMPORTANT about their ability to hold their liquor
Alcohol is a major contributor to or perform better on drugs, but alcohol
motorcycle crashes, particularly fatal or drugs make them less able to think
crashes. Studies show that 40% – 45% clearly and perform physical tasks
of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes skillfully. Judgment and the decision-
had been drinking. Only one-third making processes needed for vehicle
of those riders had a blood alcohol operation are affected long before legal
concentration above legal limits. The limitations are reached.
rest had only a few drinks in their
systems — enough to impair riding Many over-the-counter, prescription
skills. In the past, drug levels have been and illegal drugs have side effects that
harder to distinguish or have not been increase the risk of riding. It is difficult to
separated from drinking violations for accurately measure the involvement of
the traffic records. But riding under particular drugs in motorcycle crashes.
the influence of either alcohol or drugs But we do know what effects various
poses physical and legal hazards for drugs have on the process involved in
every rider. riding a motorcycle. We also know that
the combined effects of alcohol and
Drinking and drug use is as big a problem other drugs are more dangerous than
among motorcyclists as it is among either is alone.
automobile drivers. Motorcyclists,
33
ALCOHOL IN THE BODY these are not completely known. Alcohol
Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. may still accumulate in your body even
Unlike most foods and beverages, it if you are drinking at a rate of one drink
does not need to be digested. Within per hour. Abilities and judgment can be
minutes after being consumed, it reaches affected by that one drink.
the brain and begins to affect the drinker,
imparing everything you do. A 12-ounce can of beer, a mixed drink
with one shot of liquor and a 5-ounce
Blood Alcohol Concentration glass of wine all contain the same
Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC, amount of alcohol.
is the amount of alcohol in relation to
blood in the body. Generally, alcohol can The faster you drink, the more alcohol
be eliminated in the body at the rate of accumulates in your body. If you drink
almost one drink per hour. But a variety two drinks in an hour, at the end of that
of other factors may also influence the hour, at least one drink will remain in
level of alcohol retained. The more your bloodstream.
alcohol in your blood, the greater the
degree of impairment. Without taking into account any other
factors, these examples illustrate why
Three factors play a major part in time is a critical factor when a rider
determining BAC: decides to drink.
• The amount of alcohol you
consume A person drinking:
• How fast you drink • Seven drinks over the span of three
• Your body weight hours would have at least four drinks
remaining in their system at the
Other factors also contribute to the way end of the three hours (7 – 3 = 4).
alcohol affects your system. Your sex, They would need at least another
physical condition and food intake are four hours to eliminate the four
just a few that may cause your BAC level remaining drinks before they
to be even higher. But the full effects of consider riding.

ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION

34
• Four drinks over the span of drivers who make the wrong decision
two hours would have at least to drink or use drugs and get behind the
two drinks remaining in their wheel of a vehicle.
system at the end of the two
hours (4 – 2 = 2). They would Consequences Of Conviction
need at least another two hours to If you are convicted of riding under
eliminate the two remaining drinks the influence of alcohol or drugs, you
before they consider riding. may receive any or all of the following
penalties:
Total # Hours Drinks
drinks LESS since last EQUALS left in
consumed drink body 1st Offense
____ - ____ = ____ • Administrative License Suspen-
sion (ALS) for 90 days for .08%
There are times when a larger person may or above BAC
not accumulate as high a concentration • ALS for test refusal = one-year
of alcohol for each drink consumed. license suspension
They have more blood and other • Jail: minimum of three consecu-
bodily fluids. But because of individual tive days or three-day intervention
differences, it is better not to take the program1
chance that abilities and judgment have • Fine: minimum $375 and not more
not been affected. Whether or not you than $1,075
are legally intoxicated is not the real • Court License Suspension: six
issue. Impairment of judgment and skills months to three years
begins well below the legal limit.
2nd Offense
ALCOHOL AND THE LAW • ALS for one year for .08% or above
In most states, a person with a BAC of BAC
.08% or above is considered intoxicated; • ALS for 2nd test refusal = two-year
in others the legal limit is .10%. It license suspension
doesn’t matter how sober you may look • Jail: minimum of 10 consecutive
or act. The breath or urine test is what days or five days jail + minimum 18
usually determines whether you are consecutive days of electronically
riding legally or illegally. monitored house arrest combined,
not to exceed six months1
Your chances of being stopped for • Fine: minimum $525 and not more
riding under the influence of alcohol are than $1,625
increasing. Law enforcement is being • Mandatory drug and alcohol
stepped up across the country in response assessment
to the senseless deaths and injuries • Vehicle immobilization and plates
caused by drinking drivers and riders. impounded for 90 days, if owner
• Court License Suspension: one year
Alcohol And Ohio’s Law to five years
Sweeping reforms of Ohio’s drunk Doubled on conviction of .17% BAC
1.

driving laws went into effect in 2004. and Operating a Vehicle Impaired
The new laws make it tougher for (OVI)/refusal
35
3rd Offense risks. Minimize the risks of drinking
• ALS for two years for .08% or and riding by taking steps before you
above BAC drink. Control your drinking or control
• ALS for 3rd test refusal = three-year your riding.
license suspension
• Jail: minimum 30 consecutive days Don’t Drink
to one year Once you start, your resistance becomes
• Alternative sentence: 15 days of jail weaker. Setting a limit or pacing yourself
+ minimum 55 consecutive days are poor alternatives at best. Your ability
of electronically monitored house to exercise good judgment is one of the
arrest combined, maximum of one first things affected by alcohol. Even if
year you have tried to drink in moderation,
• Fine: minimum $850 and not more you may not realize to what extent
than $2,750 your skills have suffered from alcohol’s
• Mandatory attendance in an alco- fatiguing effects.
hol treatment program paid for by
offender Don’t ride — If you haven’t controlled
• Vehicle forfeiture will result upon your drinking, you must control your
a 3rd conviction for OVI within six riding.
years, if owner
• Court License Suspension: two • Leave the motorcycle – so you
years to 10 years won’t be tempted to ride. Arrange
another way to get home.
4th or More Offense or motor vehicle- • Wait – If you exceed your limit,
related felony will result in vehicle wait until your system eliminates the
forfeiture, if owner, and stricter alcohol and its fatiguing effects.
penalties.
• Any previous OVI conviction STEP IN TO PROTECT
that was a felony = a minimum of FRIENDS
$1,350 and not more than $10,500 People who have had too much to
• 5th or subsequent OVI offense on drink are unable to make a responsible
or after September 30, 2008 will decision. It is up to others to step in
be placed on “Ohio’s Habitual and keep them from taking too great
OVI/OMVI Offender Registry.” a risk. No one wants to do this —
This registry becomes accessible it’s uncomfortable, embarrassing and
thankless. You are rarely thanked
to the public, via the internet, on
for your efforts at the time. But the
December 30, 2008. alternatives are often worse.

Minimize The Risks There are several ways to keep friends


Your ability to judge how well you are from hurting themselves:
riding is affected first. Although you • Arrange a safe ride – Provide
may be performing poorly, you think alternative ways for them to get
you are doing better. The result is that home.
you ride confidently, taking greater • Slow the pace of drinking – In-
36
volve them in other activities. 14 Test Yourself
• Keep them there – Use any excuse
If you wait an hour for each
to keep them from getting on their
drink before riding:
motorcycle. Serve them food and
coffee to pass the time. Explain A. You cannot be arrested for
your concerns for their risks of drinking and riding.
B. Your riding skills will not be
getting arrested or hurt or hurting
affected.
someone else. Take their keys, if C. Side effects from the drinking may
you can. still remain.
• Get friends involved – Use peer D. You will be okay as long as you ride
slowly.
pressure from a group of friends to
Answer - page 39
intervene.

It helps to enlist support from others


when you decide to step in. The more
people on your side, the easier it is to be
firm and the harder it is for the rider to
resist. While you may not be thanked at
the time, you will never have to say, “If
only I had ...”

FATIGUE
Riding a motorcycle is more tiring than
driving a car. On a long trip, you’ll tire
sooner than you would in a car. Avoid
riding when tired. Fatigue can affect
your control of the motorcycle.

• Protect yourself from the ele-


ments – Wind, cold, and rain make
you tire quickly. Dress warmly. A
windshield is worth its cost if you
plan to ride long distances.
• Limit your distance – Experienced
riders seldom try to ride more than
about six hours a day.
• Take frequent rest breaks – Stop
and get off the motorcycle at least
every two hours.
• Don’t drink or use drugs – Artificial
stimulants often result in extreme
fatigue or depression when they
start to wear off. Riders are unable
to concentrate on the task at hand.

37
EARNING YOUR LICENSE
Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. 3. To swerve correctly:
Licensing tests are the best measurement a. Shift your weight quickly.
of the skills necessary to operate safely b. Turn the handlebars quickly.
in traffic. Assessing your own skills is c. Press the handlegrip in the
not enough. People often overestimate direction of the turn.
their own abilities. It’s even harder d. Press the handlegrip in the
for friends and relatives to be totally opposite direction of the turn.
honest about your skills. Licensing
exams are designed to be scored more 4. If a tire goes flat while riding and
objectively. you must stop, it is usually best to:
a. Relax on the handlegrips.
To earn your license, you must pass a b. Shift your weight toward the good
knowledge test and an on-cycle skill tire.
test. Knowledge test questions are based c. Brake on the good tire and steer to
on information, practices and ideas the side of the road.
from this manual. They require that you d. Use both brakes and stop quickly.
know and understand road rules and
safe riding practices. An on-cycle skill 5. The car below is waiting to enter
test will either be conducted in an actual the intersection. It is best to:
traffic environment or in a controlled, a. Make eye contact with the driver.
off-street area. b. Reduce speed and be ready to
react.
Knowledge Test c. Maintain speed and position.
(Sample Questions) d. Maintain speed and move right.

1. It is MOST important to flash your


brake light when:
a. Someone is following too closely.
b. You will be slowing suddenly. INTERSECTION
c. There is a stop sign ahead.
d. Your signals are not working.

2. The FRONT brake supplies how


much of the potential stopping
power?
a. About one-quarter.
b. About one-half.
c. About three-quarters.
d. All of the stopping power.

38
On-Cycle Skill Test than 18 years of age must also meet
Basic vehicle control and crash- additional requirements. The Skill Test
avoidance skills are included in on- Waiver became effective January 1,
motorcycle tests to determine your 2001.
ability to handle normal and hazardous
traffic situations. For more information on Motorcycle
Ohio, visit our Web site at
You may be tested for your ability to: www.motorcycle.ohio.gov or call
• Know your motorcycle and your 1-800-83-RIDER.
riding limits.
• Accelerate, brake and turn safely. To re c e i v e a m o t o rc y c l e
• See, be seen and communicate license with full privileges,
with others. Ohio requires that motorcycle
• Adjust speed and position to the maneuvers be performed as
traffic situation. designed. The on-cycle skills
• Stop, turn and swerve quickly. test is not designed for sidecars
• Make critical decisions and carry or three-wheel vehicles but can be
them out. altered to accommodate those. If
an on-cycle skills test is performed
Examiners may score on factors related using a sidecar or three-wheel
to safety such as: vehicle, the endorsement received
• Selecting safe speeds to perform will not permit operation of a two-
maneuvers. wheel motorcycle.
• Choosing the correct path and
staying within boundaries.
• Completing normal and quick
Diagrams and drawings used in this manual
stops.
are for reference only and are not to correct
• Completing normal and quick scale for size of vehicles and distances.
turns or swerves.

Did You Know...


On July 6, 2000, Governor Taft signed
Senate Bill 271 into law, which states
that students who successfully complete Answers to Test Yourself
the Motorcycle Ohio (MO) Basic Course (previous pages)
will have the state of Ohio Motorcycle 1-C 2-D 3-D 4-A 5-B
Skill test waived. 6-C 7-D 8-D 9-C 10-C
11-D 12-A 13-A 14-C
MO graduates will receive the
motorcycle endorsement/license upon
presenting their course completion card
to a Deputy Registrar. Graduates less Answers to Knowledge Test
1-B 2-C 3-C 4-C 5-B

39
MOTORCYCLES MAKE SENSE –
SO DOES PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
Motorcycles are inexpensive to operate, fun to ride and easy to park. Unfortunately,
many riders never learn critical skills needed to ride safely.

Professional training for beginning and experienced riders prepares them for real-
world traffic situations. Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoursesSM teach and
improve such skills as:

• Effective turning • Braking maneuvers • Protective apparel selection


• Obstacle avoidance • Traffic strategies • Maintenance

FOR THE BEGINNING OR EXPERIENCED COURSE


NEAREST YOU, VISIT www.motorcycle.ohio.gov OR CALL
TOLL FREE: 1-800-83-RIDER

Portions of this manual courtesy of

Motorcycle Safety Foundation


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

40
Ohio Driver License Examination Stations

County Address Appointments Days Open

Adams Village of West Union Community Bldg. (937) 544-9781 Wed


923 Sunrise Avenue
West Union
Allen 2010 Spencerville Road (419) 225-5786 Tues-Sat
Lima
Ashland 1652 Eagle Way (419) 281-8681 Tues-Sat
Ashland
Ashtabula 77 N. Chestnut Street (440) 576-0200 Tues-Sat
Jefferson
Athens 184 W. Union Street (614) 593-7111 Tues-Sat
Athens
Auglaize 604 South Blackhoof Street (419) 738-2707 Tues-Wed
Wapakoneta
Belmont 320 Hall Street (740) 609-0170 Tues-Sat
Bridgeport
Brown 324 West State Street (937) 378-4267 Thurs
Georgetown
Butler 1720-B South Erie-Highway, Bldg C (513) 893-8361 Tues-Sat
Hamilton
Carroll 155 W. Main Street (330) 627-5444 Thurs-Fri
Carrolton
Champaign 1512 South U.S. Route 68 (937) 653-5797 Tues-Wed
Urbana
Clark Park Shopping Center (937) 325-4554 Tues-Sat
1139 Bechtle Ave., Springfield
Clermont 457 West Main Street (513) 732-7665 Tues-Sat
Batavia
Clinton State Highway Patrol (937) 383-4519 Thurs-Sat
950 Rombach Ave., Wilmington
Columbiana 7735-C State Route 45 (330) 424-5185 Tues-Sat
Lisbon
Coshocton 706 S. 7th Street (740) 623-8584 Tues-Wed
Coshocton
Crawford 1653 Marion Road (419) 562-3929 Tues-Sat
Bucyrus
Cuyahoga 14000 Broadway Avenue (216) 787-5880 Tues-Sat
Garfield Heights
Cuyahoga 6420 Mayfield Road (216) 787-5880 Tues-Sat
Mayfield Heights
Cuyahoga 12000 Snow Road (216) 787-5880 Tues-Sat
Parma
Cuyahoga 2765 E. 55th Street (216) 787-5880 Tues-Sat
Cleveland
Darke 641 Wagner Avenue (937) 548-4240 Tues, Sat,
Greenville
Defiance 999 Procom Street, Suite 104 (419) 784-1026 Tues-Sat
Defiance

41
Ohio Driver License Examination Stations

County Address Appointments Days Open

Delaware 2081 N. US Highway 23 (740) 369-3477 Tues-Sat


Delaware
Fairfield 980 Liberty Drive, Suite 200 (740) 654-7947 Tues-Sat
Lancaster
Fayette 105 East Street (740) 636-8857 Tuesday
Washington Courthouse
Franklin 1970 W. Broad Street (614) 995-5353 Tues-Sat
Columbus
Franklin 4738 Cemetery Road (614) 921-8946 Tues-Sat
Hilliard
Fulton 152 S. Fulton Street (866) 401-3926 Thurs-Fri
Wauseon
Gallia 499 Jackson Pike (877) 599-8378 Tues-Wed
Gallipolis
Geauga 602 South Street (440) 286-9530 Tues-Sat
Chardon
Greene 601 Ledbetter Road, Ste. C (937) 372-6850 Tues-Sat
Xenia
Guernsey 224 Dewey Avenue (740) 432-2545 Tues-Sat
Cambridge
Hamilton 11177 Reading Road, Ste. 201-202 (513) 769-3047 Tues-Sat
Cincinnati (Sharonville)
Hamilton 10940 Hamilton Avenue (513) 674-7830 Tues-Sat
Seven Hills
Hancock 8210 County Road 140 (419) 423-2381 Tues-Sat
Findlay
Hardin 1021 West Lima (866) 401-3926 Tues
Kenton
Harrison 538 N. Main Street (866) 903-3926 1st and 3rd Fri
Cadiz
Henry American Legion Post, 500 Glenwood Ave.(866) 401-3926 Wed
Napoleon
Holmes State Route 39 (866) 903-3926 Thurs
Millersburg
Huron 142 Cleveland Road (419) 668-7413 Tues-Sat
Norwalk
Jackson 301 Huron Street (740) 286-4245 Wed-Sat
Jackson
Jefferson 125 Fernwood Road (740) 264-6111 Tues-Sat
Wintersville
Knox 671 North Sandusky (740) 392-1846 Wed-Sat
Mt. Vernon
Lake 2736 North Ridge Road, Unit 7 (440) 354-9606 Tues-Sat
Painesville

42
Ohio Driver License Examination Stations

County Address Appointments Days Open

Lawrence 2717 S. Third Street, Suite B (740) 532-6793 Tues-Sat


Ironton
Licking 873 E. Main Street (740) 345-1335 Tues-Sat
Newark
Logan 1365 N. County Road 32, Suite #1 (937) 592-7911 Thurs-Sat
Bellefontaine
Lorain 229 Broad Street Lorain (440) 233-7174 Tues-Sat
Elyria Elyria (440) 323-9466 Tues-Sat
Lucas 4460 Heatherdowns Boulevard (419) 385-6479 Tues-Sat
Toledo
Madison 294 Lafayette Street (614) 921-8946 Fri, Sat
London
Mahoning 490 S. Broad Street (330) 702-0948 Tues-Sat
Canfield
Marion 222 W. Center Street (740) 223-1448 Tues-Sat
Marion
Medina 970 N. Court Street (330) 725-3014 Tues-Sat
Medina
Meigs City Building, 237 Race Street (877) 599-8378 Fri
Middleport Mobile Unit
Mercer 330 Portland Street, Suite 1 (419) 586-3912 Thurs-Sat
Celina
Miami 1275 Experiment Farm Road (937) 335-1057 Tues-Sat
Troy
Monroe 221 Main Street (866) 903-3926 Wed
Woodsfield
Montgomery 6134 Chambersburg Road (937) 236-1763 Tues-Sat
Huber Heights
Morgan City Building, 449 Main Street (866) 903-3926 Tues
Malta
Muskingum 255 Sunrise Center (740) 453-8147 Tues-Sat
Zanesville
Noble 215 West Street (866) 903-3926 Fri
Caldwell
Paulding Paulding County Fairgrounds (866) 401-3926 Thurs
Paulding
Pickaway 141 W. Main Street, Suite 600 (614) 921-8946 Wed-Thurs
Circleville
Pike 210 Market Street (877) 599-8378 Thurs
Waverly Mobile Unit
Portage 444 S. Meridian Street (330) 296-4160 Tues-Sat
Ravenna
Preble 530 Junction Village (937) 456-1266 Tues-Sat
Eaton

43
Ohio Driver License Examination Stations
County Address Appointments Days Open

Putnam 212 W. Second Street (866) 401-3926 Tues


Ottawa
Richland 1157 Park Avenue West (419) 529-2231 Tues-Sat
Mansfield
Ross 475 Western Avenue, Suite L (740) 775-9172 Tues-Sat
Shawnee Square, Chillicothe
Sandusky 500 W. State Street (419) 334-2012 Tues-Sat
Fremont
Scioto 3980 Rhodes Avenue (740) 456-0135 Tues-Sat
New Boston
Seneca 451 E. Market Street, State Route 101 (419) 448-4030 Tues-Sat
Tiffin
Shelby 1000 Milligan Court, Suite #102 (937) 498-4779 Thurs-Sat
Sidney
Stark 3195 Whitewood Street, N.W. (330) 433-9214 Tues-Sat
North Canton
Summit 2905-7 State Road (330) 923-9721 Tues-Sat
Cuyahoga Falls
Summit 105 5th Street, S.E. (330) 753-2000 Wed
Barberton
Trumbull 5555 Youngstown Warren Rd #203 (330) 544-5404 Tues-Sat
Niles
Tuscarawas 1260 Monroe Avenue (330) 602-7810 Tues-Sat
New Philadelphia
Union 940 London Avenue, Suite 1300 (937) 642-2431 Tues-Wed
Marysville
Van Wert 10234 Van Wert-Decator Road (866) 401-3962 Fri, Sat
Van Wert
Vinton 301 W. High Street (877) 599-8378 Wed
McArthur Mobile Unit
Warren 19-B Dave Avenue (513) 932-5825 Tues-Sat
Lebanon
Washington 148-A Gross Street (740) 373-3679 Tues-Sat
Frontier Shopping Center, Marietta
Wayne 340 South Market (330) 264-7342 Tues-Sat
Wooster
Williams 13065 #A County Road D50 (866) 401-3926 Tues-Wed
Bryan
Wood 1616 E. Wooster Street (419) 353-5920 Tues-Sat
Bowling Green

Note: Some phone numbers, addresses and scheduled days and times may change due to
relocations. For additional information, please contact your local state highway patrol
post.

To schedule a road test visit www.ohiodrivingtest.com

44
NOTES
NOTES
www.publicsafety.ohio.gov

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