Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual - Lakeshoredriving.net

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Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual - Lakeshoredriving.net

Dear Michigan Motorcyclist:Michigan’s beautiful and varied landscapes provide motorcyclists withmany opportunities for enjoyable riding. With over 500,000 properly endorsedriders, the Department of State is committed to promoting training, the use ofsuitable riding gear and licensing as the best means for keeping everyone safe onthe road. I know you’ll find this latest edition of the “Michigan MotorcycleOperator Manual” helpful when preparing to obtain your endorsement or as arefresher of the skills, techniques and basic traffic laws pertaining to safe riding.Rider safety and education remain hallmarks of the Department of StateMichigan Motorcycle Safety Program. Under the program’s coach preparationclasses, up to 50 new coaches are trained annually to assist state-approved sitesin meeting the growing demand for rider education. Other efforts benefitingmotorcyclists include expanding rider-training enrollment opportunities andobtaining additional motorcycles used for training.Motorcycling is gaining in popularity as is evident by the increasingnumbers of registered motorcycles and properly endorsed riders. I encourageeveryone to share the road and obey all traffic laws when driving. As amotorcyclist, the smartest action you can take to keep yourself safe is to beprepared, obtain an endorsement if you don’t have one, ride defensively andnever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Respect the ride and enjoy!Sincerely,Terri Lynn LandSecretary of State


MICHIGAN’S DRIVERTESTING PROGRAMState and federal laws mandatedriver testing for residents wishing toobtain a license or endorsement todrive an automobile, a commercialvehicle or a motorcycle. TheDepartment of State administers thewritten driver knowledge tests at itsbranch offices. Driving skills testsare provided only through a thirdpartytesting program. This programuses a statewide network ofauthorized public and privateorganizations to conduct drivingskills tests. The Department of Stateis committed to assuring that theprocedures for testing drivers areadministered in a fair and reliablemanner by qualified examiners.Names and phone numbers ofthird-party testing organizations areavailable from the Department ofState Web site atwww.Michigan.gov/sos or anySecretary of State office.TESTING IMPROPRIETIESMichigan law mandates that:• Any third-party testing organizationor examiner who intentionallymisrepresents a driving skills testby omitting any testing requirementor procedure, or participates in anyillegal activity related to driverlicensing, is subject to severepenalties. Those include loss of thetesting authorization, criminalprosecution and restitution formonetary damages to the testapplicant, the department or both.• Any person, including theexaminer or applicant, whoknowingly encourages, facilitatesor participates in improper, illegalor fraudulent driver testing is alsosubject to criminal prosecution.• Any person found to have beenimproperly, illegally or fraudulentlytested must take the appropriatetests again. The fee for retestingmay be charged to the applicant.• Improper, fraudulent or unlawfuldriver’s license tests result inillegal license applications.UNDER THE MICHIGANVEHICLE CODE (PUBLIC ACT300 OF 1949), IT IS AFELONY:• To make a false certificationregarding any driver’s licenseapplication.• To bribe or attempt to corrupt aperson or agency that conducts adriving test with the intent toinfluence the opinion or decisionof the tester.• For an examining officer whoconducts a driving test under anagreement entered into with theDepartment of State to vary from,shorten or in any other way changethe method or examination criteriaprescribed under that agreement.• For a person to forge, counterfeitor alter a driving test certificationissued by a designated examiningofficer.A felony committed under these lawsis punishable by one to five years inprison and a maximum $5,000 finefor the first offense. Subsequentconvictions result in additionalpenalties.1


BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS FORTHIRD-PARTY TESTINGORGANIZATIONSThird-party testing organizationsmust adhere to certain businesspractices and administer drivingskills tests according to establishedstandards and procedures containedin a formal, legal agreement with thedepartment. Among many contractrequirements, third-party testingorganizations must:• Be approved by the departmentbefore testing services are offered.• Maintain an established place ofbusiness and obtain writtenpermission to use all approved testsites.• Respond to all driver-testingservice inquiries by the nextbusiness day.• Publish a printed fee and refundpolicy and provide receipts. Testfees are set by the third-partytesting organization and are notregulated by law.• Maintain a surety bond.• Ensure examiners attend and passall required training and obtaindepartment authorization beforeadministering tests.REPORTING IMPROPER,ILLEGAL OR FRAUDULENTTEST ACTIVITIESIf you are aware of any improper,illegal or fraudulent testing activities,report them immediately to theDepartment of State. Please be sureto include the names of the peopleand organizations involved, the date ofthe incident and a detailed descriptionof the activities observed or discussed.All legitimate reports will beinvestigated. A written statement maybe required. This information shouldbe submitted to the:Michigan Department of StateDriver Programs DivisionRichard H. Austin Building430 W. Allegan, 3rd FloorLansing, MI 48918Phone (517) 241-6850Fax (517) 373-0964ThirdPartyTesting@Michigan.govOPERATING YOURMOTORCYCLE IN MICHIGANBefore traveling, make sure youare aware of any state laws that affectthe operation of a motorcycle.Michigan has several laws concerningregistration, motorcycle endorsementsand safe riding equipment – as wellas traffic laws – that motorcyclists arerequired to obey.THE DEFINITION OF AMOTORCYCLEA motorcycle is a two- or threewheeledmotor vehicle with a saddleor seat that produces more than 2.0brake horsepower and can attainspeeds greater than 30 mph on alevel surface. Some vehicles, such as2


“pocket rockets” or “mini choppers,”may meet this definition, but do nothave all of the equipment requiredby Michigan law to legally drivethem on public roads and will not beregistered by the Department ofState.REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTSUnder Michigan law, motorcycleregistrations are issued for one yearand expire on the owner’s birthday.You must register your motorcycle ata Secretary of State office if you planto operate it on public roads. Whenregistering, you will need to provide:• Proof of insurance for at least$20,000/$40,000 public liabilityand $10,000 property damagecoverage.• For an original registration, yourmotorcycle title. For a renewalregistration, your renewal noticeor last year’s registration.RENEWING YOURMOTORCYCLE REGISTRATIONYou can skip the trip to abranch office by renewing yourmotorcycle registration online at theDepartment of State’s Web site atwww.Michigan.gov/sos. Payment isby credit card. Registrations mayalso be renewed by touch-tonetelephone and mail or in person at abranch office. Your license platetabs will arrive within seven days.For more information, please referto your renewal notice, visit thedepartment’s Web site or contact aSecretary of State office.OBTAINING A MOTORCYCLEENDORSEMENTTo operate a motorcycle onpublic roads, you must possess a validMichigan driver’s license with amotorcycle endorsement. The cost ofthe motorcycle endorsement is addedto the regular driver’s license fee.To obtain a motorcycleendorsement, you will need to pass avision screening and a writtenknowledge test as well as a motorcyclesafety course or a motorcycle skillstest. The requirements for obtaining amotorcycle endorsement differ forteens and adults.TEENSTo apply for a motorcycleendorsement, teens must be at least16 and:• Possess a valid Level 2 or Level 3Graduated Driver License.• Successfully complete an approvedmotorcycle safety course.• Pass the written knowledge testadministered at a Secretary ofState office.ADULTSTo apply for a motorcycleendorsement, adults 18 or older must:• Possess a valid driver’s license.• Pass the written knowledge testadministered at a Secretary ofState office.• Pass the motorcycle skills testgiven by a third-party testingorganization approved by theDepartment of State OR pass amotorcycle safety course approvedby the Department of State.3


• If you have a valid motorcyclelicense or endorsement fromanother state, the requirement topass a motorcycle skills test ormotorcycle safety course maybe waived.• Adults 18 or older are requiredto take a motorcycle safetycourse if they fail themotorcycle skills test twice.Contact your local Secretary ofState office or visit the department’sWeb site at www.Michigan.gov/sosfor more information and themotorcycle safety course nearest you.THE MOTORCYCLETEMPORARY INSTRUCTIONPERMITThe Department of State issuesthe motorcycle TemporaryInstruction Permit (TIP). Amotorcycle TIP allows applicants topractice riding on public roads underthe constant visual supervision of alicensed motorcycle operator age 18or older. You may not ride at nightor carry passengers when using amotorcycle TIP. Riders apply for aTIP before taking the motorcycleskills test to give them anopportunity to practice riding undersupervision.The motorcycle TIP is valid for180 days from the issue date. Toapply, you must have a validoperator’s or chauffeur’s license,pass a written test, and pay theendorsement fee. Teens ages 16-17must have a valid Level 2 or Level 3Graduated Driver License andpresent proof of enrollment in orcompletion of an approvedmotorcycle safety course. Riderswho want to extend a motorcycleTIP beyond 180 days must make anew application.MOTORCYCLE SKILLS TESTThe motorcycle skills testshould include all the components asdescribed in this manual. Providedbelow are the required skills testelements and approximate times forthe test. The allotted times areestimated minimums.Motorcycle Skills Test• Vehicle inspection – 5 minutes,not scored.• Basic control skills on range – 10minutes, scored.During the motorcycle skillstest, authorized examiners mustalways:• Read standard instructions to eachapplicant for each part of the test(a list of instructions is providedto the examiner for this purpose).• Use only department-approved,off-street exercises.Before taking the skills test, youmust have a legally equipped andregistered motorcycle. To drive amotorcycle to your skills test, youmust have a valid motorcycle TIPand be under the constant visualsupervision of a licensed motorcycleoperator at least age 18.The motorcycle skills testapproved by the Department of Statehas seven exercises that gauge yourability to handle a motorcycle, includingstarting, accelerating, turning andbraking.4


• Engine stall: This is scoredduring the entire test. Points areassessed each time you stall theengine during any exercise.• Sharp turn: You ride a short pathand then make a sharp left turn atlow speed while staying inside a5-foot path.• Normal stop: You must make asmooth stop without skidding,with the front tire of yourmotorcycle in a painted box.• Cone weave: You must weavethrough a series of five cones thatare placed 15 feet apart with a 3-foot offset.• U-Turn: You must make a right U-turn in a marked area. Thoseoperating motorcycles over 500 ccare allowed more room to completethe U-turn. Motorcycles of 500 ccor less have a smaller U-turn area.• Quick stop: You accelerate alonga straight path. At the end of thepath (marked by cones), you muststop your motorcycle as quicklyand safely as possible.• Obstacle swerve: You acceleratealong a straight path. At the endof the path (marked by cones), youmust swerve to avoid an obstacleline and then swerve to avoid thesidelines of the exercise.After you have successfully passedthe motorcycle skills test, you willbe given a certificate that must bepresented at a Secretary of Stateoffice when you apply for yourmotorcycle endorsement.LEGAL REQUIREMENTS ANDSAFETY GUIDELINES FOROPERATING A MOTORCYCLEMichigan law requires thefollowing when you operate yourmotorcycle:• Wear a properly fastened safetyhelmet on your head. It must meetU.S. Department of Transportationstandards and be properly labeled.Passengers must also wear aproperly fastened and approvedsafety helmet.• Use shatterproof goggles, a faceshield or windshield to protectyour eyes when riding at speeds of35 mph or more. Eye protection isrecommended when riding at anyspeed.• Sit on a regular, permanentlyattached seat.• Never carry any package, bundleor article that prevents you fromkeeping both hands on thehandlebars of the vehicle.• Never let anyone without a validdriver’s license and motorcycleendorsement operate yourmotorcycle.• Never attach your motorcycle toanother vehicle for a “tow.”• Never operate a motorcycle onsidewalks, more than two side-bysideon a public road, betweenlanes of traffic, between traffic andthe curb or on a bicycle path.Keep the following points inmind when traveling by motorcyclein Michigan:• Lane use – When operating yourmotorcycle, you are entitled to usea full lane.5


• Freeways or limited accesshighways – Motorcycles withengines smaller than 125 cc arenot allowed on freeways orlimited access highways.• Equipment – Your motorcyclemust have the followingequipment, which must be in goodcondition: front- and rear-wheelbrakes, headlight, taillight,stoplight, muffler, horn, rearviewmirror and permanently attachedseat.• Handlebars – Your motorcyclehandlebars must be positioned sothat there are no more than 15inches between the lowest point ofthe (unoccupied) seat to thehighest point of the handle grips.• Signaling turns – Signaling whenyou are turning or changing lanesis not only a courtesy, it’s the law.• Before stopping or turning, seeif it is safe. Then, let otherdrivers know of your intentionto turn by using your turn signalor the appropriate hand and armsignals.• Start your signal at least 100feet before you turn. In heavytraffic or on freeways, signalsooner so drivers behind youhave time to change their speedor position.• Make sure your turn signal lighthas stopped blinking after youhave turned.• Always use turn signals to alertother drivers when you plan tochange lanes.• The proper hand and armsignals are: left arm and handbent up for a right turn; left armand hand straight out for a leftturn; and left arm and hand bentdown for a slow or stop.• Passengers – Motorcycles withextra foot pegs and seating spacemay be used to carry a passenger.If your motorcycle has thisequipment, it does not necessarilymean that a passenger can becarried legally or safely. If indoubt, check with a motorcyclemanufacturer or dealer. Amotorcycle operator may nevercarry more than one passenger.• Starting on a hill – Use the frontbrake to hold the motorcyclewhile you start the engine andshift into first gear. Change to thefoot brake to hold your vehiclewhile you operate the throttle withyour right hand. Slowly open thethrottle for more power andslowly release the clutch. If yourelease it too quickly, the frontwheel may lift off the ground orthe engine may stall. Ease off thefoot brake as the engine slowsdown and engages.BE EXTRA CAREFUL OF:• Animals crossing the road,especially at night.• Ice in the winter, early spring andlate fall.• Approaching livestock beingridden, driven or led so as not tostartle the person or animals.• Pedestrians crossing, includingblind pedestrians and joggers.You must yield the right of way.• Bicyclists who may cross roadswithout warning. Be prepared tostop or avoid them.6


DRINKING AND DRIVING INMICHIGANIt is illegal to operate a motorvehicle in Michigan:• While intoxicated or impaired byalcohol, illegal drugs and certainprescribed medications.• With a bodily alcohol content of0.08 or more.• With the presence of a Schedule 1drug or cocaine. Schedule 1 drugshave no medical uses and presenta high risk for abuse. Included inthis group are marijuana, Ecstasy,hallucinogens, designeramphetamines and heroin.Drunken drivers face swift andtough action under Michigan’sdrunken driving laws. The laws:• Require courts to decide drunkendriving cases within 77 days afteran arrest.• Require a six-month driver’slicense suspension, even for a firstconviction. Drivers may beeligible to receive a restrictedlicense after serving 30 days ofthe suspension.• Require five days to one year of jailtime, 30 to 90 days of communityservice, or both, for a secondconviction of drunken driving.• Include a felony for a convictionfor drunken driving that causesdeath.• Include a felony for a convictionfor drunken driving that causes aserious injury to another.• Require fines for a conviction ofdriving while a driver’s license issuspended or revoked of up to$500 for a first offense and $1,000for an additional offense.• Do not allow hardship appeals forhabitual alcohol offenders.• Require a $125 reinstatement feeif your driver’s license wassuspended, revoked or restricted.• Require a Driver ResponsibilityFee of $1,000 for two consecutiveyears for driving whileintoxicated, and a $500 fee fortwo consecutive years for drivingwhile impaired, with the presenceof a Schedule 1 drug or cocaine,under the Zero Tolerance law orfor child endangerment.GENERAL DRIVER’S LICENSERENEWAL INFORMATIONYour driver’s license is valid forfour years. The license expirationdate is shown on the upper rightcorner. The Department of Statesends a renewal notice about 45 daysbefore your license expires. Plan torenew at least two weeks before itexpires. If your renewal notice doesnot arrive or is lost, do not let yourdriver’s license expire. Go to aSecretary of State office and renew it.PROVIDING A SOCIALSECURITY NUMBERAnyone applying for orrenewing a Michigan driver’s licensemust provide a Social Securitynumber before the application canbe processed. The federal WelfareReform Act requiresstates to collect Social Securitynumbers for use in child-supportenforcement.A person who has never beenissued a Social Security numbermust certify to that fact on anapplication obtained at a Secretary7


of State office. Individuals whomake a false statement on theapplication are subject toimprisonment for one to five years, afine of $500 to $5000, or both. Theindividual’s license or permit willalso be suspended.RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’SLICENSEWhen you renew your driver’slicense at a branch office, you willbe required to take a visionscreening. A new photograph willbe taken. You may pay the renewalfee with cash, money order orpersonal check. Credit cardpayment at the counter is offered atSecretary of State PLUS offices andSUPER!Centers.**At the time of this printing, only Discoverand MasterCard are accepted at PLUSoffices and SUPER!Centers.RENEWING YOUR DRIVER’SLICENSE BY MAILYou may be eligible to renew yourdriver’s license by mail if you:• Renewed in person the last time.• Do not have a commercial driver’slicense.• Are not listed on the sex offenderregistry.If you have had a change inyour physical condition during thepast six months, you must renew inperson. You may need to submit aphysician’s statement to renew.CHANGE OF ADDRESSMichigan law requires that yourdriver’s license address, which isyour place of residence, matches theaddress on your voter registrationcard. You may submit a change ofaddress at any Secretary of Stateoffice or by mail. There is no feefor this service. If you go to abranch office, a change-of-addresssticker will be provided for the backof your license. Mail-in forms areavailable from the department’s Website at www.Michigan.gov/sos.Failure to notify the Department ofState of a change of address mayresult in a driver’s licensesuspension.OFFICE HOURS• Monday, Tuesday, Thursday andFriday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.• Wednesdays – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.Offices in city centers are openfrom 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.• Secretary of State PLUS officesand SUPER!Centers provideextended Wednesday hours from9 a.m. to 7 p.m.• SUPER!Centers also offerSaturday hours from 9 a.m. tonoon.• Smaller offices may close for alunch hour, and all branches areclosed on state holidays.8


PREPARING TO RIDEWhat you do before you start a trip goes a long way towarddetermining whether or not you’ll get where you want to go safely.Before taking off on any trip, a safe rider makes a point to:1. Wear the right gear.2. Become familiar with the motorcycle.3. Check the motorcycle equipment.4. Be a responsible rider.WEAR THE RIGHT GEARWhen you ride, your gear is“right” if it protects you. In anycrash, you have a far better chance ofavoiding serious injury if you wear:• An approved helmet.• Face or eye protection.• Protective clothing.HELMET USECrashes can occur —particularly among untrained,beginning riders. And one out ofevery five motorcycle crashes resultsin head or neck injuries. Headinjuries are just as severe as neckinjuries — and far more common.Crash analyses show that head andneck injuries account for a majorityof serious and fatal injuries tomotorcyclists. Research also showsthat, with few exceptions, head andneck injuries are reduced by properlywearing an approved helmet.Some riders don’t wear helmetsbecause they think helmets will limittheir view to the sides. Others wearhelmets only on long trips or whenriding at high speeds. Here are somefacts to consider:• An approved helmet lets you seeas far to the sides as necessary. Astudy of more than 900 motorcyclecrashes, where 40% of the riderswore helmets, did not find evenone case in which a helmet kept arider from spotting danger.• Most crashes happen on shorttrips (less than five mileslong), just a few minutes afterstarting out.• Most riders are riding slowerthan 30 mph when a crashoccurs. At these speeds, helmetscan cut both the number and theseverity of head injuries by half.No matter what the speed,helmeted riders are three times morelikely to survive head injuries thanthose not wearing helmets at the timeof the crash.HELMET SELECTIONThere are two primary types ofhelmets, providing two differentlevels of coverage: three-quarter andfull face.Whichever style you choose, youcan get the most protection bymaking sure that the helmet:WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR9


HELMET USEHELMETSEYE AND FACE PROTECTION• Is designed to meet U.S.Department of Transportation(DOT) and state standards.Helmets with a label from theSnell Memorial Foundation giveyou an added assurance of quality.• Fits snugly, all the way around.• Has no obvious defects suchas cracks, loose padding orfrayed straps.Whatever helmet you decideon, keep it securely fastened on yourhead when you ride. Otherwise, ifyou are involved in a crash, it’s likelyto fly off your head before it gets achance to protect you.EYE AND FACE PROTECTIONA plastic shatter-resistantfaceshield can help protect yourwhole face in a crash. It alsoprotects you from wind, dust, dirt,rain, insects and pebbles thrown upfrom cars ahead. These problemsare distracting and can be painful.If you have to deal with them, youcan’t devote your full attention tothe road.Goggles protect your eyes,though they won’t protect the rest ofyour face like a faceshield does. Awindshield is not a substitute for afaceshield or goggles. Mostwindshields will not protect youreyes from the wind. Neither willeyeglasses or sunglasses. Glasseswon’t keep your eyes from watering,and they might blow off when youturn your head while riding.To be effective, eye or faceshieldprotection must:• Be free of scratches.• Be resistant to penetration.• Give a clear view to either side.• Fasten securely, so it does notblow off.• Permit air to pass through, toreduce fogging.• Permit enough room foreyeglasses or sunglasses, ifneeded.Tinted eye protection shouldnot be worn at night or any othertime when little light is available.10


CLOTHINGThe right clothing protects youin a collision. It also providescomfort, as well as protection fromheat, cold, debris and hot and movingparts of the motorcycle. It can alsomake you more visible to others.• Jacket and pants should coverarms and legs completely. Theyshould fit snugly enough to keepfrom flapping in the wind, yetloosely enough to move freely.Leather offers the most protection.Sturdy synthetic material providesa lot of protection as well. Weara jacket even in warm weatherto prevent dehydration. Manyare designed to protect withoutgetting you overheated, even onsummer days.• Boots or shoes should be high andsturdy enough to cover your anklesand give them support. Solesshould be made of hard, durable,slip-resistant material. Keep heelsshort so they do not catch on roughsurfaces. Tuck in laces so theywon’t catch on your motorcycle.• Gloves allow a better grip andhelp protect your hands in a crash.Your gloves should be made ofleather or similar durable material.In cold or wet weather, yourclothes should keep you warm anddry, as well as protect you frominjury. You cannot control amotorcycle well if you are numb.Riding for long periods in coldweather can cause severe chill andfatigue. A winter jacket should resistwind and fit snugly at the neck,wrists and waist. Good-qualityrainsuits designed for motorcycleriding resist tearing apart orballooning up at high speeds.KNOW YOURMOTORCYCLEThere are plenty of things on thehighway that can cause you trouble.Your motorcycle should not be one ofthem. To make sure that yourmotorcycle won’t let you down:• Read the owner’s manual first.• Start with the right motorcycle foryou.• Be familiar with the motorcyclecontrols.• Check the motorcycle beforeevery ride.• Keep it in safe riding conditionbetween rides.• Avoid add-ons and modificationsthat make your motorcycleharder to handle.THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLEFOR YOUFirst, make sure your motorcycleis right for you. It should “fit” you.Your feet should reach the groundwhile you are seated on themotorcycle, and the controls shouldbe easy to operate. Smallermotorcycles are usually easier forbeginners to operate.11CLOTHING THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE


KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLEAt minimum, your street-legalmotorcycle should have:• Headlight, taillight andbrakelight.• Front and rear brakes.• Turn signals.• Horn.• Two mirrors.BORROWING AND LENDINGBorrowers and lenders ofmotorcycles, beware. Crashes arefairly common among beginningriders — especially in the firstmonths of riding. Riding anunfamiliar motorcycle adds to theproblem. If you borrow a motorcycle,get familiar with it in a controlledarea. And if you lend yourmotorcycle to friends, make sure theyare licensed and know how to ridebefore allowing them out into traffic.No matter how experienced youmay be, ride extra carefully on anymotorcycle that’s new or unfamiliarto you. More than half of all crashesinvolve riders who have less than fivemonths of experience on theirmotorcycle.GET FAMILIAR WITH THEMOTORCYCLE CONTROLSMake sure you are completelyfamiliar with the motorcycle beforeyou take it out on the street. Be sureto review the owner’s manual. This isparticularly important if you areriding a borrowed motorcycle.If you are going to use anunfamiliar motorcycle:MOTORCYCLE CONTROLSLight Switch (high/low)Choke (varies)Turn-SignalSwitchIgnition Key(varies)Engine Cut-OffSwitchElectricStartButtonHorn ButtonThrottleClutch LeverSpeedometer& OdometerFront Brake LeverTachometer(if equipped)Fuel Supply Valve(if equipped)Gear-Change LeverRear Brake PedalKick Starter(if equipped)12


• Make all the checks you wouldon your own motorcycle.• Find out where everything is,particularly the turn signals, horn,headlight switch, fuel-supplyvalve and engine cut-off switch.Find and operate these itemswithout having to look for them.• Know the gear pattern. Work thethrottle, clutch and brakes a fewtimes before you start riding. Allcontrols react a little differently.• Ride very cautiously and beaware of surroundings. Accelerategently, take turns more slowly andleave extra room for stopping.CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLEA motorcycle needs morefrequent attention than a car. A minortechnical failure in a car seldom leadsto anything more than aninconvenience for the driver.If something’s wrong with themotorcycle, you’ll want to find outabout it before you get in traffic.Make a complete check of yourmotorcycle before every ride.Before mounting the motorcycle,make the following checks:• Tires — Check the air pressure,general wear and tread.• Fluids — Oil and fluid levels. At aminimum, check hydraulic fluidsand coolants weekly. Look underthe motorcycle for signs of an oilor gas leak.• Headlights and Taillight —Check them both. Test your switchto make sure both high and lowbeams are working.• Turn Signals — Turn on bothright and left turn signals. Makesure all lights are workingproperly.• Brake Light — Try both brakecontrols, and make sure each oneturns on the brake light.Once you have mounted themotorcycle, complete the followingchecks before starting out:• Clutch and Throttle — Makesure they work smoothly. Thethrottle should snap back whenyou let go. The clutch should feeltight and smooth.• Mirrors — Clean and adjust bothmirrors before starting. It’sdifficult to ride with one handwhile you try to adjust a mirror.Adjust each mirror so you can seethe lane behind and as much aspossible of the lane next to you.When properly adjusted, a mirrormay show the edge of your arm orshoulder—but it’s the road behindand to the side that’s mostimportant.• Brakes — Try the front and rearbrake levers one at a time. Makesure each one feels firm and holdsthe motorcycle when the brake isfully applied.• Horn — Try the horn. Make sureit works.In addition to the checks youshould make before every trip, checkthe following items at least once aweek: wheels, cables, fasteners andfluid levels. Follow your owner’smanual to get recommendations.1 Test YourselfMore than half of all crashes:A. Occur at speeds greater than35 mph.B. Happen at night.C. Are caused by worn tires.D. Involve riders who have less thanfive months of experience on theirmotorcycle.Answer - page 4513CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE


KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIESKNOW YOURRESPONSIBILITIES“Accident” implies anunforeseen event that occurs withoutanyone’s fault or negligence. Mostoften in traffic, that is not the case. Infact, most people involved in a crashcan usually claim some responsibilityfor what takes place.Consider a situation wheresomeone decides to try to squeezethrough an intersection on a yellowlight turning red. Your light turnsgreen. You pull into the intersectionwithout checking for possiblelatecomers. That is all it takes for thetwo of you to tangle. It was thedriver’s responsibility to stop. And itwas your responsibility to lookbefore pulling out. Neither of youheld up your end of the deal. Justbecause someone else is the first tostart the chain of events leading to acrash, it doesn’t leave any of us freeof responsibility.As a rider you can’t be sure thatother operators will see you or yieldthe right of way. To lessen yourchances of a crash occurring:• Be visible — wear properclothing, use your headlight, ridein the best lane position to see andbe seen.• Communicate your intentions —use the proper signals, brake lightand lane position.• Maintain an adequate spacecushion — following, beingfollowed, lane sharing, passingand being passed.• Search your path of travel 12seconds ahead.• Identify and separate multiplehazards.• Be prepared to act — remainalert and know how to carry outproper crash-avoidance skills.Blame doesn’t matter whensomeone is injured in a crash. Thereis rarely a single cause of any crash.The ability to ride aware, makecritical decisions and carry them outseparates responsible riders from allthe rest. Remember, it is up to you tokeep from being the cause of, or anunprepared participant in, any crash.14


RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIESThis manual cannot teach you how to control direction, speed or balance.That’s something you can learn only through practice, preferably in a formalcourse of instruction. But control begins with knowing your abilities andriding within them, along with knowing and obeying the rules of the road.BASIC VEHICLECONTROLBODY POSITIONTo control a motorcycle well:• Posture — Sit so you can use yourarms to steer the motorcycle ratherthan to hold yourself up.• Seat — Sit far enough forward sothat arms are slightly bent whenyou hold the handlegrips. Bendingyour arms permits you to press onthe handlebars without having tostretch.• Hands — Hold the handlegripsfirmly to keep your grip overrough surfaces. Start with yourright wrist flat. This will help youkeep from accidentally usingHOLDING HANDLEGRIPSWRONGRIGHTtoo much throttle. Also, adjust thehandlebars so your hands are evenwith or below your elbows. Thispermits you to use the proper musclesfor precision steering.• Knees — Keep your knees againstthe gas tank to help you keep yourbalance as the motorcycle turns.• Feet — Keep your feet firmly onthe footrests to maintain balance.Don’t drag your feet. If your footcatches on something, you couldbe injured and it could affect yourcontrol of the motorcycle. Keepyour feet near the controls so youcan get to them fast if needed.Also, don’t let your toes pointdownward — they may get caughtbetween the road and the footrests.SHIFTING GEARSThere is more to shifting gearsthan simply getting the motorcycle topick up speed smoothly. Learning touse the gears when downshifting,turning or starting on hills isimportant for safe motorcycleoperation.Shift down through the gearswith the clutch as you slow or stop.Remain in first gear while you arestopped so that you can move outquickly if you need to.BODY POSITION SHIFTING GEARS15


BRAKINGTURNINGMake certain you are ridingslowly enough when you shift into alower gear. If not, the motorcycle willlurch, and the rear wheel may skid.When riding downhill or shifting intofirst gear you may need to use thebrakes to slow enough beforedownshifting safely. Work toward asmooth, even clutch release,especially when downshifting.It is best to change gears beforeentering a turn. However, sometimesshifting while in the turn is necessary.If so, remember to do so smoothly. Asudden change in power to the rearwheel can cause a skid.BRAKINGYour motorcycle has two brakes:one each for the front and rear wheel.Use both of them at the same time.The front brake is more powerful andcan provide at least three-quartersof your total stopping power. Thefront brake is safe to use if you useit properly.Remember:• Use both brakes every time youslow or stop. Using both brakes foreven “normal” stops will permityou to develop the proper habit orskill of using both brakes properlyin an emergency. Squeeze the frontbrake and press down on the rear.Grabbing at the front brake orjamming down on the rear cancause the brakes to lock, resultingin control problems.• If you know the technique, usingboth brakes in a turn is possible,although it should be done verycarefully. When leaning themotorcycle some of the traction isused for cornering. Less traction isavailable for stopping. A skid canoccur if you apply too much brake.Also, using the front brakeincorrectly on a slippery surfacemay be hazardous. Use cautionand squeeze the brake lever, nevergrab.• Some motorcycles have integratedbraking systems that activate thefront and rear brakes togetherwhen applying the rear brakepedal. (Consult the owner’smanual for a detailed explanationon the operation and effective useof these systems.)TURNINGRiders often try to take curves orturns too fast. When they can’t holdthe turn, they end up crossing intoanother lane of traffic or going off theroad. Or, they overreact and brake toohard, causing a skid and loss ofcontrol. Approach turns and curveswith caution.Use four steps for better control:• SLOW — Reduce speed beforethe turn by closing the throttle and,if necessary, applying both brakes.• LOOK — Look through the turnto where you want to go. Turn justyour head, not your shoulders, andkeep your eyes level with thehorizon.• PRESS — To turn, the motorcyclemust lean. To lean the motorcycle,press on the handgrip inthe direction of the turn. Pressleft handgrip — lean left — goleft. Press right handgrip — leanright — go right. The higher thespeed in a turn, the greater thelean angle.16


• ROLL — Roll on the throttleto maintain or slightly increasespeed. This helps stabilize themotorcycle.In normal turns, the rider and themotorcycle should lean together atthe same angle.NORMAL TURNS2 Test YourselfWhen riding, you should:A. Turn your head and shoulders tolook through turns.B. Keep your arms straight.C. Keep your knees away from thegas tank.D. Turn just your head and eyes tolook where you are going.Answer - page 45LANE POSITIONSKEEPING YOURDISTANCEThe best protection you can haveis distance — a “cushion of space” —all around your motorcycle. Ifsomeone else makes a mistake,distance permits you:• Time to react.• Space to maneuver.In slow, tight turns,counterbalance by leaning themotorcycle only and keeping yourbody straight.SLOW, TIGHT TURNSLANE POSITIONSIn some ways the size of themotorcycle can work to youradvantage. Each traffic lane gives amotorcycle three paths of travel, asindicated in the illustration (next page).Your lane position should:• Increase your ability to see and beseen.• Avoid others’ blind spots.• Avoid surface hazards.• Protect your lane from otherdrivers.• Communicate your intentions.• Avoid wind blast from othervehicles.• Provide an escape route.Select the appropriate path tomaximize your space cushion andmake yourself more easily seen byothers on the road.17


LANE POSITIONSFOLLOWINGIn general, there is no singlebest position for riders to be seenand to maintain a space cushionaround the motorcycle. No portionof the lane need be avoided —including the center.Position yourself in the portionof the lane where you are most likelyto be seen and you can maintain aspace cushion around you. Changeposition as traffic situations change.Ride in path 2 or 3 if vehicles andother potential problems are on yourleft only. Remain in path 1 or 2 ifhazards are on your right only. Ifvehicles are being operated on bothsides of you, the center of the lane,path 2, is usually your best option.The oily strip in the centerportion that collects drippings fromcars is usually no more than two feetwide. Unless the road is wet, theaverage center strip permits adequatetraction to ride on safely. You canoperate to the left or right of thegrease strip and still be within thecenter portion of the traffic lane.Avoid riding on big buildups of oiland grease usually found at busyintersections or toll booths.FOLLOWING ANOTHERVEHICLE“Following too closely” couldbe a factor in crashes involvingmotorcyclists. In traffic, motorcyclesneed as much distance to stop ascars. Normally, a minimum of twoseconds distance should bemaintained behind the vehicle ahead.To gauge your followingdistance:• Pick out a marker, such as apavement marking or lamppost, onor near the road ahead.• When the rear bumper of thevehicle ahead passes the marker,count off the seconds: “onethousand-one,one-thousand-two.”• If you reach the marker beforeyou reach “two,” you arefollowing too closely.A two-second following distanceleaves a minimum amount of spaceto stop or swerve if the driver aheadstops suddenly. It also permits abetter view of potholes and otherhazards in the road.A larger cushion of space isneeded if your motorcycle will takelonger than normal to stop. If the18


FOLLOWINGpavement is slippery, if you cannotsee through the vehicle ahead, or iftraffic is heavy and someone maysqueeze in front of you, open up athree-second or more followingdistance.Keep well behind the vehicleahead even when you are stopped.This will make it easier to get outof the way if someone bears down onyou from behind. It will also give youa cushion of space if the vehicleahead starts to back up for somereason.When behind a car, ride wherethe driver can see you in the rearviewmirror. Riding in the center portionof the lane should put your imagein the middle of the rearview mirror— where a driver is most likely tosee you.Riding at the far side of a lanemay permit a driver to see you in asideview mirror. But remember thatmost drivers don’t look at theirsideview mirrors nearly as often asthey check the rearview mirror. If thetraffic situation allows, the centerportion of the lane is usually the bestplace for you to be seen by thedrivers ahead and to prevent lanesharing by others.BEING FOLLOWEDSpeeding up to lose someonefollowing too closely only ends upwith someone tailgating you at ahigher speed.A better way to handletailgaters is to get them in front ofyou. When someone is following tooclosely, change lanes and let thempass. If you can’t do this, slow downand open up extra space ahead ofyou to allow room for both you andthe tailgater to stop. This will alsoencourage them to pass. If they don’tpass, you will have given yourselfand the tailgater more time and spaceto react in case an emergency doesdevelop ahead.PASSING AND BEING PASSEDPassing and being passed byanother vehicle is not much differentthan with a car. However, visibility ismore critical. Be sure other driverssee you, and that you see potentialhazards.BEING FOLLOWED19


PASSINGBEING PASSEDPASSING1. Ride in the left portion of thelane at a safe following distanceto increase your line of sight andmake you more visible. Signaland check for oncoming traffic.Use your mirrors and turn yourhead to look for traffic behind.2. When safe, move into the left laneand accelerate. Select a laneposition that doesn’t crowd thecar you are passing and providesspace to avoid hazards inyour lane.3. Ride through the blind spot asquickly as possible.4. Signal again, and complete mirrorand headchecks before returningto your original lane and thencancel the signal.Remember, passes must becompleted within posted speed limits,and only where permitted. Know yoursigns and road markings!BEING PASSEDWhen you are being passed frombehind or by an oncoming vehicle,stay in the center portion of yourlane. Riding any closer to them couldput you in a hazardous situation.Avoid being hit by:• The other vehicle — A slightmistake by you or the passingdriver could cause a sideswipe.• Extended mirrors — Somedrivers forget that their mirrorshang out farther than their fenders.• Objects thrown from windows— Even if the driver knows you’rethere, a passenger may not see youand might toss something on youor the road ahead of you.• Blasts of wind from largervehicles — They can affect yourcontrol. You have more room forerror if you are in the middleportion when hit by this blastthan if you are on either side ofthe lane.Do not move into the portionof the lane farthest from thepassing vehicle. It might invite theother driver to cut back into your lanetoo early.PASSINGBEING PASSED20


LANE SHARINGCars and motorcycles need a fulllane to operate safely. Lane sharing isusually prohibited.Riding between rows of stoppedor moving cars in the same lane canleave you vulnerable to theunexpected. A hand could come outof a window; a door could open; a carcould turn suddenly. Discourage lanesharing by others. Keep a centerportionposition whenever driversmight be tempted to squeeze by you.Drivers are most tempted to do this:• In heavy, bumper-to-bumpertraffic.• When they want to pass you.• When you are preparing to turn atan intersection.• When you are moving into an exitlane or leaving a highway.another lane if one is open. If there isno room for a lane change, adjustspeed to open up space for themerging driver.CARS ALONGSIDEDo not ride next to cars or trucksin other lanes if you do not have to.You might be in the blind spot of acar in the next lane, which couldswitch into your lane withoutwarning. Cars in the next lane alsoblock your escape if you come upondanger in your own lane. Speed up ordrop back to find a place clear oftraffic on both sides.BLIND SPOTSLANE SHARINGMERGING CARSDrivers on an entrance ramp maynot see you on the highway. Givethem plenty of room. Change toMERGING3 Test YourselfUsually, a good way to handletailgaters is to:A. Change lanes and let them pass.B. Use your horn and make obscenegestures.C. Speed up to put distance betweenyou and the tailgater.D. Ignore them.Answer - page 4521


SEESEEGood experienced riders remainaware of what is going on aroundthem. They improve their ridingstrategy by using SEE, a three-stepprocess used to make appropriatejudgments, and apply them correctlyin different traffic situations:• Search• Evaluate• ExecuteLet’s examine each of these steps.SEARCHSearch aggressively ahead, to thesides and behind to avoid potentialhazards even before they arise. Howassertively you search, and howmuch time and space you have, caneliminate or reduce harm. Focus evenmore on finding potential escaperoutes in or around intersections,shopping areas and school andconstruction zones.Search for factors such as:• Oncoming traffic that may turnleft in front of you.• Traffic coming from the left andright.• Traffic approaching from behind.• Hazardous road conditions.Be especially alert in areas withlimited visibility. Visually “busy”surroundings could hide you andyour motorcycle from others.EVALUATEThink about how hazards caninteract to create risks for you.Anticipate potential problems andhave a plan to reduce risks.• Road and surface characteristics— Potholes, guardrails, bridges,telephone poles and trees won’tmove into your path but mayinfluence your riding strategy.• Traffic control devices — Lookfor traffic signals, includingregulatory signs, warning signs,and pavement markings, to helpyou evaluate circumstancesahead.• Vehicles and other traffic —May move into your path andincrease the likelihood of a crash.Think about your time and spacerequirements in order to maintain amargin of safety. You must leaveyourself time to react if anemergency arises.EXECUTECarry out your decision.To create more space andminimize harm from any hazard:• Communicate your presence withlights and/or horn.• Adjust your speed byaccelerating, stopping or slowing.• Adjust your position and/ordirection.Apply the old adage “one stepat a time” to handle two or morehazards. Adjust speed to permit twohazards to separate. Then deal withthem one at a time as single hazards.Decision-making becomes morecomplex with three or more hazards.Evaluate the consequences of eachand give equal distance to the hazards.22


In potential high-risk areas, suchas intersections, shopping areas andschool and construction zones, coverthe clutch and both brakes to reducethe time you need to react.4 Test YourselfTo reduce your reaction time, youshould: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 45INTERSECTIONSThe greatest potential forconflict between you and other trafficis at intersections. An intersectioncan be in the middle of an urban areaor at a driveway on a residentialstreet — anywhere traffic may crossyour path of travel. Over one-half ofmotorcycle/car crashes are caused bydrivers entering a rider’s right-ofway.Cars that turn left in front ofyou, including cars turning left fromthe lane to your right, and cars onside streets that pull into your lane,are the biggest dangers. Your useof SEE [p. 22] at intersectionsis critical.There are no guarantees thatothers see you. Never count on “eyecontact” as a sign that a driver willyield. Too often, a driver looks rightat a motorcyclist and still fails to“see” him or her. The only eyes thatyou can count on are your own. If acar can enter your path, assume that itwill. Good riders are always “lookingfor trouble” — not to get into it, butto stay out of it.Increase your chances of beingseen at intersections. Ride with yourheadlight on and in a lane positionthat provides the best view ofoncoming traffic. Provide a spacecushion around the motorcycle thatpermits you to take evasive action.When approaching anintersection where a vehicle driveris preparing to cross your path, slowdown and select a lane position toincrease your visibility to that driver.Cover the clutch lever and bothbrakes to reduce reaction time. Asyou enter the intersection, moveaway from the vehicle. Do notchange speed or position radically,as drivers might think you arepreparing to turn. Be prepared tobrake hard and hold your position ifan oncoming vehicle turns in frontof you, especially if there is othertraffic around you. This strategyshould also be used whenever avehicle in the oncoming lane oftraffic is signaling for a left turn,whether at an intersection or not.SMALL INTERSECTIONSINTERSECTIONS23


LARGE INTERSECTIONSBLIND INTERSECTIONSIf you approach a blindintersection, move to the portion ofthe lane that will bring you intoanother driver’s field of vision at theearliest possible moment. In thispicture, the rider has moved to theleft portion of the lane — away fromthe parked car — so the driver onthe cross street can see him as soonas possible.BLIND INTERSECTIONSRemember, the key is to see asmuch as possible and remain visibleto others while protecting your space.24


STOP SIGNSPARKED CARSPARKED CARSIf you have a stop sign or stopline, stop there first. Then edgeforward and stop again, just short ofwhere the cross-traffic lane meetsyour lane. From that position, leanyour body forward and look aroundbuildings, parked cars or bushes tosee if anything is coming. Just makesure your front wheel stays out of thecross lane of travel while you’relooking.PASSING PARKED CARSWhen passing parked cars, staytoward the left of your lane. You canavoid problems caused by doorsopening, drivers getting out of cars orpeople stepping from between cars. Ifoncoming traffic is present, it isusually best to remain in the centerlaneposition to maximize your spacecushion.A bigger problem can occur ifthe driver pulls away from the curbwithout checking for traffic behind.Even if he does look, he may fail tosee you.5 Test YourselfMaking 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 willyield.D. Guarantees that the other driver willyield to you.Answer - page 45In either event, the driver mightcut into your path. Slow down orchange lanes to make room forsomeone cutting in.Cars making a sudden U-turn arethe most dangerous. They may cutyou off entirely, blocking the wholeroadway and leaving you with noplace to go. Since you can’t tell whata driver will do, slow down and getthe driver’s attention. Sound yourhorn and continue with caution.PARKING AT THE ROADSIDEIf parking in a parallel parkingspace next to a curb, position themotorcycle at an angle with the rearwheel to the curb. (Note: Some citieshave ordinances that requiremotorcycles to park parallel to the curb.)PARKING AT CURBS25


CLOTHINGLIGHTSINCREASINGCONSPICUITYIn crashes with motorcyclists,drivers often say that they never sawthe motorcycle. From ahead orbehind, a motorcycle’s outline ismuch smaller than a car’s. Also, it’shard to see something you are notlooking for, and most drivers are notlooking for motorcycles. More likely,they are looking through the skinny,two-wheeled silhouette in search ofcars that may pose a problem tothem.Even if a driver does see youcoming, you aren’t necessarily safe.Smaller vehicles appear farther awayand seem to be traveling slower thanthey actually are. It is common fordrivers to pull out in front ofmotorcyclists, thinking they haveplenty of time. Too often, theyare wrong.However, you can do manythings to make it easier for others torecognize you and your motorcycle.Reflective material on a vest andon the sides of the helmet will helpdrivers coming from the side to spotyou. Reflective material can also be abig help for drivers coming towardyou or from behind.HEADLIGHTThe best way to help others seeyour motorcycle is to keep theheadlight on — at all times (newmotorcycles sold in the USA since1978 automatically have theheadlights on when running).Studies show that, during the day, amotorcycle with its light on is twiceas likely to be noticed. Use low beamat night and in fog.SIGNALSThe signals on a motorcycle aresimilar to those on a car. They tellothers what you plan to do.SIGNALINGSIGNALSCLOTHINGMost crashes occur in broaddaylight. Wear bright-coloredclothing to increase your chances ofbeing seen. Remember, your body ishalf of the visible surface area of therider/motorcycle unit.Bright orange, red, yellow orgreen jackets or vests are your bestbets for being seen. Your helmet cando more than protect you in a crash.Brightly colored helmets can alsohelp others see you.Any bright color is better thandrab or dark colors. Reflective,bright-colored clothing (helmet andjacket or vest) is best.26


However, due to a rider’s addedvulnerability, signals are even moreimportant. Use them anytime youplan to change lanes or turn. Usethem even when you think no oneelse is around. It’s the car you don’tsee that’s going to give you themost trouble. Your signal lights alsomake you easier to spot. That’s whyit’s a good idea to use your turnsignals even when what you plan todo is obvious.When you enter a freeway,drivers approaching from behindare more likely to see your signalblinking and make room for you.Turning your signal light onbefore each turn reduces confusionand frustration for the traffic aroundyou. Once you turn, make sure yoursignal is off or a driver may pulldirectly into your path, thinking youplan to turn again. Use your signalsat every turn so drivers can reactaccordingly. Don’t make themguess what you intend to do.BRAKE LIGHTYour motorcycle’s brake light isusually not as noticeable as the brakelights on a car — particularly whenyour taillight is on. (It goes on withthe headlight.) If the situation willpermit, help others notice you byflashing your brake light before youslow down. It is especially importantto flash your brake light before:• You slow more quickly thanothers might expect (turning off ahigh-speed highway).• You slow where others may notexpect it (in the middle of ablock or at an alley).If you are being followedclosely, it’s a good idea to flash yourbrake light before you slow. Thetailgater may be watching you andnot see something ahead that willmake you slow down. This willhopefully discourage them fromtailgating and warn them of hazardsahead they may not see.USING YOUR MIRRORSWhile it’s most important tokeep track of what’s happeningahead, you can’t afford to ignoresituations behind. Traffic conditionschange quickly. Knowing what’sgoing on behind is essential for youto make a safe decision about how tohandle trouble ahead.Frequent mirror checks shouldbe part of your normal searchingroutine. Make a special point of usingyour mirrors:• When you are stopped at anintersection. Watch cars coming upfrom behind. If the drivers aren’tpaying attention, they could be ontop of you before they see you.• Before you change lanes. Makesure no one is about to pass you.• Before you slow down. The driverbehind may not expect you toslow, or may be unsure aboutwhere you will slow. For example,you signal a turn and the driverthinks you plan to turn at a distantintersection, rather than at a nearerdriveway.USING YOUR MIRRORS27


HEAD CHECKSHORNUSING MIRRORSSome motorcycles have rounded(convex) mirrors. These provide awider view of the road behind thando flat mirrors. They also make carsseem farther away than they reallyare. If you are not used to convexmirrors, get familiar with them.(While you are stopped, pick out aparked car in your mirror. Form amental image of how far away it is.Then, turn around and look at it tosee how close you came.) Practicewith your mirrors until you become agood judge of distance. Even then,allow extra distance before youchange lanes.HEAD CHECKSChecking your mirrors is notenough. Motorcycles have “blindspots” like cars. Before you changelanes, turn your head, and look to theside for other vehicles.On a road with several lanes,check the far lane and the one nextto you. A driver in the distant lanemay head for the same space youplan to take.Frequent head checks shouldbe your normal scanning routine,also. Only by knowing what ishappening all around you are youfully prepared to deal with it.HORNBe ready to use your horn toget someone’s attention quickly.It is a good idea to give a quickbeep before passing anyone thatmay move into your lane.Here are some situations:• A driver in the lane next to you isdriving too closely to the vehicleahead and may want to pass.• A parked car has someone in thedriver’s seat.• Someone is in the street, riding abicycle or walking.In an emergency, press the hornbutton loud and long. Be ready tostop or swerve away from the danger.Keep in mind that a motorcycle’shorn isn’t as loud as a car’s —therefore, use it, but don’t rely on it.Other strategies, like having timeand space to maneuver, may beappropriate along with the horn.28


RIDING AT NIGHTAt night it is harder for you tosee and be seen. Picking yourheadlight or taillight out of the carlights around you is not easy for otherdrivers. To compensate, you should:• Reduce Your Speed — Ride evenslower than you would during theday — particularly on roads youdon’t know well. This will increaseyour chances of avoiding a hazard.• Increase Distance — Distancesare harder to judge at night thanduring the day. Your eyes relyupon shadows and light contraststo determine how far away anobject is and how fast it is coming.These contrasts are missing or distortedunder artificial lights atnight. Open up a three-second followingdistance or more. Andallow more distance to pass andbe passed.• Use the Car Ahead — Theheadlights of the car ahead cangive you a better view of the roadthan even your high beam can.Taillights bouncing up and downcan alert you to bumps or roughpavement.• Use Your High Beam — Get allthe light you can. Use your highbeam whenever you are notfollowing or meeting a car. Bevisible: Wear reflective materialswhen riding at night.• Be Flexible About Lane Position.Change to whatever portion of thelane is best able to help you see, beseen and keep an adequate spacecushion.6 Test YourselfReflective clothing should:A. Be worn at night.B. Be worn during the day.C. Not be worn.D. Be worn day and nightAnswer - page 45CRASH AVOIDANCENo matter how careful you are,there will be times when you findyourself in a tight spot. Your chancesof getting out safely depend on yourability to react quickly and properly.Often, a crash occurs because a rideris not prepared or skilled in crashavoidancemaneuvers.Know when and how to stop orswerve, two skills critical in avoidinga crash. It is not always desirable orpossible to stop quickly to avoid anobstacle. Riders must also be able toswerve around an obstacle. Determiningwhich skill is necessary forthe situation is important as well.Studies show that most crashinvolvedriders:• Underbrake the front tire andoverbrake the rear.• Did not separate braking fromswerving or did not chooseswerving when it was appropriate.The following information offerssome good advice.QUICK STOPSTo stop quickly, apply bothbrakes at the same time. Don’t be shyabout using the front brake, but don’t“grab” it, either. Squeeze the brakelever firmly and progressively. If thefront wheel locks, release the frontbrake immediately then reapply itfirmly. At the same time, press downon the rear brake. If you accidentallylock the rear brake on a good tractionsurface, you can keep it locked untilyou have completely stopped; but,even with a locked rear wheel, youcan control the motorcycle on astraightaway if it is upright and goingin a straight line.NIGHT RIDING CRASH AVOIDANCE QUICK STOPS29


SWERVINGSTOPPING DISTANCEAlways use both brakes at thesame time to stop. The front brakecan provide 70% or more of thepotential stopping power.If you must stop quickly whileturning or riding a curve, the besttechnique is to straighten the bikeupright first and then brake.However, it may not always bepossible to straighten the motorcycleand then stop. If you must brakewhile leaning, apply light brakes andreduce the throttle. As you slow, youcan reduce your lean angle and applymore brake pressure until themotorcycle is straight and maximumbrake pressure is possible. Youshould “straighten” the handlebarsin the last few feet of stopping. Themotorcycle should then be straight upand in balance.SWERVING OR TURNINGQUICKLYSometimes you may not haveenough room to stop, even if you useboth brakes properly. An objectmight appear suddenly in your path.Or the car ahead might squeal to astop. The only way to avoid a crashmay be to turn quickly, or swervearound it.A swerve is any sudden changein direction. It can be two quickturns, or a rapid shift to the side.Apply a small amount of pressure tothe handgrip located on the side ofyour intended direction of escape.This will cause the motorcycle tolean quickly. The sharper the turn(s),the more the motorcycle must lean.Keep your body upright andallow the motorcycle to lean in thedirection of the turn while keepingyour knees against the tank and yourSWERVE, THEN BRAKEBRAKE, THEN SWERVE30


feet solidly on the footrests. Let themotorcycle move underneath you.Make your escape route the target ofyour vision. Press on the oppositehandgrip once you clear theobstacle to return you to your originaldirection of travel. To swerve to theleft, press the left handgrip, thenpress the right to recover. To swerveto the right, press right, then left.IF BRAKING IS REQUIRED,SEPARATE IT FROM SWERVING.Brake before or after — never whileswerving.CORNERINGA primary cause of singlevehiclecrashes is motorcyclistsrunning wide in a curve or turn andcolliding with the roadway or a fixedobject.Every curve is different. Be alertto whether a curve remains constant,gradually widens, gets tighter orinvolves multiple turns.Ride within your skill level andposted speed limits.Your best path may not alwaysfollow the curve of the road.CORNERINGCONSTANT CURVESMULTIPLE CURVESDECREASING CURVES (TIGHTER TURNS)WIDENING CURVES31


DANGEROUS SURFACESChange lane position depending ontraffic, road conditions and curve ofthe road. If no traffic is present, startat the outside of a curve to increaseyour line of sight and the effectiveradius of the turn. As you turn, movetoward the inside of the curve, and asyou pass the center, move to theoutside to exit.Another alternative is to move tothe center of your lane beforeentering a curve — and stay thereuntil you exit. This permits you tospot approaching traffic as soon aspossible. You can also adjust fortraffic “crowding” the center line, ordebris blocking part of your lane.7 Test YourselfThe best way to stop quickly is to:A. Use the front brake only.B. Use the rear brake first.C. Throttle down and use the frontbrake.D. Use both brakes at the same time.Answer - page 45HANDLING DANGEROUSSURFACESYour chance of falling or beinginvolved in a crash increaseswhenever you ride across:• Uneven surfaces or obstacles.• Slippery surfaces.• Railroad tracks.• Grooves and gratings.UNEVEN SURFACES ANDOBSTACLESWatch for uneven surfaces suchas bumps, broken pavement, potholesor small pieces of highway trash.Try to avoid obstacles byslowing or going around them. If youmust go over the obstacle, firstdetermine if it is possible. Approachit at as close to a 90˚ angle aspossible. Look where you want to goto control your path of travel. If youhave to ride over the obstacle, youshould:• Slow down as much as possiblebefore contact.• Make sure the motorcycle isstraight.OBSTACLES32


• Rise slightly off the seat with yourweight on the footrests to absorbthe shock with your knees andelbows, and avoid being thrown offthe motorcycle.• Just before contact, roll on thethrottle slightly to lighten the frontend.If you ride over an object on thestreet, pull off the road and checkyour tires and rims for damage beforeriding any farther.SLIPPERY SURFACESMotorcycles handle better whenridden on surfaces that permit goodtraction. Surfaces that provide poortraction include:• Wet pavement, particularly justafter it starts to rain and beforesurface oil washes to the side ofthe road.• Gravel roads, or where sand andgravel collect.• Mud, snow, and ice.• Lane markings (painted lines),steel plates and manhole covers,especially when wet.To ride safely on slipperysurfaces:• Reduce Speed — Slow downbefore you get to a slipperysurface to lessen your chances ofskidding. Your motorcycle needsmore distance to stop. And it isparticularly important to reducespeed before entering wet curves.• Avoid Sudden Moves — Anysudden change in speed ordirection can cause a skid. Be assmooth as possible when youspeed up, shift gears, turn or brake.• Use Both Brakes — The frontbrake is still effective, even on aslippery surface. Squeeze thebrake lever gradually to avoidlocking the front wheel.Remember, gentle pressure on therear brake.• The center of a lane can behazardous when wet. When itstarts to rain, ride in the tire tracksleft by cars. Often, the left tiretrack will be the best position,depending on traffic and otherroad conditions as well.• Watch for oil spots when you putyour foot down to stop or park.You may slip and fall.• Dirt and gravel collect along thesides of the road — especially oncurves and ramps leading to andfrom highways. Be aware of what’son the edge of the road,particularly when making sharpturns and getting on or offfreeways at high speeds.• Rain dries and snow melts fasteron some sections of a road thanon others. Patches of ice tend todevelop in low or shaded areasand on bridges and overpasses.Wet surfaces or wet leaves are justas slippery. Ride on the leastslippery portion of the lane andreduce speed.Cautious riders steer clear ofroads covered with ice or snow. If youcan’t avoid a slippery surface, keepyour motorcycle straight up andproceed as slowly as possible. If youencounter a large surface so slipperythat you must coast, or travel at awalking pace, consider letting yourfeet skim along the surface. If themotorcycle starts to fall, you cancatch yourself. Be sure to keep off thebrakes. If possible, squeeze the clutchand coast. Attempting this maneuverat anything other than the slowest ofspeeds could prove hazardous.33


TRACKING GRATINGSCROSSTRACKS-RIGHTCROSSTRACKS-WRONGRAILROAD TRACKS, TROLLEYTRACKS AND PAVEMENT SEAMSUsually it is safer to ride straightwithin your lane to cross tracks.Turning to take tracks head-on (at a90˚ angle) can be more dangerous —your path may carry you into anotherlane of traffic.For track and road seams that runparallel to your course, move farPARALLEL TRACKS-RIGHTenough away from tracks, ruts, orpavement seams to cross at an angleof at least 45˚. Then, make adeliberate turn. Edging across couldcatch your tires and throw you offbalance.GROOVES AND GRATINGSRiding over rain grooves orbridge gratings may cause amotorcycle to weave. The uneasy,wandering feeling is generally nothazardous. Relax, maintain a steadyspeed and ride straight across.Crossing at an angle forces riders tozigzag to stay in the lane. The zigzagis far more hazardous than thewandering feeling.GRATE CROSSINGS-RIGHTGRATE CROSSINGS-WRONGPARALLEL TRACKS-WRONG348 Test YourselfWhen it starts to rain it is usuallybest to:A. Ride in the center of the lane.B. Pull off to the side until the rainstops.C. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.D. Increase your speed.Answer - page 45


MECHANICALPROBLEMSYou can find yourself in anemergency the moment somethinggoes wrong with your motorcycle. Indealing with any mechanicalproblem, take into account the roadand traffic conditions you face. Hereare some guidelines that can help youhandle mechanical problems safely.TIRE FAILUREYou will seldom hear a tire goflat. If the motorcycle starts handlingdifferently, it may be a tire failure.This can be dangerous. You must beable to tell from the way themotorcycle reacts. If one of your tiressuddenly loses air, react quickly tokeep your balance. Pull off and checkthe tires.If the front tire goes flat, thesteering will feel “heavy.” Afront-wheel flat is particularlyhazardous because it affects yoursteering. You have to steer well tokeep your balance.If the rear tire goes flat, the backof the motorcycle may jerk or swayfrom side to side.If either tire goes flatwhile riding:• Hold handlegrips firmly, ease offthe throttle, and keep a straightcourse.• If braking is required, however,gradually apply the brake of thetire that isn’t flat, if you are surewhich one it is.• When the motorcycle slows, edgeto the side of the road, squeeze theclutch and stop.STUCK THROTTLETwist the throttle back and forthseveral times. If the throttle cable isstuck, this may free it. If the throttlestays stuck, immediately operate theengine cut-off switch and pull in theclutch at the same time. This willremove power from the rear wheel,though engine sound may notimmediately decline. Once themotorcycle is “under control,” pulloff and stop.After you have stopped, checkthe throttle cable carefully to find thesource of the trouble. Make certainthe throttle works freely before youstart to ride again.WOBBLEA “wobble” occurs when thefront wheel and handlebars suddenlystart to shake from side to side at anyspeed. Most wobbles can be traced toimproper loading, unsuitableaccessories or incorrect tire pressure.If you are carrying a heavy load,lighten it. If you can’t, shift it. Centerthe weight lower and farther forwardon the motorcycle. Make sure tirepressure, spring pre-load, air shocksand dampers are at the settingsrecommended for that much weight.Make sure windshields and fairingsare mounted properly.Check for poorly adjustedsteering; worn steering parts; a frontwheel that is bent, misaligned, or outof balance; loose wheel bearings orspokes; and worn swingarm bearings.If none of these is determined to bethe cause, have the motorcyclechecked out thoroughly by a qualifiedprofessional.MECHANICAL PROBLEMS35


Trying to “accelerate out of awobble” will only make themotorcycle more unstable. Instead:• Grip the handlebars firmly, butdon’t fight the wobble.• Close the throttle gradually toslow down. Do not apply thebrakes; braking could make thewobble worse.• Move your weight as far forwardand down as possible.• Pull off the road as soon as youcan to fix the problem.9 Test YourselfIf your motorcycle starts to wobble:A. Accelerate out of the wobble.B. Use the brakes gradually.C. Grip the handlebars firmly andclose the throttle gradually.D. Downshift.Answer - page 45DRIVE TRAIN PROBLEMSThe drive train for a motorcycleuses either a chain, belt, or driveshaft to transfer power from theengine to the rear wheel. Routineinspection, adjustment, andmaintenance makes failure a rareoccurrence. A chain or belt that slipsor breaks while you’re riding couldlock the rear wheel and cause yourmotorcycle to skid.If the chain or belt breaks, you’llnotice an instant loss of power to therear wheel. Close the throttle andbrake to a stop in a safe area.On models with a drive shaft,loss of oil in the rear differential cancause the rear wheel to lock, and youmay not be able to prevent a skid.ENGINE SEIZUREWhen the engine “locks” or“freezes” it is usually low on oil. Theengine’s moving parts can’t movesmoothly against each other, and theengine overheats. The first sign maybe a loss of engine power or a changein the engine’s sound. Squeeze theclutch lever to disengage the enginefrom the rear wheel. Pull off the roadand stop. Check the oil. If needed, oilshould be added as soon as possibleor the engine will seize. When thishappens, the effect is the same as alocked rear wheel. Let the enginecool before restarting.ANIMALSNaturally, you should doeverything you safely can to avoidhitting an animal. If you are in traffic,however, remain in your lane. Hittingsomething small is less dangerous toyou than hitting something big —like a car.Motorcycles seem to attractdogs. If you are chased, downshiftand approach the animal slowly. Asyou approach it, accelerate away andleave the animal behind. Don’t kickat an animal. Keep control of yourmotorcycle and look to where youwant to go.For larger animals (deer, elk,cattle) brake and prepare to stop —they are unpredictable.10 Test YourselfIf you are chased by a dog:A. Kick it away.B. Stop until the animal loses interest.C. Swerve around the animal.D. Approach the animal slowly, thenspeed up.Answer - page 4536


FLYING OBJECTSFrom time to time riders arestruck by insects, cigarettes thrownfrom cars or pebbles kicked up by thetires of the vehicle ahead. If you arewearing face protection, it might getsmeared or cracked, making itdifficult to see. Without faceprotection, an object could hit you inthe eye, face or mouth. Whateverhappens, keep your eyes on the roadand your hands on the handlebars.When safe, pull off the road andrepair the damage.GETTING OFF THE ROADIf you need to leave the road tocheck the motorcycle (or just to restfor a while), be sure you:• Check the roadside — Make surethe surface of the roadside is firmenough to ride on. If it is softgrass, loose sand or if you’re justnot sure about it, slow way downbefore you turn onto it.• Signal — Drivers behind mightnot expect you to slow down. Givea clear signal that you will beslowing down and changingdirection. Check your mirror andmake a head check before you takeany action.• Pull off the road — Get as far offthe road as you can. It can be veryhard to spot a motorcycle by theside of the road. You don’t wantsomeone else pulling off at thesame place you are.• Park carefully — Loose andsloped shoulders can make settingthe side or center stand difficult.CARRYING PASSENGERSAND CARGOOnly experienced riders shouldcarry passengers or large loads. Theextra weight changes the way themotorcycle handles, balances, speedsup and slows down. Before taking apassenger or a heavy load on thestreet, practice away from traffic.EQUIPMENTTo carry passengers safely:• Equip and adjust yourmotorcycle to carry passengers.• Instruct the passenger before youstart.• Adjust your riding technique forthe added weight.Equipment should include:• A proper seat — large enoughto hold both of you withoutcrowding. You should not sitany farther forward than youusually do.• Footrests — for the passenger.Firm footing prevents yourpassenger from falling off andpulling you off, too.• Protective equipment — thesame protective gearrecommended for operators.Adjust the suspension to handlethe additional weight. You willprobably need to add a few pounds ofpressure to the tires if you carry apassenger. (Check your owner’smanual for appropriate settings.)While your passenger sits on the seatwith you, adjust the mirrors andheadlight according to the change inthe motorcycle’s angle.FLYING OBJECTS GETTING OFF THE ROAD CARRYING LOADS37


CARRYING PASSENGERSINSTRUCTING PASSENGERSEven if your passenger is amotorcycle rider, provide completeinstructions before you start. Tellyour passenger to:• Get on the motorcycle only afteryou have started the engine.• Sit as far forward as possiblewithout crowding you.• Hold firmly to your waist, hips,belt, or to the bike’s passengerhandholds.• Keep both feet on the footrests,even when stopped.• Keep legs away from themuffler(s), chains or moving parts.• Stay directly behind you, leaningas you lean.• Avoid unnecessary talk ormotion.Also, tell your passenger totighten his or her hold when you:• Approach surface problems.• Are about to start from a stop.• Warn that you will make asudden move.RIDING WITH PASSENGERSYour motorcycle will respondmore slowly with a passenger onboard. The heavier your passenger,the longer it may take to slow downand speed up — especially on a lightmotorcycle.11 Test YourselfPassengers should:A. Lean as you lean.B. Hold on to the motorcycle seat.C. Sit as far back as possible.D. Never hold onto you.Answer - page 45• Ride a little slower, especiallywhen taking curves, corners orbumps.• Start slowing earlier as youapproach a stop.• Open up a larger cushion ofspace ahead and to the sides.• Wait for larger gaps to cross,enter or merge in traffic.Warn your passenger of specialconditions — when you will pull out,stop quickly, turn sharply or ride overa bump. Turn your head slightly tomake yourself understood, but keepyour eyes on the road ahead.CARRYING LOADSMost motorcycles are notdesigned to carry much cargo. Smallloads can be carried safely ifpositioned and fastened properly.• Keep the Load Low — Fastenloads securely, or put them insaddlebags. Piling loads against asissybar or frame on the back ofthe seat raises the motorcycle’scenter of gravity and disturbs itsbalance.• Keep the Load Forward — Placethe load over, or in front of, therear axle. Tankbags keep loadsforward, but use caution whenloading hard or sharp objects.Make sure the tankbag does notinterfere with handlebars orcontrols. Mounting loads behindthe rear axle can affect how themotorcycle turns and brakes. It canalso cause a wobble.• Distribute the Load Evenly —Load saddlebags with about thesame weight. An uneven load cancause the motorcycle to drift toone side.38


• Secure the Load — Fasten theload securely with elastic cords(bungee cords or nets). Elasticcords with more than oneattachment point per side are moresecure. A tight load won’t catch inthe wheel or chain, causing it tolock up and skid. Rope tends tostretch and knots come loose,permitting the load to shift or fall.• Check the Load — Stop andcheck the load every so often tomake sure it has not worked looseor moved.GROUP RIDINGIf you ride with others, do it in away that promotes safety and doesn’tinterfere with the flow of traffic.KEEP THE GROUP SMALLSmall groups make it easier andsafer for car drivers who need to getaround them. A small number isn’tseparated as easily by traffic or redlights. Riders won’t always behurrying to catch up. If your group islarger than four or five riders, divideit up into two or more smaller groups.KEEP THE GROUP TOGETHER• Plan — The leader should lookahead for changes and signal earlyso “the word gets back” in plentyof time. Start lane changes early topermit everyone to complete thechange.• Put Beginners Up Front — Placeinexperienced riders just behindthe leader. That way the moreexperienced riders can watch themfrom the back.• Follow Those Behind — Let thetailender set the pace. Use yourmirrors to keep an eye on theperson behind. If a rider fallsbehind, everyone should slowdown a little to stay with thetailender.• Know the Route — Make sureeveryone knows the route. Then,if someone is separated they won’thave to hurry to keep from gettinglost or taking a wrong turn. Planfrequent stops on long rides.KEEP YOUR DISTANCEMaintain close ranks but at thesame time keep a safe distance toallow each rider in the group timeand space to react to hazards. A closegroup takes up less space on thehighway, is easier to see and is lesslikely to be separated. However, itmust be done properly.• Don’t Pair Up — Never operatedirectly alongside another rider.There is no place to go if you haveto avoid a car or something on theroad. To talk, wait until you are bothstopped.• Staggered Formation — This isthe best way to keep ranks closeyet maintain an adequate spaceSTAGGERED FORMATIONGROUP RIDING39


cushion. The leader rides in the leftside of the lane, while the secondrider stays one second behind inthe right side of the lane.A third rider maintains in the leftposition, two seconds behind the firstrider. The fourth rider would keep atwo-second distance behind thesecond rider. This formation keepsthe group close and permits eachrider a safe distance from othersahead, behind and to the sides.• Passing in Formation — Ridersin a staggered formation shouldpass one at a time.• First, the lead rider should pullout and pass when it is safe. Afterpassing, the leader should return tothe left position and continueriding at passing speed to openroom for the next rider.• After the first rider passessafely, the second rider shouldmove up to the left position andwatch for a safe chance to pass.After passing, this rider shouldreturn to the right position andopen up room for the next rider.Some people suggest that theleader should move to the rightside after passing a vehicle. Thisis not a good idea. It encouragesthe second rider to pass and cutback in before there is a largeenough space cushion in front ofthe passed vehicle. It’s simplerand safer to wait until thereis enough room ahead of thepassed vehicle to allow each riderto move into the same positionheld before the pass.• Single-File Formation — It is bestto move into a single-file formationwhen riding curves, turning,entering or leaving a highway.12 Test YourselfWhen riding in a group,inexperienced riders shouldposition themselves:A. Just behind the leader.B. In front of the group.C. At the tail end of the group.D. Beside the leader.Answer - page 45GROUP PASSING (STAGE 1) GROUP PASSING (STAGE 2)40


BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDERiding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. Skilled riders payattention to the riding environment and to operating the motorcycle, identifyingpotential hazards, making good judgments and executing decisions quickly andskillfully. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road and trafficconditions is influenced by how fit and alert you are. Alcohol and other drugs,more than any other factor, degrade your ability to think clearly and to ridesafely. As little as one drink can have a significant effect on your performance.Let’s look at the risks involved in riding after drinking or using drugs.What to do to protect yourself and your fellow riders is also examined.WHY THIS INFORMATIONIS IMPORTANTAlcohol is a major contributor tomotorcycle crashes, particularly fatalcrashes. Studies show that 40% to45% of all riders killed in motorcyclecrashes had been drinking. Only onethirdof those riders had a bloodalcohol concentration above legallimits. The rest had only a few drinksin their systems — enough to impairriding skills. In the past, drug levelshave been harder to distinguish orhave not been separated fromdrinking violations for the trafficrecords. But riding “under theinfluence” of either alcohol or drugsposes physical and legal hazards forevery rider.Drinking and drug use is as big aproblem among motorcyclists as it isamong automobile drivers.Motorcyclists, however, are morelikely to be killed or severely injuredin a crash. Injuries occur in 90% ofmotorcycle crashes and 33% ofautomobile crashes that involve abuseof substances. On a yearly basis,2,100 motorcyclists are killed andabout 50,000 seriously injured in thissame type of crash. These statisticsare too overwhelming to ignore.By becoming knowledgeableabout the effects of alcohol and otherdrugs you will see that riding andsubstance abuse don’t mix. Takepositive steps to protect yourself andprevent others from injuringthemselves.ALCOHOL AND OTHERDRUGS IN MOTORCYCLEOPERATIONNo one is immune to the effectsof alcohol or drugs. Friends may bragabout their ability to hold their liquoror perform better on drugs, butalcohol or drugs make them less ableto think clearly and perform physicaltasks skillfully. Judgment and thedecision-making processes neededfor vehicle operation are affected longbefore legal limitations are reached.Many over-the-counter,prescription and illegal drugs haveside effects that increase the risk ofriding. It is difficult to accuratelymeasure the involvement ofparticular drugs in motorcyclecrashes. But we do know what effectsvarious drugs have on the processinvolved in riding a motorcycle. Wealso know that the combined effectsof alcohol and other drugs are moredangerous than either is alone.ALCOHOL IN THE BODYAlcohol enters the bloodstreamquickly. Unlike most foods andBEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE ALCOHOL AND DRUGS41


BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATIONbeverages, it does not need to bedigested. Within minutes after beingconsumed, it reaches the brain andbegins to affect the drinker. Themajor effect alcohol has is to slowdown and impair bodily functions —both mental and physical. Whateveryou do, you do less well afterconsuming alcohol.BLOOD ALCOHOLCONCENTRATIONBlood Alcohol Concentration orBAC is the amount of alcohol inrelation to blood in the body.Generally, alcohol can be eliminatedin the body at the rate of almost onedrink per hour. But a variety of otherfactors may also influence the level ofalcohol retained. The more alcohol inyour blood, the greater the degree ofimpairment.Three factors play a major partin determining BAC:• The amount of alcohol youconsume.• How fast you drink.• Your body weight.Other factors also contribute tothe way alcohol affects your system.Your sex, physical condition and foodintake are just a few that may causeyour BAC level to be even higher.But the full effects of these are notcompletely known. Alcohol may stillaccumulate in your body even ifyou are drinking at a rate of onedrink per hour. Abilities andjudgment can be affected by thatone drink.A 12-ounce can of beer, a mixeddrink with one shot of liquor, and a5- ounce glass of wine all containthe same amount of alcohol.The faster you drink, the morealcohol accumulates in your body. Ifyou drink two drinks in an hour, atthe end of that hour, at least one drinkwill remain in your bloodstream.Without taking into account anyother factors, these examplesillustrate why time is a critical factorwhen a rider decides to drink.A person drinking:– Seven drinks over the span of threehours would have at least four (7 – 3= 4) drinks remaining in their systemat the end of the three hours. Theywould need at least another fourhours to eliminate the four remainingdrinks before they consider riding.ALCOHOL CONTENT42


– Four drinks over the span of twohours would have at least two (4 – 2= 2) drinks remaining in their systemat the end of the two hours. Theywould need at least another two hoursto eliminate the two remaining drinksbefore they consider riding.There are times when a largerperson may not accumulate as high aconcentration of alcohol for each drinkconsumed. They have more bloodand other bodily fluids. But becauseof individual differences it is betternot to take the chance that abilitiesand judgment have not been affected.Whether or not you are legallyintoxicated is not the real issue.Impairment of judgment and skillsbegins well below the legal limit.ALCOHOL AND THE LAWNationwide, a person with aBAC of 0.08 or above is consideredintoxicated. It doesn’t matter howsober you may look or act. Thebreath or urine test is what usuallydetermines whether you are ridinglegally or illegally.Your chances of being stoppedfor riding under the influence ofalcohol are increasing. Lawenforcement is being stepped upacross the country in response to thesenseless deaths and injuries causedby drinking drivers and riders.CONSEQUENCES OFCONVICTIONYears ago, first offenders had agood chance of getting off with asmall fine and participation inalcohol-abuse classes. Today the lawsof most states impose stiff penaltieson drinking operators. And thosepenalties are mandatory, meaningthat judges must impose them.If you are convicted of ridingunder the influence of alcohol ordrugs, you may receive any of thefollowing penalties:• License Suspension —Mandatory suspension forconviction, arrest or refusal tosubmit to a breath test.• Fines — Severe fines are anotheraspect of a conviction, usuallylevied with a license suspension.• Community Service — Performingtasks such as picking up litteralong the highway, washing cars inthe motor-vehicle pool or workingat an emergency ward.• Costs — Additional lawyer’s feesto pay, lost work time spent incourt or alcohol-educationprograms, public transportationcosts (while your license issuspended) and the addedpsychological costs of beingtagged a “drunk driver.”MINIMIZE THE RISKSYour ability to judge how wellyou are riding is affected first.Although you may be performingmore and more poorly, you think youare doing better and better. The resultis that you ride confidently, takinggreater and greater risks. Minimizethe risks of drinking and riding bytaking steps before you drink.Control your drinking or controlyour riding.MAKE AN INTELLIGENTCHOICEDon’t Drink — Once you start,your resistance becomes weaker.Setting a limit or pacing yourselfare poor alternatives at best. Yourability to exercise good judgment isALCOHOL AND THE LAW MINIMIZE RISKS43


FATIGUEone of the first things affected byalcohol. Even if you have tried todrink in moderation, you may notrealize to what extent your skills havesuffered from alcohol’s fatiguingeffects.Or Don’t Ride — If you haven’tcontrolled your drinking, you mustcontrol your riding.• Leave the motorcycle —so you won’t be tempted to ride.Arrange another way to get home.• Wait — If you exceed yourlimit, wait until your systemeliminates the alcohol and itsfatiguing effects.STEP IN TOPROTECT FRIENDSPeople who have had too much todrink are unable to make a responsibledecision. It is up to others to step inand keep them from taking too great arisk. No one wants to do this — it’suncomfortable, embarrassing andthankless. You are rarely thanked foryour efforts at the time. But thealternatives are often worse.There are several ways to keepfriends from hurting themselves:• Arrange a safe ride — Providealternative ways for them toget home.• Slow the pace of drinking —Involve them in other activities.• Keep them there — Use anyexcuse to keep them from gettingon their motorcycle. Serve themfood and coffee to pass the time.Explain your concerns for theirrisks of getting arrested or hurtor hurting someone else. Take theirkey, if you can.• Get friends involved — Use peerpressure from a group of friendsto intervene.44It helps to enlist support fromothers when you decide to step in.The more people on your side, theeasier it is to be firm and the harderit is for the rider to resist. Whileyou may not be thanked at thetime, you will never have to say,“If only I had ...”FATIGUERiding a motorcycle is moretiring than driving a car. On a longtrip, you’ll tire sooner than you wouldin a car. Avoid riding when tired.Fatigue can affect your control of themotorcycle.• Protect yourself from theelements — Wind, cold, and rainmake you tire quickly. Dresswarmly. A windshield is worth itscost if you plan to ride longdistances.• Limit your distance — Experiencedriders seldom try to ridemore than about six hours a day.• Take frequent rest breaks —Stop and get off the motorcycle atleast every two hours.• Don’t drink or use drugs —Artificial stimulants often result inextreme fatigue or depressionwhen they start to wear off. Ridersare unable to concentrate on thetask at hand.13 Test YourselfIf you wait one hour per drink for thealcohol to be eliminated from yourbody before riding:A. You cannot be arrested for drinkingand riding.B. Your riding skills will not beaffected.C. Side effects from the drinking maystill remain.D. You will be okay as long as you rideslowly.Answer - page 45


EARNING YOUR LICENSESafe riding requires knowledge and skill. Licensing tests are the bestmeasurement of the skills necessary to operate safely in traffic. Assessing yourown skills is not enough. People often overestimate their own abilities. It’s evenharder for friends and relatives to be totally honest about your skills. Licensingexams are designed to be scored more objectively.To earn your license, you must pass a knowledge test and an on-cycle skilltest. Knowledge test questions are based on information, practices and ideasfrom this manual. They require that you know and understand road rules andsafe riding practices. An on-cycle skill test will either be conducted in an actualtraffic environment or in a controlled, off-street area.KNOWLEDGE TEST(Sample Questions)1. It is MOST important to flashyour brake light when:A. Someone is following too closely.B. You will be slowing suddenly.C. There is a stop sign ahead.D. Your signals are not working.2. The FRONT brake supplies howmuch of the potential stoppingpower?A. About one-quarter.B. About one-half.C. About three-quarters.D. All of the stopping power.4. If a tire goes flat while riding andyou must stop, it is usually best to:A. Relax on the handgrips.B. Shift your weight toward the goodtire.C. Brake on the good tire and steer tothe side of the road.D. Use both brakes and stop quickly.5. The car below is waiting to enterthe intersection. It is best to:A. Make eye contact with the driver.B. Reduce speed and be ready toreact.C. Maintain speed and position.D. Maintain speed and move right.EARNING YOUR LICENSE KNOWLEDGE TEST3. To swerve correctly:A. Shift your weight quickly.B. Turn the handlebars quickly.C. Press the handgrip in thedirection of the turn.D. Press the handgrip in theopposite direction of the turn._____________________________________Answers to Test Yourself (previous pages)1-D, 2-D, 3-A, 4-B, 5-C,6-D 7-D, 8-C, 9-C, 10-D,11-A, 12-A, 13-C_____________________________________Answers to above Knowledge Test:1-B, 2-C, 3-C, 4-C, 5-B45


ON-MOTORCYCLESKILLS TESTBasic vehicle control andcrash-avoidance skills are included inon-motorcycle tests to determineyour ability to handle normal andhazardous traffic situations.You may be tested for yourability to:• Know your motorcycle and yourriding limits.• Accelerate, brake and turnsafely.• See, be seen and communicatewith others.• Adjust speed and position to thetraffic situation.• Stop, turn and swerve quickly.• Make critical decisions and carrythem out.Examiners may score onfactors related to safety such as:• Selecting safe speeds to performmaneuvers.• Choosing the correct path andstaying within boundaries.• Completing normal and quickstops.• Completing normal and quickturns or swerves.To receive a motorcycle endorsement with full privileges,skills test maneuvers must be performed on a motorcyclewith two wheels.A modified version of the test will be administered if your vehicle hasmore than two wheels, such as an autocycle, a motorcycle with sidecaror other three-wheeled vehicle. If you successfully complete themodified test, you become eligible for a restricted motorcycleendorsement that would allow you to ride only these types of vehicles.Diagrams and drawings used in this manual are for reference onlyand are not to correct scale for size of vehicles and distances.46


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION FORTHREE-WHEEL VEHICLESMichigan requires a separate license endorsement to operate a three-wheelvehicle. Riders must pass both a written and a skills test. The purpose of thissupplement is to help prepare riders to complete the written exam for a threewheelvehicle license or endorsement. This information is provided in additionto that offered in the first part of this Motorcycle Operator Manual, so whenpreparing to take the written test, begin by reading the information on twowheelmotorcycles thoroughly. It provides information on safe operation ofyour vehicle in traffic. This supplement contains information specific to thesafe operation of a three-wheel vehicle, including both three-track vehicles andmotorcycles with sidecars.KNOW YOUR VEHICLEDue to the many three-wheelvehicle designs available on themarket today, standards suitable fortesting may vary. However, vehiclesshould conform to standardsdetermined by Michigan. Ingeneral, three-wheel vehicles willhave the following specifications:1. Three wheels leaving two orthree separate tracks duringstraight line operation.2. Motorcycle-based conversionor design with:• Handlebar steering• Motorcycle-type controlsarranged with the standardlayout. Conveniencealterations such as a singlebrake pedal or lever control,automatic clutch, or automatictransmission are allowed.• Saddle seating– Seating in which therider/passenger straddlesthe vehicle.– If designed for apassenger, the passengermust be seated behind theoperator (or in a separatepassenger compartment inthe case of a motorcyclewith sidecar).3. Turning diameter of thevehicle at its widest point mustbe less than 40 feet.4. The vehicle meets allapplicable federal on-roadvehicle standards.The following vehicles are notincluded in this definition, andtherefore testing requirements may notbe applicable. Refer to the MichiganDepartment of State for exactregulations regarding testing for:• Automotive hybrids orautomotive conversions• Vehicles with automotivecontrols or seating• Vehicles with front or rearmounted engines (enginesmust be mounted mid-framebelow the rider to beconsidered motorcycle-based)• Vehicles with enclosed orsemi-enclosed ridingcompartments• Motorcycles or scooters withtwo close-set wheels in front(contact patches less than 18.1inches apart) that lean andmaneuver like standard, singletrack,two-wheel motorcycles47


or• Vehicles with any otherdeparture from the abovestandards.THREE-WHEEL VEHICLEDESIGNSAs shown below in the figure,vehicle designs vary amongmanufacturers. Unlike traditionalmotorcycles, which are consideredsingle-track vehicles, three-wheelvehicles could be either dual ortriple track design. Dual-trackvehicles are motorcycles withsidecars, while triple track vehiclescan be configured either with dualfront wheels or dual rear wheels.MOTORCYCLE AND THREE-WHEEL VEHICLE DESIGNSTHE RIGHT VEHICLE FOR YOUMake sure your three-wheelvehicle or sidecar-equippedmotorcycle is right for you. Youshould be able to comfortably reachand operate all of the controls, and beable to complete full vehicle turnsusing the handlebars withoutexcessive upper body movements thatcould jeopardize stability and control.BORROWING AND LENDINGBorrowers and lenders, beware.Crashes are fairly commonamong beginning operators,especially in the first months ofriding. Operating an unfamiliarvehicle adds to the problem. If youborrow a three-wheel vehicle ormotorcycle with sidecar, get familiarwith it in a controlled area. If youlend your three-wheel vehicle ormotorcycle with sidecar to friends,make sure they are licensed andknow how to ride before you allowthem to operate in traffic. Suchvehicles operate very differentlythan two-wheel motorcycles.No matter how experienced youmay be, be extra careful on anyvehicle that is unfamiliar or new toyou.GET FAMILIAR WITH VEHICLECONTROLSBe sure you are familiar withthe controls of the three-wheelvehicle or motorcycle with a sidecarbefore attempting to operate it onany highway, since some vehiclecontrols may differ from those foundon other three-wheel vehicles ormotorcycles. This is especiallyimportant if you are riding on aborrowed vehicle. Before beginningthe ride:• Make all the checks youwould on your own vehicle.• Familiarize yourself with allcontrols, such as the turnsignals, horn, headlightswitch, fuel control valve, and48


cut-off switch. Locate andoperate these items withouthaving to search for them.• Operate all the controlsbefore you start riding. Knowthe gearshift pattern andoperate the throttle, clutchand brakes a few times.Controls react differently ondifferent vehicles, and exactlocations of controls mayvary slightly. Additionally,some motorcycle conversionsmay be equipped with asingle brake pedal or levercontrol, automatic clutch, orautomatic transmission.• As you begin to ride, startout slowly and carefully andbe aware of yoursurroundings. Accelerategently, take turns a littlemore slowly, and leave extraroom for stopping.BASIC VEHICLECONTROLSTEERING AND TIPThree-wheel vehicles handledifferently than motorcycles. Withthree wheels on the ground, they arenaturally more stable than amotorcycle. They also steerdifferently. Because conventionalthree-wheel vehicles cannot lean, theycannot countersteer. Instead, the frontwheel is pointed in the direction therider wants the vehicle to go.Under some conditions duringthe operation of a three-wheelvehicle, it is possible to have onlytwo wheels in contact with the roadsurface. This could occur duringturning or tight maneuvers wheneverTIP-OVER LINESenough weight is transferred outsideof what are called tip-over lines.The figure shows the tip-over lineson three-wheel vehicles. Because ofthis tendency, careful load andpassenger positioning inside the tipoverlines will help maintainmaximum stability of the vehicle.BODY POSITIONAs with any motor vehicle,operator position is important forcontrol and for reducing orpreventing fatigue. The operatorshould be able to reach bothhandgrips comfortably, since morehandlebar movement is necessarythan when riding a motorcycle.While it is not necessary for therider of a three-wheel vehicle tomove drastically during operation,shifting weight in the direction ofthe turn can improve control.BRAKINGOn a motorcycle with a sidecar,during braking in a sharp turn, thesidecar wheel may lift off theground. Motorcycle and sidecartires have limited traction or grip onthe road surface and traction isgreater when the vehicle is rolling,not skidding or slipping. Duringturning, some of the available tire49


traction is used for cornering, so lessis available for stopping. Thus, askid can occur if you brake too hard.TURNINGThe tendency of the rear, insidewheel to lift during turning is greaterwith increased vehicle speed andtighter curve radii. During a turn,inertia causes the center of gravityof the vehicle to shift sideways, andoutward toward the tip-over line.The reduced weight over theopposite side wheel can cause it tolift slightly.Because the weight of a threetrackvehicle is distributed almostequally between the two front or tworear wheels, these vehicles handle thesame in left- and right-hand turns.When turning a three-track vehicle:• Approach a turn at speed withyour head up, and look throughthe turn.• Concentrate on pointing thefront wheel/wheels in thedirection you want the vehicle togo.• Roll off the throttle beforeentering the turn.• Apply the brakes enough toslow the vehicle to a speed atwhich you can ride safelythrough the turn, then release thebrakes before the turn.• Slightly lean your upper body inthe direction you intend to turn.• Steer the front wheel/wheelstoward the turn.• Roll on the throttle to pull thevehicle through the turn.Because the center of gravity of amotorcycle with sidecar is close to themotorcycle itself, the behavior of thevehicle when turning right and whenturning left are quite different.During a right turn, a slightsideways movement of the center ofgravity creates a greater tendency forthe sidecar wheel to lift. The lift willbe greater if the sidecar is empty orlightly loaded.When turning right on a motorcyclewith sidecar:• Anticipate the degree of turnrequired.• Reduce speed before enteringthe curve by downshifting orbraking.• Slightly lean your upper body inthe direction you intend to turn.• Maintain speed as you enter thecurve.• Accelerate gradually as you exitthe curve.During a left hand turn, thesidecar acts as a stabilizer, so thesidecar wheel stays on the ground.However, if the turn is taken toosharply or at too high a rate of speed,there is a tendency for the motorcyclerear suspension to extend, and thismay cause the rear wheel of themotorcycle to lift off the ground.When turning left on a motorcyclewith sidecar:• Reduce speed prior to enteringthe turn.• Apply more pressure on the rearbrake than on the front.HILLSWhen riding uphill on a threewheelvehicle or motorcycle with asidecar, some weight will shift to therear, causing the front of the vehicle tobecome lighter. This weight shiftreduces the traction on the fronttire/tires for steering and tire grip.50


When riding downhill, gravityincreases the amount of braking forcerequired to slow or stop the vehicle. Itis important, therefore, to beginslowing earlier for cornering andstopping.LANE POSITIONThe track of the dual wheels of athree-wheel vehicle or motorcycle witha sidecar is almost the same width assome automobiles. Unlike amotorcycle, you are limited, therefore,in lane positioning. Keep toward thecenter of the lane to be sure the trackof the dual wheels does not cross thepainted lines into opposing traffic.Riding too far to the right could causeloss of traction if the tire leaves thepavement.Lane positioning when riding ingroups is also an importantconsideration. You will not be able touse a staggered formation, such as youwould when riding motorcycles. Ridesingle file and always maintain a safemargin, two seconds minimum,between vehicles.PARKING AT THE ROADSIDEBecause of the limitations onmobility and vehicle length, it is notpractical to park your vehicle at a 90-degree angle with your rear wheeltouching the curb, as you would with amotorcycle. Position your vehicle in aparking space so you are parkedparallel to the curb and set the parkingbrake. Some three-wheel vehicleshave reverse, so you can more easilymaneuver into a parking spacedesigned for an automobile. Parkingparallel to the curb will facilitatepulling away from the curb andentering the lanes of traffic.ACCELERATION ANDDECELERATIONA three-wheel vehicle with twodrive wheels tends to be much morestable during acceleration and brakingthan a motorcycle with a sidecar.Attaching a sidecar to your motorcycleadds a non-powered, off-centered massof weight. So, during acceleration, thesidecar will feel as though it is laggingbehind you, causing the vehicle to feelas though it is being steered to theright. During deceleration or braking,the momentum of the sidecarcontinues to carry it forward, givingthe feeling that the sidecar is trying topass you, making the vehicle feel asthough it is being steered left.• On acceleration, compensatefor the tendency to swerve bysteering slightly in the oppositedirection from the sidecar.• On deceleration, compensatefor the tendency to swerve bysteering slightly in the directionof the sidecar. You can also pullin the clutch when braking.SWERVINGA quick stop may not always besufficient to avoid an obstacle in yourpath, even if you properly apply bothbrakes. Sometimes the only way toavoid a collision is to swerve. Aswerve is any sudden change ofdirection. It can be two quick turns ora rapid shift to the side whenmaneuvering the vehicle. Often, thereis not much time to adjust your bodyposition.A three-wheel vehicle ormotorcycle with sidecar is not asmaneuverable as a motorcycle, soplan well ahead to avoid the need51


for any sudden turns or swerving. Ifbraking is required, brake eitherbefore or after the swerve, neverwhile swerving.CORNERING AND CURVESThe cornering characteristics of athree-wheel vehicle or motorcycle witha sidecar differ from those of amotorcycle. Even with three wheels onthe ground, a sidecar can tip over if it isbeing turned too sharply or is going toofast for a corner. Therefore, it is best toalways slow before entering a corner.PATH THROUGH A CURVEThe best path to follow in thecurve may not be the one that followsthe curve of the road. Following thecenter of the lane may actuallyincrease the tip-over forces. Checkopposing traffic carefully, and if safe,enter the curve toward the outside ofyour lane, as shown in the figure. Thisincreases your line of sight through thecurve and reduces the effective radiusof the curve. As you turn, move towardthe inside of the curve, and as you passthe center, move to the outside to exit,always remembering to stay in yourlane.CARRYING PASSENGERSAND CARGOThree-wheel vehicles are designedto carry passengers and cargo, butalways be sure not to exceed the tire orvehicle loading capacity. The extraweight could change the handlingcharacteristics of the vehicle slightly, soyou must give some thought to wherethe loads are positioned.Many three-track vehicles willhave built-in storage compartments forcargo, either in front of or behind therider. On these vehicles, center theload and keep it low in the storageareas so it is positioned within the tipoverlines and balanced side-to-side. Ifa passenger is being carried, thepassenger will sit directly behind therider.On a motorcycle with a sidecar,the best place for a passenger is in thesidecar. Never put a single passengeron the saddle; the added weight on thetip-over line will increase the instabilityof the vehicle. While a secondpassenger can be carried on the seatbehind the rider, the heavier passengershould always be in the sidecar.The passenger sitting behind therider should sit upright at all times. Itis not necessary for the passenger tolean into curves with the rider.When carrying loads in a sidecar,secure the load firmly in place, since ifthe load shifts, handling will beaffected. Loads should be distributedtoward the rear of the sidecar to reducetipping of the nose of the sidecar in theevent of a sudden left turn.When loaded, you may findperformance is reduced and thatstopping distances are longer, so allowa little extra distance. The addition ofa sidecar passenger will greatlyimprove stability, and right hand turnscan be made at a slightly higher speed.Turning left, however, will requiremore turning force.52


ABOUT THIS BOOKOperating a motorcycle safely intraffic requires special skills andknowledge. The Motorcycle SafetyFoundation (MSF) has made this manualavailable to help novice motorcyclistsreduce their risk of having a crash. Themanual conveys essential safe ridinginformation and has been designed foruse in licensing programs. Whiledesigned for the novice, all motorcyclistscan benefit from the information thismanual contains.The original Motorcycle OperatorManual was developed by the NationalPublic Services Research Institute(NPSRI) under contract to the NationalHighway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) and within the terms of acooperative agreement between NHTSAand the MSF. The manual and relatedtests were used in a multi-year study ofimproved motorcycle operator licensingprocedures, conducted by the CaliforniaDepartment of Motor Vehicles undercontract to NHTSA.The purpose of this manual is toeducate the reader to help avoid crasheswhile safely operating a motorcycle. Forthis edition, the MSF has updated andexpanded the content of the originalmanual.These revisions reflect:• The latest finding of motorcyclesafetyresearch.• Comments and guidance providedby the motorcycling, licensing andtraffic safety communities.• Expanded alcohol and druginformation.In promoting improved licensingprograms, the MSF works closely withstate licensing agencies. The Foundationhas helped more than half the states inthe nation adopt the Motorcycle OperatorManual for use in their licensingsystems.Improved licensing, along withhigh-quality motorcycle rider educationand increased public awareness, has thepotential to reduce crashes. Staff at theFoundation are available to assist state,private and governmental agencies inefforts to improve motorcycle safety.Tim BuchePresident,Motorcycle Safety Foundation2 Jenner Street, Suite 150Irvine, CA 92618-3806www.msf-usa.org53


HELMETS54


MOTORCYCLES MAKE SENSE –SO DOES PROFESSIONAL TRAININGMotorcycles 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 forreal-world traffic situations. Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCourses SM teachand improve such skills as:• Effective turning • Braking maneuvers • Protective apparel selection• Obstacle avoidance • Traffic strategies • MaintenanceFor the basic or experienced RiderCourse nearest you,call: (517) 241-6850 or visit: www.Michigan.gov/sosThe MotorcycleSafety Foundation’s(MSF) purpose is toimprove the safety ofmotorcyclists on thenation’s streets and highways. In anattempt to reduce motorcycle crashesand injuries, the Foundation hasprograms in rider education, licensingimprovement, public information andstatistics. These programs are designedfor both motorcyclists and motorists. Anational not-for-profit organization, theMSF is sponsored by BMW, BRP,Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda,Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa,Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.The information contained in thispublication is offered for the benefit ofthose who have an interest in ridingmotorcycles. The informationhas been compiledfrom publications,interviews and observationsof individuals andorganizations familiar with the use ofmotorcycles, accessories, and training.Because there are many differences inproduct design, riding styles, federal,state and local laws, there may be organizationsand individuals who hold differingopinions. Consult your localregulatory agencies for informationconcerning the operation of motorcyclesin your area. Although the MSFwill continue to research, field test andpublish responsible viewpoints on thesubject, it disclaims any liability forthe views expressed herein.Motorcycle Safety Foundation2 Jenner Street, Suite 150, Irvine, CA 92618-3806www.msf-usa.orgSecond Revision....................December 1978 Ninth Revision ............................March 2000Third Revision ........................February 1981 Tenth Revision..........................January 2002Fourth Revision........................January 1983 Eleventh Revision ...........................July 2002Fifth Revision...........................October 1987 Twelfth Revision.............................May 2004Sixth Revision ...............................April 1991 Thirteenth Revision........................June 2007Seventh Revision ..................September 1992 Fourteenth Revision....................March 2008Eighth Revision........................January 1999 Fifteenth Revision..........................June 2009


www.Michigan.gov/sosAn alternative format of this printed material maybe obtained by contacting the Department of Stateat (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424).Total Copies Printed: 35,000; Total Cost: $6,208; Cost Per Copy: $0.177SOS 116 Rev. 4/2010

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