Nebraska Motorcycle Manual | Nebraska Motorcycle Handbook

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  • 8/2/2019 Nebraska Motorcycle Manual | Nebraska Motorcycle Handbook


  • 8/2/2019 Nebraska Motorcycle Manual | Nebraska Motorcycle Handbook


    Dave HeinemanGovernor



    An Equal Opportunity/Afrmative Action Employer

    Dear Fellow Drivers:

    Thank you for taking the time to review the Nebraska Motorcycle Manual. Theinformation in this booklet is designed to help you study for the motorcycle writtenand driving tests. I know that you will find the manual useful. The manual is alsoavailable via the Department of Motor Vehicle's Web site at

    By reviewing the information in this manual you will increase your chances ofpassing the motorcycle test. You may also learn more about driving safely on ourroads. These days Nebraskans are driving more vehicles, more miles. Thisincreased traffic generally equates to higher crash rates. By being informed and byfollowing the laws and rules of the road, you can reduce the likelihood that you willbe involved in a crash.

    I wish you safe travels as you drive the many beautiful roads and highways ofNebraska. I also urge you to review the information in this manual from time totime for the safety of all who share our roads.


    Dave HeinemanGovernor

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    Please review the Nebraska Drivers Manual in conjunction with

    this manual. It contains important information regarding proof ofidentication, address verication and licensing requirements thathave not been duplicated here. This information is also available onthe Department of Motor Vehicles website at: examining.

    The DMV sends renewal notices to individuals 90 days prior tothe expiration of their current license or state identication card. Tospeed up the renewal process, please present this renewal notice toDriver Licensing Staff at the time of renewal. You will also need topresent a completed data form to driver licensing staff which can befound in the centerfold of this manual.

    A Z restriction will be placed on the license when the motorcycleused to take the drive test has 125 cubic centimeters or less or when amotor scooter or 3 wheeled motorcycle is used during the drive test.Other restrictions as determined by Driver Licensing Staff may also be

    placed on the license.The written motorcycle test (if required) must be passed before the

    motorcycle skills test is administered. Please check the DMV website orcontact your local Driver Licensing Ofce to nd out when motorcycleskills tests are administered and if an appointment is needed.

    Motorcycle skills testing will not be administered during inclementweather or if Driver Licensing Staff determine the safety of the rideror examiner is at risk.NOTE: A moped is dened as a bicycle with fully operative pedalsfor propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission and amotor not exceeding 50 ccs that produces no more than two brakehorsepower at a maximum design speed of no more than 30 miles perhour. A Class O (car) license is required to operate a moped on publicroadways.

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    A motorcycle as dened by Nebraska law is a motor vehicle having

    a seat or saddle for the use of the driver and designed to travel on notmore than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding atractor.

    All motorcycles and moped operators and passengersare required to wear a protective helmet that has beenmanufactured to meet the standards of the U.S. Departmentof Transportation. Anyone in violation of the helmet law willbe guilty of a trafc infraction and ned fty dollars. (For moreinformation on approved helmets, contact the Department ofMotor Vehicles.)

    A list of protective helmets that comply with 218 FederalMotor Vehicle Safety Standard can be found by accessingthe following website: mchelmetlist06.pdf

    Any person who operates a motorcycle shall ride only upon apermanent and regular seat, and shall not carry any passengerunless it is designed to carry more than one person.

    Any person shall ride upon a motorcycle only while sittingastride the seat, facing forward.

    No person shall operate a motorcycle while carrying anypackage, bundle, or other article which prevents him or her

    from keeping both hands on the handlebars. No operator shall carry any person in a position that will

    interfere with the operation or control of the motorcycle orthe vision of the operator.

    The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass inthe same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

    No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of trafcor between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

    No person who rides upon a motorcycle shall attach himself orthe motorcycle to any other vehicle on a roadway.

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    Any motorcycle which carries a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for thepassenger.

    No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebarsmore than fteen inches above the mounting point of thehandlebars.


    MOTORCYCLE LICENSE, PERMIT OR ENDORSEMENT It is unlawfulto operate a motorcycle on public roadways without a motorcyclelicense, motorcycle permit or motorcycle endorsement. Applicationand testing requirements are outlined in the Nebraska Drivers Manual.

    LICENSE PLATES It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle without itbeing appropriately registered. A motorcycle must be licensed by thestate. License plates and registrations are obtained from the countytreasurer on proof of ownership, proof of insurance and payment ofa fee.

    LIGHTS Every motorcycle shall be equipped with at least one andnot more than two head lamps and with a lamp on the rear exhibitinga visible red light, from a distance of at least ve hundred feet fromthe rear.

    It is recommended that a motorcycle head lamp or lamps be on at alltimes when operating a motorcycle on public roadways.

    BRAKES There must be a brake on at least one wheel, and it mustbe maintained in good working order at all times.

    HORN This should be securely mounted and audible for a distanceof 200 feet.

    ACCIDENTS Involvement in an accident on a motorcycle in whichthere is injury or death or damage exceeding $1000.00 requires thesubmission of a report to the State within ten days.

    HIGHWAY USE No motorcycles, motor-bikes, and motor scootershaving engines of less than 45 cubic centimeters displacement orwhich have a total wheel and tire diameter of less than 14 inches maybe lawfully registered or operated on a public roadway.

    It is unlawful to operate motorcycles, motor-bikes, and motor scooterswith an engine horsepower rating of 10 or less on the InterstateHighway System.

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    THE RIDER ANDTHE MOTORCYCLE ...........................4

    PREPARING TO RIDEWear the Right Gear ............................5

    Know Your Motorcycle ........................7

    Know Your Responsibilities ...............10

    RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIESBasic Vehicle Control ..........................11

    Keeping Your Distance .......................15

    SEE .......................................................20

    Intersections .......................................21

    Increasing Conspicuity .......................24

    Crash Avoidance .................................27

    Handling Dangerous Surfaces ...........30

    Mechanical Problems .........................33

    Animals ...............................................34

    Flying Objects .....................................35

    Getting Off the Road .........................35

    Carrying Passengersand Cargo .......................................35

    Group Riding .......................................38

    BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDEWhy This Information Is

    Important .......................................42

    Alcohol and Other Drugs inMotorcycle Operation ....................42

    Alcohol in the Body ............................42

    Alcohol and the Law ..........................44

    Minimize the Risks .............................44

    Step in to Protect Friends ..................45

    Fatigue ................................................45

    EARNING YOUR LICENSE..............46

    THREE-WHEEL SUPPLEMENTSupplementary Information

    for Three-Wheel Motorcycles .........48

    Know Your Vehicle ..............................48

    Basic Vehicle Control ...........................50

    Carrying Passengers and Cargo ..........53

    HAND SIGNALS .......................... 54


    NEBRASKA MOTORCYCLESAFETY ..................................................57

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    Motorcycling is aunique experience.Compared to a car,

    you dont sit in amotorcycle, youbecome part of it.Not as a passivedriver, but as anactive rider arcinginto a string ofsmooth corners,playing along with

    the rhythm of theroad; shifting,accelerating,and brakingwith precision.Whether youride to and fromwork or preferthe camaraderie of a group ride on the

    weekend, motorcycling engages all yoursenses and creates an invigorating senseof freedom.

    Along with that freedom comesresponsibility. All states requiresome form of license endorsementdemonstrating you possess a minimumlevel of skill and knowledge. Thisbooklet and other motorcycle

    publications can help prepare you tobe successful. You might also considertaking a formal hands-on trainingcourse, even if your state doesnt requirethat you complete one. Youll learn howto improve your riding skills and mentalstrategies, so you can be a safer, morealert rider.

    The diagram above illustrates thecomplex environment that awaits you,

    and supports the concept that, as theMotorcycle Safety Foundation says,

    Safe riding is as much a skill of theeyes and mind as it is of the hands andfeet.

    Successfully piloting a motorcycle is amuch more involved task than driving acar. Motorcycling requires a ne senseof balance and a heightened sense ofawareness and position amidst otherroadway users. A motorcycle respondsmore quickly to rider inputs than a car,but is also more sensitive to outsideforces, like irregular road surfaces orcrosswinds. A motorcycle is also lessvisible than a car due to its narrowerprole, and offers far less protection byexposing its rider to other trafc andthe elements. All these risks can bemanaged through study, training, andpractice.


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    What you do before you start a trip goes a long way toward determiningwhether or not youll get where you want to go safely. Before taking off on anytrip, 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.


    When you ride, your gear is rightif it protects you. In any crash, you havea far better chance of avoiding seriousinjury if you wear:

    A DOT compliant helmet.

    Face or eye protection.

    Protective clothing.

    Helmet Use

    Crashes can occur particularlyamong untrained, beginning riders.And one out of every ve motorcyclecrashes results in head or neck injuries.Head injuries are just as severe as neckinjuries and far more common. Crashanalyses show that head and neckinjuries account for a majority of seriousand fatal injuries to motorcyclists.Research also shows that, with fewexceptions, head and neck injuries arereduced by properly wearing a qualityhelmet.

    Some riders dont wear helmetsbecause they think helmets will limittheir view to the sides. Others wearhelmets only on long trips or whenriding at high speeds. But, here aresome facts to consider:

    A DOT-compliant helmet letsyou see as far to the sides asnecessary. A study of more than900 motorcycle crashes, where40% of the riders wore helmets,did not nd even one case in which

    a helmet kept a rider from spottingdanger.

    Most crashes happen on shorttrips (less than ve miles long), justa few minutes after starting out.

    Most riders are riding slower than30 mph when a crash occurs. Atthese speeds, helmets can cut boththe number and the severity of headinjuries by half.

    No matter what the speed, helmeted

    riders are three times more likely tosurvive head injuries than those notwearing helmets at the time of thecrash. The single most important thingyou can do to improve your chances ofsurviving a crash is to wear a securely-fastened, quality helmet.

    Helmet Selection

    There are two primary types ofhelmets, providing two different levelsof coverage: three-quarter and full face.

    Whichever style you choose, you canget the most protection by making surethat the helmet:

    Is designed to meet U.S. Department of Transportation(DOT) and state standards. Helmetswith a label from the Snell MemorialFoundation also give you anassurance of quality.

    Fits snugly, all the way around.

    Has no obvious defects such ascracks, loose padding or frayedstraps.

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    Whatever helmet youdecide on, keep it securelyfastened on your head

    when you ride. Otherwise,if you are involved in acrash, its likely to y offyour head before it gets achance to protect you.

    Eye and FaceProtection

    A plastic shatter-resistant

    faceshield can help protectyour whole face in acrash. It also protects youfrom wind, dust, dirt, rain, insects andpebbles thrown up from cars ahead.These problems are distracting andcan be painful. If you have to dealwith them, you cant devote your fullattention to the road.

    Goggles protect your eyes, thoughthey wont protect the rest of your facelike a faceshield does. A windshieldis not a substitute for a faceshield orgoggles. Most windshields will notprotect your eyes from the wind. Neitherwill eyeglasses or sunglasses. Glasseswont keep your eyes from watering,and they might blow off when you turnyour head while riding.

    To be effective, eye or faceshield protection must:

    Be free of scratches.

    Be resistant to penetration.

    Give a clear view to either side.

    Fasten securely, so it does not

    blow off. Permit air to pass through, to

    reduce fogging.

    Permit enough room foreyeglasses or sunglasses, if needed.

    Tinted eye protection should not beworn when little light is available.

    ClothingThe right clothing protects you in

    a collision. It also provides comfort,as well as protection from heat, cold,debris and hot and moving parts of themotorcycle. It can also make you more

    visible to others. Jacket and pants should cover

    arms and legs completely. Theyshould t snugly enough to keepfrom apping in the wind, yetloosely enough to move freely.Leather offers the most protection.Sturdy synthetic material providesa lot of protection as well. Wear

    a jacket even in warm weather toprevent dehydration. Many aredesigned to protect without gettingyou overheated, even on summerdays. Some riders choose jacketsand pants with rigid body armorinserts in critical areas for additionalprotection.

    Boots or shoes should be highand sturdy enough to cover yourankles and 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 they wontcatch on your motorcycle.


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    Gloves allow a better grip and helpprotect your hands in a crash. Yourgloves should be made of leather or

    similar durable material. Hearing protection reduces

    noise while allowing you to hearimportant sounds such as car hornsor sirens. Long term exposure toengine and wind noise can causepermanent hearing damage evenif you wear a full face helmet.Whether you choose disposable

    foam plugs or reusable custommolded devices, be sure you adhereto state laws regarding hearingprotection.

    In cold or wet weather, your clothesshould keep you warm and dry, aswell as protect you from injury. Youcannot control a motorcycle well ifyou are numb. Riding for long periodsin cold weather can cause severe chilland fatigue. A winter jacket shouldresist wind and t snugly at the neck,wrists and waist. Good-quality rainsuitsdesigned for motorcycle riding resisttearing apart or ballooning up at highspeeds.



    There are plenty of things on thehighway that can cause you trouble.Your motorcycle should not be oneof them. To make sure that yourmotorcycle wont let you down:

    Start with the right motorcyclefor you.

    Read the owners manual.

    Be familiar with the motorcyclecontrols.

    Check the motorcycle beforeevery ride.

    Keep it in safe riding conditionbetween rides.

    Avoid add-ons and modicationsthat make your motorcycle harder

    to handle.The Right Motorcycle For You

    First, make sure your motorcycle isright for you. It should t you. Yourfeet should reach the ground whileyou are seated on the motorcycle, andthe controls should be easy to operate.Smaller motorcycles are usually easier

    for beginners to operate. At a minimum, your street-legal

    motorcycle should have:

    Headlight, taillight andbrakelight.


    A plastic shatter-resistant face shield:A. Is not necessary if you have a

    windshield.B. Only protects your eyes.C. Helps protect your whole face.D. Does not protect your face as well

    as goggles.


    Answer - page 47

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    Know the controls. Work thethrottle, clutch, brakes, and shifter afew times before you start riding.

    Ride very cautiously and be awareof surroundings. Accelerate gently,take turns more slowly and leaveextra room for stopping.

    Check Your MotorcycleA motorcycle needs more frequent

    attention than a car. A minor technicalfailure on a car is seldom more than an

    inconvenience for the driver. The samefailure on a motorcycle may result in acrash or having to leave your motorcycleparked on the side of the road. Ifanythings wrong with your motorcycle,youll want to nd out about it beforeyou get in trafc.

    The primary source of informationabout how a motorcycle should beinspected and maintained is its ownersmanual. Be sure to absorb all of itsimportant information. A motorcycle willcontinue to ride like new if it is properlymaintained and routine inspectionsbecome part of its maintenance cycle.

    A pre-ride inspection only takesa few minutes and should be done

    before every ride to prevent problems.Its quick and easy to check the criticalcomponents and should be as routineand automatic as checking the weatherforecast before heading out for the day.A convenient reminder developed byMSF is T-CLOCSSM. There is a T-CLOCStear-out sheet at the back of thismanual for you to keep with you when

    you ride. A T-CLOCS inspection shouldbe conducted before every ride, andincludes checks of:

    T Tires and Wheels

    Check tire ination pressure,treadwear and general condition ofsidewalls and tread surface.

    Try the front and rear brake leversone at a time. Make sure each feelsrm and holds the motorcycle whenfully applied.

    C Controls

    Make sure the clutch and throttleoperate smoothly. The throttleshould snap back to fully closedwhen released. The clutch shouldfeel tight and should operatesmoothly.

    Try the horn. Make sure it works. Clean and adjust your mirrors

    before starting. Its difcult to ridewith one hand while you try toadjust a mirror. Adjust each mirrorso you can see the lane behind andas much as possible of the lane nextto you. When properly adjusted, amirror may show the edge of your

    arm or shoulder but its the roadbehind you and to the side that aremost important.

    L Lights and Electrics

    Check both headlight and taillight.Test your switch to make sure bothhigh and low beams work.

    Turn on both right and left hand

    turn signals. Make sure all lights areworking properly.

    Try both brakes and make sure eachone turns on the brake light.

    O Oil and Other Fluids

    Check engine oil and transmissionuid levels.

    Check the brake hydraulic uid andcoolant level weekly.

    Be sure your fuel valve is openbefore starting out. With the fuelvalve closed, your motorcycle maystart with only the fuel that is still inthe lines, but will stall once the linesare empty.

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    Look underneath the motorcycle forsigns of an oil or fuel leak.

    C Chassis

    Check the front suspension. Ensurethere is no binding. The rear shocksand springs should move smoothly.

    Be sure the chain is adjustedaccording to the manufacturersspecications and that the sprocketsare not worn or damaged.

    S Stands

    Ensure the side stand operatessmoothly and that the spring holdsit tightly in the up position. Ifequipped, the center stand shouldalso be held rmly against the framewhenever the motorcycle is moving.

    Additionally, regular maintenancesuch as tune-ups and oil changes are as

    important for a motorcycle as routinecheckups by your doctor are for you.Wear and tear is normal with use;routine maintenance will help preventcostly breakdowns. The schedule forregular upkeep for motorcycle partsand controls is contained in yourmotorcycles owners manual.



    Accident implies an unforeseenevent that occurs without fault ornegligence. In trafc, that is not thecase. In fact, most people involved in acrash can claim some responsibility forwhat takes place.

    Consider a situation where someonedecides to drive through an intersectionon a yellow light turning red. Yourlight turns green. You pull into theintersection without checking forpossible trafc. That is all it takes for thetwo of you to crash. It was the driversresponsibility to stop, and it was your

    responsibility to look before pulling out.Both of you are at fault. Someone elsemight be the rst to start the chain of

    events leading to a crash, but it doesntleave any of us free of responsibility.

    As a rider you cant be sure that otheroperators will see you or yield the rightof way. To lessen your chances of acrash occurring:

    Be visible wear proper clothing,use your headlight, ride in the bestlane position to see and be seen.

    Communicate your intentions use the proper signals, brake lightand lane position.

    Maintain an adequate spacecushion when following, beingfollowed, lane sharing, passing andbeing passed.

    Search your path of travel 12seconds ahead.

    Identify and separate hazards.

    Be prepared to act remain alertand know how to carry out propercrash-avoidance skills.

    Blame doesnt matter when someoneis injured in a crash. The ability to ride

    aware, make critical decisions and carrythem out separates responsible ridersfrom the rest. Remember, it is up to youto keep from being the cause of, or anunprepared participant in, any crash.

    More than half of all crashes:A. Occur at speeds greater than

    35mph.B. Happen at night.C. Are caused by worn tires.D. Involve riders who have less than

    ve months of experience on theirmotorcycles.


    Answer - page 47

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    This manual cannot teach you how to control direction, speed or balance.Thats something you can learn only through practice, preferably in a formalcourse of instruction like an MSF RiderCourse. But control begins with knowing

    your abilities and riding within them, along with knowing and obeying the rulesof the road.


    Body PositionTo control a motorcycle well:

    Posture Position yourself

    comfortably so you are able tooperate all the controls and can useyour arms to steer the motorcycle,rather than to hold yourself up.This helps you bond with yourmotorcycle and allows you to reactquickly to hazards.

    Seat Sit far enough forward sothat arms are slightly bent whenyou hold the handgrips. Bendingyour arms permits you to press onthe handlebars without having tostretch.

    Hands Hold the handgripsrmly to keep your grip over roughsurfaces. Start with your rightwrist at. This will help you keepfrom accidentally using too much


    throttle. Also, adjust the handlebarsso your hands are even with orbelow your elbows. This permitsyou to use the proper muscles forprecision steering.

    Knees Keep your knees againstthe gas tank to help you keep yourbalance as the motorcycle turns.

    Feet Keep your feet rmly on thefootrests to maintain balance. Dontdrag your feet. If your foot catcheson something, you could be injuredand it could affect your control ofthe motorcycle. Keep your feet near

    the controls so you can get to themfast if needed. Also, dont let yourtoes point downward they mayget caught between the road andthe footrests.

    Shifting GearsThere is more to shifting gears than

    simply getting the motorcycle to pick

    up speed smoothly. Learning to use thegears when downshifting, turning orstarting on hills is equally important forsafe motorcycle operation.

    The gearshift lever is located in frontof the left footrest and is operated bythe left foot. To shift up to a highergear, position your foot under theshift lever and lift. To downshift, pressthe shift lever down. The shift leverchanges one gear each time it is liftedor pressed down. Whenever the leveris released, spring loading returns it tocenter, where the mechanism resetsfor the next shift up or down. A typicalgear pattern is 1-N-2-3-4-5. The N is

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    for neutral, which is selected by eithera half lift from 1st gear or a halfpress from 2nd gear. Most motorcycles

    have ve gears, but some have four orsix gears.

    As your motorcycle increasesspeed, you will need to shift up to a

    higher gear. Shift up well before theengine RPM reaches its maximumrecommended speed. As a general rule,shift up soon enough to avoid over-revving the engine, but not so soon tocause the engine to lug.

    When upshifting, use a 3-stepprocess: 1) Roll off the throttle as yousqueeze the clutch lever, 2) lift theshift lever rmly as far as it will go, 3)smoothly ease out the clutch and adjustthe throttle. Once the shift is completed,release the shift lever to permit it toreset for the next shift.

    You should shift down through thegears with the clutch as you slow orstop, and can also shift down when you

    need more power to accelerate.Make certain you are riding slowly

    enough when you shift into a lowergear. If not, the motorcycle will lurch,and the rear wheel may skid. Whenriding downhill or shifting into rst gearyou may need to use the brakes to slow

    enough before downshifting safely.

    When downshifting, use a 3-stepprocess: 1) Roll off the throttle as you

    squeeze the clutch lever, 2) press theshift lever down rmly, 3) ease out theclutch lever as you roll on the throttle.Once the shift is completed, releasethe shift lever to permit it to reset forthe next shift. Rolling on the throttleslightly while smoothly easing out theclutch can help the engine come upto speed more quickly and make the

    downshift smoother. Shifting to a lowergear causes an effect similar to usingthe brakes. This is known as enginebraking. To use engine braking, shiftdown one gear at a time and ease outthe clutch through the friction zonebetween each downshift. Keep theclutch in the friction zone until theengine speed stabilizes. Then ease out

    the lever fully until ready for the nextdownshift. Usually you shift gears one ata time, but it is possible to shift throughmore than one gear while the clutch issqueezed.

    Remain in rst gear while you arestopped so that you can move outquickly if you need to.

    Work toward a smooth, even clutchrelease, especially when downshifting. Itis best to change gears before enteringa turn. However, sometimes shiftingwhile in the turn is necessary. If so,remember to do so smoothly. A suddenchange in power to the rear wheel cancause a skid.

    BrakingImproper braking technique remains

    a signicant contributing factor in manymotorcycle crashes. Your motorcyclehas two brake controls: one for thefront wheel and one for the rear wheel.Always use both brakes every time you


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    slow or stop. The front brake is morepowerful and can provide at least 70%of your total stopping power. The front

    brake is safe to use if you use it properly.Maximum straight-line braking is

    accomplished by fully applying bothfront and rear brakes without lockingeither wheel.

    To do this:

    Squeeze the front brakesmoothly, rmly and with

    progressively more force. Do notgrab the brake lever or use abruptpressure.

    As the motorcycles weighttransfers forward, more tractionbecomes available at the frontwheel, so the front brake can beapplied harder after braking begins.

    Keep your knees against thetank and your eyes up, lookingwell ahead. This helps you stop themotorcycle in a straight line.

    Apply light-to-lighter pressureto the rear brake pedal to prevent arear wheel skid. As weight transfersforward less traction is availableat the rear. Use less rear brake

    pressure.Using both brakes for even normal

    stops will permit you to develop theproper habit or skill of using both brakesproperly in an emergency. Squeeze thefront brake and press down on the rear.Grabbing at the front brake or jammingdown on the rear can cause the brakesto lock, resulting in control problems.

    Braking in a CornerAny time a motorcycle is leaned over,

    the amount of traction available forbraking is reduced. The greater the leanangle, the more the possibility of thetires losing traction.

    To stop as quickly and as safely aspossible in a curve, and depending onroad and trafc conditions, try to get the

    motorcycle as perpendicular to the roadas possible, then brake. If conditions donot allow, brake smoothly and gradually,but do not apply as much braking forceas you would if the motorcycle werestraight up. As you slow, you can reduceyour lean angle, and as more tractionbecomes available for braking, you canmore rmly apply the brakes, so that

    by the time the motorcycle is stopped,the motorcycle is straight up, and thehandlebars are squared.

    Linked and IntegratedBraking Systems

    Some motorcycles have linked brakingwhich connects the front and rearbrakes on the motorcycle and applies

    braking pressure to both brakes wheneither the front lever or rear pedal isapplied. An integrated braking systemis a variation of the linked system inwhich partial front braking is appliedwhenever the rear brake is activated.Consult your owners manual for adetailed explanation on the operationand effective use of these systems.

    Anti-Lock Braking Systems(ABS)

    ABS is designed to prevent wheellock-up and avoid skids when stoppingin straight-line, panic situations. ABSoperates when maximum pressure onboth the front and rear brake controlsis applied. If electronic sensors detectthe possibility of a wheel lock, brakehydraulic pressure, is released thenreapplied to maintain maximum brakingeffectiveness.

    The system is capable of releasing andreapplying pressure more than 15 timesper second.

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    TurningApproach turns and curves with

    caution. Riders often try to take curvesor turns too fast. When they cant holdthe turn, they end up crossing intoanother lane of trafc or going off theroad. Or, they overreact and brake toohard, causing a skid and loss of control.

    Use four steps for better control:

    SLOW Reduce speed before theturn by closing the throttle and, if

    necessary, applying both brakes. LOOK Look through the turn

    to where you want to go. Turn just your head, not your shoulders,and keep your eyes level with thehorizon.

    PRESS To turn, the motorcyclemust lean. To lean the motor-

    cycle, press on the handgrip inthe direction of the turn. Press lefthandgrip lean left go left.Press right handgrip lean right go right. The higher the speed in aturn, the greater the lean angle.

    ROLL Roll on the throttle tomaintain or slightly increase speed.This helps stabilize the motorcycle.

    In normal turns, the rider and themotorcycle should lean together at thesame angle.

    In slow, tight turns, counterbalance byleaning the motorcycle only and keepingyour body straight.



    When riding, you should:

    A. Turn your head and shouldersto look through turns.

    B. Keep your arms straight.

    C. Keep your knees away fromthe gas tank.

    D. Turn just your head and eyesto look where you are going.


    Answer - page 47

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    average center strip permits adequatetraction to ride on safely. You canoperate to the left or right of the greasestrip and still be within the center thirdof the trafc lane. Avoid riding on bigbuildups of oil and grease usually foundat busy intersections or tollbooths.

    Experienced riders rely on their ownbest judgment and instincts. Oneabsolute, however, is to avoid riding inanother vehicles blind spot.

    Following Another VehicleFollowing too closely is a factor in

    crashes involving motorcyclists. In trafc,motorcycles need as much distanceto stop as cars. Normally, a minimumof two seconds distance should bemaintained behind the vehicle ahead.

    To gauge your following distance: Pick out a marker, such as a

    pavement marking or lamppost, onor near the road ahead.

    When the rear bumper of thevehicle ahead passes the marker,

    count off the seconds: one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two.

    If you reach the marker beforeyou reach two, you are followingtoo closely.

    A two-second following distanceleaves a minimum amount of space tostop or swerve if the driver ahead stopssuddenly. It also permits a better view of

    potholes and other hazards in the road.A larger cushion of space is needed

    if your motorcycle will take longerthan normal to stop. If the pavementis slippery, if you cannot see throughthe vehicle ahead, or if trafc is heavyand someone may squeeze in front ofyou, open up a three-second or morefollowing distance.

    Keep well behind the vehicle aheadeven when you are stopped. This willmake it easier to get out of the wayif someone bears down on you frombehind. It will also give you a cushion ofspace if the vehicle ahead starts to backup for some reason.


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    When behind a car, ride where thedriver can see you in the rearview mirror.Riding in the center portion of the laneshould put your image in the middle ofthe rearview mirror where a driver ismost likely to see you.

    Riding at the far side of a lane maypermit a driver to see you in a sideviewmirror. But remember that most driversdont look at their sideview mirrorsnearly as often as they check therearview mirror. If the trafc situationallows, the center portion of the lane is

    usually the best place for you to be seenby the drivers ahead and to prevent lanesharing by others.

    Being FollowedSpeeding up to lose someone following

    too closely only ends up with someonetailgating you at a higher speed.

    A better way to handle tailgaters

    is to get them in front of you. Whensomeone is following too closely,change lanes and let them pass. If youcant do this, slow down and open upextra space ahead of you to allow roomfor both you and the tailgater to stop.This will also encourage them to pass.If they dont pass, you will have givenyourself and the tailgater more time andspace to react in case an emergency

    does develop ahead.Passing and Being Passed

    Passing and being passed by anothervehicle is not much different than with acar. However, visibility is more critical. Besure other drivers see you, and that yousee potential hazards.

    Passing1. Ride in the left portion of the

    lane at a safe following distance

    to increase your line of sight andmake you more visible. Signaland check for oncoming trafc.Use your mirrors and turn yourhead to look for trafc behind.

    2. When safe, move into the leftlane and accelerate. Select a laneposition that doesnt crowd thecar and provides space to avoidhazards in your lane.

    3. Ride through the blind spot asquickly as possible.

    4. Signal again, and completemirror and headchecks beforereturning to your original laneand then cancel the signal.

    Remember, passes must becompleted within posted speed

    limits, and only where permitted.Know your signs and road markings!


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    Being PassedWhen you are being passed from

    behind, stay in the center portion of

    your lane. Riding close to the passingvehicle could put you in a hazardoussituation.

    Avoid being hit by:

    The other vehicle A slightmistake by you or the passing drivercould cause a sideswipe.

    Extended mirrors Some driversforget that their mirrors hang outfarther than their fenders.

    Objects thrown from windows Even if the driver knows yourethere, a passenger may not see youand might toss something on you orthe road ahead of you.

    Blasts of wind from largervehicles They can affect yourcontrol. You have more room forerror if you are in the middle portionwhen hit by this blast than if youare on either side of the lane.

    Do not move into the portion of thelane farthest from the passing vehicle. Itmight invite the other driver to cut backinto your lane too early.

    Lane SharingCars and motorcycles need a full lane

    to operate safely. Lane sharing is usuallyprohibited.

    Riding between rows of stopped ormoving cars in the same lane can leaveyou vulnerable to the unexpected. A

    hand could come out of a window;a door could open; a car could turnsuddenly. Discourage lane sharing byothers. Keep a center-portion positionwhenever drivers might be temptedto squeeze by you. Drivers are mosttempted to do this:

    In heavy, bumper-to-bumpertrafc.

    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.

    Usually, a good way to handletailgaters is to:

    A. Change lanes and let them pass.

    B. Use your horn and makeobscene gestures.

    C. Speed up to put distancebetween you and the tailgater.

    D. Ignore them.


    Answer - page 47


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    considered enough time and space toswerve and/or brake for xed hazards orfor someone or something entering yourpath of travel.

    Finally, experienced riders search forhazards that are further out, lookingahead to an area it would take about12 seconds to reach. This providestime to prepare for a situation before itbecomes immediate.

    Using the SEE strategy will help you toSearch for a variety of factors such as:

    Oncoming trafc that may turn leftin front of you.

    Trafc coming from the left andfrom the right.

    Trafc approaching from behind.


    Good, experiencedriders are always aware ofwhat is going on aroundthem. They reduce theirrisk by using MSFs three-step SEESM strategy:

    S earch

    E valuate

    E xecute

    SEE will help youassess what is going onin trafc so you can planand implement the safestcourse of action as trafcsituations change. Letslook at each of thesesteps.

    SearchHow assertively you

    search, and how muchtime and space you have,can eliminate or minimizerisk. As you search, focuson nding potential escape routes,especially in or around intersections,shopping areas and school and

    construction zones.One way to search is to use your

    RiderRadar to aggressively scan theenvironment ahead of you, to the sides,and behind you to avoid potentialhazards even before they arise. Thereare three lead times experiencedriders consider. First, be alert and scanfor hazards that are about 2 seconds

    ahead of you, or within your followingdistance. Scanning your 4-secondimmediate path can allow you time fora quick response if something shouldgo wrong. Anything that is within 4seconds of your path is consideredimmediate because 4 seconds is


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    To reduce your reaction time, you should:

    A. Ride slower than the speedlimit.

    B. Cover the clutch and the brakes.C. Shift into neutral when slowing.

    D. Pull in the clutch when turning.


    Answer - page 47

    Hazardous road conditions thatrequire you to be alert, especially inareas with limited visibility. Visually

    busy surroundings could hide youand your motorcycle from others.

    EvaluateEvaluate means to think about how

    hazards can interact to create risks foryou. Anticipate potential problems andhave a plan to reduce risks, particularlywhen faced with:

    Road and surface characteristics such as potholes, guardrails,bridges, telephone poles and treesthat wont move into your path, butmay inuence your riding strategy.

    Trafc control devices includingtrafc signals, warning signs, andpavement markings, which willrequire you to carefully evaluatecircumstances ahead.

    Vehicles and other trafc thatmay move into your path andincrease the likelihood of a crash.Think about your time and spacerequirements in order to maintain amargin of safety, and give yourselftime to react if an emergency arises.

    ExecuteFinally, Execute your decision. To

    create more space and minimize harmfrom any hazard:

    Communicate your presence withlights and/or horn.

    Adjust your speed by accelerating,

    stopping or slowing. Adjust your position and/or

    direction by swerving, changinglanes, or moving to another positionwithin your lane.

    Apply the old adage one step at atime to handle two or more hazards.Adjust speed to permit two hazards

    to separate. Then deal with them oneat a time as single hazards. Decision-making becomes more complex withthree or more hazards. Evaluate theconsequences of each and give equaldistance to the hazards.

    In potential high-risk areas, such asintersections, shopping areas and schooland construction zones, cover the clutch

    and both brakes to reduce the time youneed to react.


    The greatest potential for conictbetween you and other trafc is atintersections. An intersection can bein the middle of an urban area or ata driveway on a residential street anywhere trafc may cross your path oftravel. Over one-half of motorcycle/carcrashes are caused by drivers entering ariders right-of-way. Cars that turn left infront of you, including cars turning leftfrom the lane on your right, and cars onside streets that pull into your lane, arethe biggest dangers. Your use of SEEat intersections is critical.

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    There are no guarantees thatothers see you. Never count on eyecontact as a sign that a driver willyield. Too often, a driver looks right at amotorcyclist and still fails to see himor her. The only eyes that you can counton are your own. If a car can enter your

    path, assume that it will. Good ridersare always looking for trouble notto get into it, but to stay out of it.

    Increase your chances of beingseen at intersections. Ride with yourheadlight on and in a lane position thatprovides the best view of oncomingtrafc. Provide a space cushion aroundthe motorcycle that permits you totake evasive action. When approaching

    an intersection 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 both brakesto reduce reaction time. As you enter

    Making eye contact with otherdrivers:A. Is a good sign they see you.B. Is not worth the effort it takes.C. Doesnt mean that the driver will

    yield.D. Guarantees that the other driver will

    yield to you.


    Answer - page 47



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    the intersection, move away from thevehicle. Do not change speed or positionradically, as drivers might think you

    are preparing to turn. Be prepared tobrake hard and hold your position if anoncoming vehicle turns in front of you,especially if there is other trafc aroundyou. This strategy should also be usedwhenever a vehicle in the oncominglane of trafc is signaling for a left turn,whether at an intersection or not.

    Blind IntersectionsIf you approach a blind intersection,

    move to the portion of the lane that willbring you into another drivers eld ofvision at the earliest possible moment.In this picture, the rider has moved tothe left portion of the lane awayfrom the parked car so the driver onthe cross street can see him as soon as

    possible.Remember, the key is to see as much

    as possible and remain visible to otherswhile protecting your space.

    If you have a stop sign or stop line,stop there rst. Then edge forwardand stop again, just short of where thecross-trafc lane meets your lane. Fromthat position, lean your body forwardand look around buildings, parked carsor bushes to see if anything is coming.Just make sure your front wheel staysout of the cross lane of travel whileyoure looking.

    Passing Parked CarsWhen passing parked cars, stay

    toward the left of your lane. Youcan avoid problems caused by doorsopening, drivers getting out of carsor people stepping from betweencars. If oncoming trafc is present, itis usually best to remain in the center-lane position to maximize your spacecushion.


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    A bigger problem can occur if thedriver pulls away from the curb withoutchecking for trafc behind. Even if he

    does look, he may fail to see you.In either event, the driver might cut

    into your path. Slow down or changelanes to make room for someonecutting 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 cant tell what adriver will do, slow down and get thedrivers attention. Sound your horn andcontinue with caution.

    Parking at the RoadsideIf parking in a parallel parking space

    next to a curb, position the motorcycleat an angle with the rear wheel to thecurb. (Note: Some cities have ordinancesthat require motorcycles to park parallelto the curb.)

    Increasing ConspicuityIn crashes with motorcyclists, drivers

    often say that they never saw themotorcycle. From ahead or behind, amotorcycles outline is much smallerthan a cars. Also, its hard to seesomething you are not looking for,and most drivers are not looking formotorcycles. More likely, they arelooking through the skinny, two-wheeled silhouette in search of cars thatmay pose a problem to them.

    Even if a driver does see you coming,

    you arent necessarily safe. Smallervehicles appear farther away andseem to be traveling slower than theyactually are. It is common for driversto pull out in front of motorcyclists,thinking they have plenty of time. Toooften, they are wrong.

    However, you can do many things tomake it easier for others to recognizeyou and your motorcycle.

    ClothingMost crashes occur in broad daylight.

    Wear bright-colored clothing to increaseyour chances of being seen. Remember,your body is half of the visible surfacearea of the rider/motorcycle unit.

    Bright orange, red, yellow or green jackets/vests are your best bets for beingseen. Your helmet can do more thanprotect you in a crash. Brightly coloredhelmets can also help others see you.

    Any bright color is better than drabor dark colors. Reective, bright-coloredclothing (helmet and jacket/vest) is best.

    Reective material on a vest and onthe sides of the helmet will help driverscoming from the side to spot you.Reective material can also be a bighelp for drivers coming toward you orfrom behind.

    HeadlightThe best way to help others see your

    motorcycle is to keep the headlight on at all times (new motorcycles soldin the USA since 1978 automatically


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    have the headlights on when running).Studies show that, during the day, amotorcycle with its light on is twice aslikely to be noticed. Use low beam at

    night and in fog.Signals

    The signals on a motorcycle are similarto those on a car. They tell others whatyou plan to do.

    However, due to a riders addedvulnerability, signals are even moreimportant. Use them anytime you planto change lanes or turn. Use them evenwhen you think no one else is around.Its the car you dont see thats going togive you the most trouble. Your signallights also make you easier to spot.Thats why its a good idea to use yourturn signals even when what you planto do is obvious.

    When you enter a freeway, driversapproaching from behind are more likelyto see your signal blinking and makeroom for you.

    Turning your signal light on beforeeach turn reduces confusion andfrustration for the trafc around you.

    Once you turn, make sure your signal isoff or a driver may pull directly into yourpath, thinking you plan to turn again.

    Use your signals at every turn so driverscan react accordingly. Dont make themguess what you intend to do.

    Brake LightYour motorcycles brake light is usually

    not as noticeable as the brake lights ona car particularly when your taillightis on. (It goes on with the headlight.)

    If the situation will permit, help othersnotice you by ashing your brake lightbefore you slow down. It is especiallyimportant to ash your brake lightbefore:

    You slow more quickly thanothers might expect (turning off ahigh-speed highway).

    You slow where others may notexpect it (in the middle of a block orat an alley).

    If you are being followed closely, itsa good idea to ash your brake lightbefore you slow. The tailgater may bewatching you and not see somethingahead that will make you slow down.This will hopefully discourage them from

    tailgating and warn them of hazardsahead they may not see.

    Using Your MirrorsWhile its most important to keep

    track of whats happening ahead, youcant afford to ignore situations behind.Trafc conditions change quickly.Knowing whats going on behind is

    essential for you to make a safe decisionabout how to handle trouble ahead.

    Frequent mirror checks should be partof your normal searching routine. Makea special point of using your mirrors:

    When you are stopped at anintersection. Watch cars coming up


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    from behind. If the drivers arentpaying 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 to slow,or may be unsure about where youwill slow. For example, you signal aturn and the driver thinks you planto turn at a distant intersection,rather than at a nearer driveway.

    Most motorcycles have rounded(convex) mirrors. These provide awider view of the road behind thando at mirrors. They also make carsseem farther away than they really are.If you are not used to convex mirrors,get familiar with them. (While youare stopped, pick out a parked car in

    your mirror. Form a mental image ofhow far away it is. Then, turn aroundand look at it to see how close youcame.) Practice with your mirrors untilyou become a good judge of distance.Even then, allow extra distance beforeyou change lanes.

    Head Checks

    Checking your mirrors is not enough.Motorcycles have blind spots like cars.Before you change lanes, turn your head,and look to the side for other vehicles.

    On a road with several lanes, checkthe far lane and the one next to you. Adriver in the distant lane may head forthe same space you plan to take.

    Frequent head checks should be

    your normal scanning routine, also.Only by knowing what is happeningall around you are you fully preparedto deal with it.

    HornBe ready to use your horn to get

    someones attention quickly.

    It is a good idea to give a quick beepbefore passing anyone that may moveinto your lane.

    Here are some situations:

    A driver in the lane next to youis driving too closely to the vehicleahead and may want to pass.

    A parked car has someone in thedrivers seat.

    Someone is in the street, riding abicycle or walking.

    In an emergency, sound your hornloud and long. Be ready to stop orswerve away from the danger.

    Reective clothing should:A. Be worn at night.B. Be worn during the day.C. Not be worn.D. Be worn day and night


    Answer - page 47


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    Front-Wheel SkidsIf the front wheel locks, release the

    front brake immediately and completely.

    Reapply the brake smoothly. Front-wheel skids result in immediate loss ofsteering control and balance. Failure tofully release the brake lever immediatelywill result in a crash.

    Rear-Wheel SkidsA skidding rear tire is a dangerous

    condition that can result in a violentcrash and serious injury or death. Toomuch rear brake pressure causes rear-wheel lockup. As soon as the rear wheel

    locks, your ability to change direction islost. To regain control the brake mustbe released. However, if the rear wheel

    is out of alignment with the front, thereis a risk of a high-side crash. This occurswhen the wheels are out of alignmentand a locked rear wheel is released. Themotorcycle can abruptly snap uprightand tumble, throwing the rider into theair ahead of the motorcycles path. Evenslight misalignment can result in a high-side crash.

    CorneringA primary cause of single-vehicle

    crashes is motorcyclists running wide in





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    a curve or turn and colliding with theroadway or a xed object.

    Every curve is different. Be alert to

    whether a curve remains constant,gradually widens, gets tighter orinvolves multiple turns. Ride within yourskill level and posted speed limits.

    Your best path may not always followthe curve of the road. Change laneposition depending on trafc, roadconditions and curve of the road. If notrafc is present, start at the outsideof a curve to increase your line of sightand the effective radius of the turn. Asyou turn, move toward the inside of thecurve, and as you pass the center, moveto the outside to exit.

    Another alternative is to move to thecenter of your lane before entering acurve and stay there until you exit.

    This permits you to spot approachingtrafc as soon as possible. You can alsoadjust for trafc crowding the centerline, or debris blocking part of your lane.



    Your chance of falling or beinginvolved in a crash increases wheneveryou ride across:

    Uneven surfaces or obstacles.

    Slippery surfaces.

    Railroad tracks.

    Grooves and gratings.

    Uneven Surfacesand Obstacles

    Watch for uneven surfaces such asbumps, broken pavement, potholes orsmall pieces of highway trash.

    Try to avoid obstacles by slowing orgoing around them. If you must goover the obstacle, rst determine if it is

    possible. Approach it at as close to a 90angle as possible. Look where you wantto go to control your path of travel. If you

    have to ride over the obstacle, you should: Slow down as much as possible

    before contact.

    Make sure the motorcycle isstraight.

    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 check yourtires and rims for damage before ridingany farther.

    Slippery SurfacesMotorcycles handle better when

    ridden on surfaces that permit goodtraction. Surfaces that provide poortraction include:

    Wet pavement, particularly just afterit starts to rain and before surface oilwashes to the side of the road.

    Gravel roads, or where sand andgravel collect.

    Mud, leaves, snow, and ice.

    Lane markings (painted lines), steel plates and manhole covers,especially when wet.

    To ride safely on slippery surfaces:

    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 or direction

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    The best way to stop quickly is to:A. Use the front brake only.B. Use the rear brake rst.C. Throttle down and use the front

    brake.D. Use both brakes at the same time.


    Answer - page 47


    can cause a skid. Be as smooth aspossible when you speed up, shiftgears, turn or brake.

    Use Both Brakes The frontbrake is still effective, even on aslippery surface. Squeeze the brakelever gradually to avoid locking thefront wheel. Remember, gentlepressure on the rear brake.

    The center of a lane can behazardous when wet. When it startsto rain, ride in the tire tracks left bycars. Often, the left tire track willbe the best position, depending ontrafc and other road conditions.

    Watch for oil spots when you putyour foot down to stop or park. Youmay slip and fall.

    Dirt and gravel collect along thesides of the road especially oncurves and ramps leading to and fromhighways. Be aware of whats on theedge of the road, particularly whenmaking sharp turns and getting on oroff freeways at high speeds.

    Rain dries and snow melts faster on some sections of a road than onothers. Patches of ice tend to developin low or shaded areas and on bridges

    and overpasses. Wet surfaces or wetleaves are just as slippery. Ride on theleast slippery portion of the lane andreduce speed.

    Cautious riders steer clear of roadscovered with ice or snow. If you cantavoid a slippery surface, keep yourmotorcycle straight up and proceedas slowly as possible. If you encountera large surface so slippery that youmust coast, or travel at a walking pace,consider letting your feet skim along

    the surface. If the motorcycle starts tofall, you can catch yourself. Be sure tokeep off the brakes. If possible, squeezethe clutch and coast. Attempting thismaneuver at anything other than theslowest of speeds could prove hazardous.

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    Railroad Tracks, Trolley Tracksand Pavement Seams

    Usually it is safer to ride straight withinyour lane to cross tracks. Turning to taketracks head-on (at a 90 angle) can bemore dangerous your path may carryyou into another lane of trafc.







    For track and road seams that runparallel to your course, move far enoughaway from tracks, ruts, or pavementseams to cross at an angle of at least45. Then, make a deliberate turn.Edging across could catch your tires andthrow you off balance.

    Grooves and GratingsRiding over rain grooves or bridge

    gratings may cause a motorcycle toweave. The uneasy, wandering feeling isgenerally not hazardous. Relax, maintaina steady speed and ride straight across.Crossing at an angle forces riders tozigzag to stay in the lane. The zigzag isfar more hazardous than the wanderingfeeling.

    When it starts to rain it is usuallybest to:A. Ride in the center of the lane.B. Pull off to the side until the rain

    stops.C. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.D. Increase your speed.


    Answer - page 47

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    You can nd yourself in an emergencythe moment something goes wrongwith your motorcycle. In dealing withany mechanical problem, take intoaccount the road and trafc conditionsyou face. Here are some guidelinesthat can help you handle mechanicalproblems safely.

    Tire FailureYou will seldom hear a tire go at.

    If the motorcycle starts handlingdifferently, it may be a tire failure. Thiscan be dangerous. You must be able totell from the way the motorcycle reacts.If one of your tires suddenly loses air,react quickly to keep your balance. Pulloff and check the tires.

    If the front tire goes at, the steering

    will feel heavy. A front-wheel at isparticularly hazardous because it affectsyour steering. You have to steer well tokeep your balance.

    If the rear tire goes at, the back ofthe motorcycle may jerk or sway fromside to side.

    If either tire goes at while riding:

    Hold handgrips rmly, ease off thethrottle, and keep a straight course.

    If braking is required, graduallyapply the brake of the tire that isntat, if you are sure which one it is.

    When the motorcycle slows, edge to the side of the road,squeeze the clutch and stop.

    Stuck ThrottleTwist the throttle back and forth

    several 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 will remove

    power from the rear wheel, thoughengine sound may not immediatelydecline. Once the motorcycle is under

    control, pull off and stop.After you have stopped, check the

    throttle cable carefully to nd the sourceof the trouble. Make certain the throttleworks freely before you start to ride again.

    WobbleA wobble occurs when the front

    wheel and handlebars suddenly start

    to shake from side to side at anyspeed. Most wobbles can be traced toimproper loading, unsuitable accessoriesor incorrect tire pressure. If you arecarrying a heavy load, lighten it. If youcant, shift it. Center the weight lowerand farther forward on the motorcycle.Make sure tire pressure, spring pre-load, air shocks and dampers are at the

    settings recommended for that muchweight. Make sure windshields andfairings are mounted properly.

    Check for poorly adjusted steering;worn steering parts; a front wheel thatis bent, misaligned, or out of balance;loose wheel bearings or spokes; andworn swingarm bearings. If none ofthese is determined to be the cause,have the motorcycle checked outthoroughly by a qualied professional.

    Trying to accelerate out of awobble will only make the motorcyclemore unstable. Instead:

    Grip the handlebars rmly, butdont ght the wobble.

    Close the throttle gradually to slow 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 x the problem.

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    Drive Train ProblemsThe drive train for a motorcycle uses

    either a chain, belt, or drive shaft totransfer power from the engine tothe rear wheel. Routine inspection,adjustment, and maintenance makesfailure a rare occurrence. A chain or beltthat slips or breaks while youre ridingcould lock the rear wheel and causeyour motorcycle to skid.

    If the chain or belt breaks, youll

    notice an instant loss of power to therear wheel. Close the throttle and braketo a stop in a safe area.

    On a motorcycle 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 Seizure

    When the engine locks orfreezes it is usually low on oil. Theengines moving parts cant movesmoothly against each other, and theengine overheats. The rst sign may bea loss of engine power or a change inthe engines sound. Squeeze the clutchlever to disengage the engine from therear wheel. Pull off the road and stop.

    Check the oil. If needed, oil should beadded as soon as possible or the enginewill seize. When this happens, the effectis the same as a locked rear wheel. Letthe engine cool before restarting.


    Naturally, you should do everythingyou safely can to avoid hitting ananimal. If you are in trafc, however,remain in your lane. Hitting somethingsmall is less dangerous to you thanhitting something big like a car.

    Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. Ifyou are being chased, downshift andapproach the animal slowly. As you

    approach it, accelerate and leave theanimal behind. Dont kick at the animal.Keep control of your motorcycle and

    look to where you want to go.For larger animals (deer, elk, cattle)

    brake and prepare to stop they areunpredictable.


    From time to time riders are struckby insects, cigarettes thrown from carsor pebbles kicked up by the tires ofthe vehicle ahead. If you are wearingface protection, it might get smearedor cracked, making it difcult to see.Without face protection, an objectcould hit you in the eye, face or mouth.Whatever happens, keep your eyeson the road and your hands on thehandlebars. When safe, pull off the roadand repair the damage.


    If you need to leave the road to checkthe motorcycle (or just to rest), be sure to:

    Check the roadside Make surethe surface of the roadside is rmenough to ride on. If it is soft grass,loose sand or if youre just not sureabout it, slow way down before youturn onto it.

    Signal Drivers behind might notexpect you to slow down. Give aclear signal that you will be slowingdown and changing direction.Check your mirror and make a headcheck before you take any action.

    If your motorcycle starts to wobble:A. Accelerate out of the wobble.B. Use the brakes gradually.C. Grip the handlebars rmly and close

    the throttle gradually.D. Downshift.


    Answer - page 47

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    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 dont wantsomeone else pulling off at thesame place you are.

    Park carefully Loose and slopedshoulders can make setting the sideor center stand difcult.



    The extra weight of a passengeror cargo will affect the way yourmotorcycle behaves, requiring extrapractice, preparation and caution. Forthis reason, only experienced ridersshould attempt to carry passengers orlarge loads. Before taking a passengeror a heavy load on the street, prepareyourself and your motorcycle for safe

    operation in trafc.Preparing Your Motorcycle

    Tire Pressure Check the airpressure of both tires. Refer to theowners manual or the label afxedto the motorcycle for the correctination specications. Though mostof the added weight will typically be

    on the rear wheel, dont forget to alsocheck the pressure on the front tire.Correct ination pressures will maintainmaximum stability, steering precisionand braking capability.

    Suspension With a heavy load,the riding characteristics and balance ofthe motorcycle will change. On somemotorcycles, it will be necessary toadjust the suspension settings (springpreload, compression/damping settings,etc.) to compensate for the lowered rearof the motorcycle. Refer to the ownersmanual for adjustment procedures andspecications.

    Headlight Prior to loading, position

    the motorcycle about 10 feet from awall in an unlighted garage and markthe headlight beam location on the

    wall with chalk. With a full load andpassenger, recheck the headlight beamlocation. Use the adjusting screws onthe headlight to lower the beam tothe same height. Check your ownersmanual for adjustment procedure.

    Equipment forCarrying a Passenger

    Be sure your passenger is properlyattired, wearing the same level ofpersonal protective gear as you.

    Be sure your motorcycle is equippedwith passenger footrests.

    Your motorcycle should have a properseat, one large enough to hold bothyou and your passenger withoutcrowding. You should not sit moreforward than you usually do.

    Check that there is a strap or solidhandholds for your passenger tohold onto.

    Preparing YourPassenger to Ride

    Ensure your passenger is able to reachthe passenger footrests, and is able tohold on to your waist, hips, belt, or thebikes passenger handholds. Childrenshould be placed immediately behindthe rider. A child sitting in front of therider will not be able to properly balancehim/herself and may interfere with theriders control of the motorcycle.

    Passenger safety begins withproper instruction. Riders should notassume that passengers are familiarwith motorcycle handling, control, orbalance. As a routine practice, alwaysinstruct your passenger on cycling basicsprior to starting the trip, even if yourpassenger is a motorcycle rider.

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    If 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, then

    speed up.


    Answer - page 47

    As you prepare for your ride, tell yourpassenger to:

    Get on the motorcycle only after

    you have started the engine andhave the transmission in neutral. Asthe passenger mounts, keep bothyour feet on the ground and thebrakes applied.

    Sit as far forward as possiblewithout hindering your control ofthe motorcycle.

    Hold rmly onto your waist, hips,belt or passenger handholds forbalance and security.

    Keep both feet rmly on the cyclesfootrests, even when stopped. Firmfooting will prevent your passengerfrom falling off and pulling you off.

    Keep legs away from the mufer(s),chains or moving parts.

    Stay directly behind you and leanwith you through turns and curves.It is helpful for the passenger tolook over the riders shoulder in thedirection of turns and curves.

    Avoid unnecessary conversation andavoid leaning or turning around.Make no sudden moves that might

    affect the stability of the motorcyclewhen it is in operation.

    Rise slightly off the seat whencrossing an obstacle.

    Also, remind your passenger totighten his or her hold when you:

    Approach surface hazards such asbumps or uneven road surfaces.

    Are about to start from a stop or

    begin moving into trafc. Are about to turn sharply or make a

    sudden move.

    Riding With PassengersYour motorcycle will respond slowly

    when you ride with a passenger. Theheavier your passenger, the longer it willtake to speed up, slow down, or turn.

    When riding with passengers:

    Ride a little slower, especially whentaking curves, corners, or bumps. Ifany part of the motorcycle scrapesthe ground at lean angle, steeringcontrol can be lost.

    Start slowing earlier as youapproach a stop, and maintain alarger space cushion wheneverslowing or stopping.

    Wait for larger gaps to cross, enter,or merge in trafc.

    Carrying LoadsEverything you are likely to need for

    a riding holiday or weekend trip can

    be packed on your motorcycle in manydifferent ways. There are completeluggage systems, saddlebags that arepermanently attached to the motorcycle,soft bags that do not require a carriersystem and can be tied to the seat,and a tank bag for other small items.You can also travel simply with only abackpack. Whatever you decide, do not

    exceed gross vehicle weight rating whentraveling with cargo and a passenger,and always make adjustments to themotorcycle to compensate for theadded weight.

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    Passengers 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 47

    Tips for Traveling withPassengers and Cargo

    Keep the load forward. Pack heavieritems in the front of the tank bag.Lighter items such as your sleepingbag, ground pad or tent, should bepacked on a luggage rack behindyou. Try to place the load over, orin front of, the rear axle. Mountingloads behind the rear axle can affecthow the motorcycle turns andbrakes. It can also cause a wobble.

    Plan your route and length of eachdays riding segment and allowplenty of time for breaks. Poorweather, breakdowns, and fatigueare always possible.

    Consider selecting some interestingsecondary roads to occasionallyreduce the monotony of the

    highway. Start as early in the morning as

    possible. When you are fresh, youride at peak performance. For mostriders, this is usually between 6 a.m.and 11 a.m. then, take a goodhours break for lunch. Your energywill pick up again in the afternoon.

    Dont forget sun protection in thesummer. Some combinations ofriding gear can leave your neckexposed, risking sunburn.

    If you wear a backpack, be sure itis securely attached to you. Try toadjust the shoulder straps so thatthe backpack rests lightly on theseat. This will reduce the tension in

    your neck and shoulders. If you have a tank bag, be sure it

    is securely mounted and does notobstruct your view of the controlsor instruments. If necessary, pack itonly partially full. When strappingthe tank bag in place, make sure

    it does not catch any of the brakelines or cables in the area of thesteering head.

    Secure loads low, or put them insaddlebags. Attaching a load toa sissy bar raises the motorcyclescenter of gravity and can upset itsbalance.

    If you use saddlebags, load eachwith about the same weight.An uneven load can cause themotorcycle to pull to one side.

    Overloading may also cause thebags to catch in the wheel or chain,locking the rear wheel and causingthe motorcycle to skid.

    Fasten the load securely withelastic cords (bungee cords ornets). Elastic cords with more thanone attachment point per side arerecommended. A loose load couldcatch in the wheel or chain, causingit to lock up, resulting in a skid.Rope can stretch and knots cancome loose, permitting the load toshift or fall. You should stop andcheck the load often to make sure ithas not shifted or loosened.

    Include a small tool kit and somecommon spare parts that you mightneed. Water and some energy barsor other food should also be part ofyour preparation, and dont forgeta rst aid kit, especially if you areriding in a group.

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    Pre-Ride TestPrior to starting out, take a test

    ride with your fully loaded motorcyclethrough some familiar neighborhoodroads to get a feel for the operation ofyour motorcycle. Be sure the suspensionsettings are correct, and that the sidestand, footrests, and exhaust pipes dontscrape over bumps and in turns. Ensurethe tank bag does not get in the way ofthe handlebars or restrict the steering.Also check the security of the load, sothat your luggage does not hit you inthe back under maximum braking.

    You will also nd that the perfor-mance of a fully loaded motorcycle willbe different than what you are used to.Test the power when accelerating andbe aware that it will be lower, increas-ing passing times and distances. Braking

    will also feel different, and stoppingdistances may increase.


    PreparationPreparing yourself for a group ride

    is as important as making sure yourmotorcycle is ready. Riding with a grouprequires an alert mind that is free from

    worries, distractions and stress. It alsomeans riding free from the inuence ofalcohol or drugs. For some, even toomuch caffeine or prescription drugs canadversely affect concentration.

    Prior to a long trip, its a good idea tohave your motorcycle serviced at yourlocal dealership if you arent able to dothe work yourself. A thorough pre-ride check is a must. Use the T-CLOCSchecklist as a reminder of the importantcomponents to check before you leave.Remember to consider such variablesas passengers and extra weight fromcargo that might require a change in tirepressure or suspension adjustment.

    PlanBefore starting out, hold a riders

    meeting to discuss the route, length of

    riding segments, rest stops and locationsfor fuel, meals and lodging. Make sureeveryone knows the route. That way,if someone becomes separated, he orshe wont have to hurry to keep fromgetting lost or making the wrong turn.Choose a lead rider and a sweep rider.These should be the most experiencedriders of the group. The lead ridershould look ahead for changes in road,

    trafc or weather conditions, and signalearly so the word gets back in plentyof time to the other riders. The sweeprider is the last rider in the group, andsets the pace for the group. Placeinexperienced riders just behind theleader. That ensures that they wonthave to chase after the group, and themore experienced riders can watchthem from the back.

    The most important rules for groupriding are: no competition, no passingof other riders and no tailgating. If arider insists on riding faster than thegroup, allow him or her to go ahead toan agreed meeting point.

    Hand signalsDuring the riders meeting, review

    the hand signals so all riders cancommunicate during the ride. Adiagram of the most common handsignals is at the end of this manual.

    Follow those behindDuring the ride, use your mirrors

    to keep an eye on the person behindand conrm that the group is stayingtogether. If a rider falls behind, everyoneshould slow down to keep the grouptogether.

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    Keep Your DistanceMaintain close ranks, but at the

    same time, maintain an adequate space

    cushion to allow each rider in the grouptime and distance to react to hazards.A close group takes up less space onthe highway, is easier to see, and is lesslikely to become separated. This must,however, be done properly.

    Dont Pair UpNever ride directly alongside another

    rider in the same lane. There is no placeto go if you have to maneuver to avoida car or hazard in the roadway. Waituntil you are both stopped to talk.

    Staggered FormationThis is the best way to keep the ranks

    close yet maintain an adequate spacecushion. The group leader rides in theleft side of the lane, and the second

    rider stays at least one second back andrides in the right side of the lane. Thethird maintains the left position of thelane, at least two seconds behind therst rider. The fourth rider should keepat least a two second distance fromthe second rider in the right side of thelane, and so on. This formation keepsthe group close and permits each riderto maintain a safe distance from others

    ahead, behind and to the sides.It is best to move to single le forma-

    tion when riding in curves, turning, andentering or leaving freeways or highways.

    IntersectionsIntersections present the highest

    risk for motorcyclists in a group. Whenmaking a left turn at an intersectionwith a left turn signal arrow, tightenthe formation to allow as many ridersthrough the intersection as possible.Make the turn single le do not rideside-by-side. If not all riders get throughthe light, stop at a safe point ahead andwait. This will prevent riders from feelingpressured to speed up or run a red light.

    Interstate Highways andFreeways

    A staggered formation is essentialwhen riding on freeways and interstates.However, enter in single le and form uponly after all riders have safely mergedin trafc. The lead rider should move thegroup over at least one lane to preventvehicles that are entering and exitingfrom disrupting your formation. In heavytrafc, resist the temptation to ride tooclose together. Maintain your minimumone-second, two-second staggeredformation space cushion. When exiting,use a single le formation for betterspace cushion and time to react toconditions at the end of the off-ramp.

    ParkingWhen possible, park as a group, so

    everyone can get off their motorcyclesmore quickly. Avoid parking downhill or

    head-in, and if possible, park where youcan pull through, making the arrival anddeparture smoother. Whenever possible,park so that the group can depart as aunit in single le.


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    When riding in a group,inexperienced riders should positionthemselves: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 47



    Passing in FormationWhen the group wants to pass slow

    trafc on a freeway or interstate, the

    group may pass as a unit. On a two-lanehighway, riders in a staggered formationshould pass 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 continue ridingat passing speed to open room forthe next rider.

    Next, the second rider should moveup to the left position in the laneand wait for a chance to safely pass.When passing be sure you havea clear view of oncoming trafc.Just because the lead rider passed,that does not mean that conditionshavent changed and that it is stillsafe for other riders to pass. Afterpassing the rider should return tothe right position and open uproom for the next rider.

    Some people suggest that the leadrider should move to the right sideof the lane after passing the vehicle.This is not a good idea, since it mightencourage the second rider to pass andcut back in before there is enough spacecushion in front of the passed vehicle.Its simpler and safer to wait until thereis enough room ahead of the passedvehicle to allow each rider to move intothe same position held before the pass.

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    Ten Rules of Group Riding Base the length of the route and

    segments on ability of the leastexperienced rider.

    Take timely breaks to prevent loss ofconcentration and reduce fatigue.

    Adjust the pace through curves tothe ability of the least experiencedrider. If necessary, form two groupswith different speeds.

    Dont tailgate or encourage therider in front to speed. If you wantto ride faster, ride ahead of thegroup.

    Keep adequate following distanceand maintain a staggeredformation.

    Do not pass in the group, except inthe case of emergency.

    Place inexperienced riders just

    behind the leader so they can keeppace without riding faster than it issafe.

    When passing, be conscious of thetrafc conditions and oncomingtrafc. Even though the previousriders passed safely, it may not besafe for you.

    Maintain adequate time distancebetween riders, especially atintersections. This allows you toavoid hard braking.

    Check your mirrors frequently toensure the group stays together.

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    Riding a motorcycle is a demanding and complex task. Skilled riderspay attention to the riding environment and to operating the motorcycle,identifying potential hazards, making good judgments and executing decisionsquickly and skillfully. Your ability to perform and respond to changing road andtrafc conditions is inuenced by how t and alert you are. Alcohol and drugs,more than any other factor, degrade your ability to think clearly and to ridesafely. As little as one drink can have a signicant effect on your performance.

    Lets look at the risks involved in riding after drinking or using drugs. What todo to protect yourself and your fellow riders is also examined.


    IS IMPORTANTAlcohol is a major contributor to

    motorcycle crashes, particularly fatalcrashes. Studies show that nearly 40%of all riders killed in motorcycle crasheshad been drinking. The rest had only afew drinks in their systems enoughto impair riding skills. In the past, druglevels have been harder to distinguish or

    have not been separated from drinkingviolations for the trafc records. Butriding under the inuence of eitheralcohol or drugs poses physical and legalhazards for every rider.

    Drinking and drug use is as biga problem among motorcyclistsas it is among automobile drivers.Motorcyclists, however, are more likelyto be killed or severely injured in a crash.Injuries occur in 90% of motorcyclecrashes and 33% of automobile crashesthat involve abuse of substances. Ona yearly basis, 2,000 motorcyclistsare killed and about 50,000 seriouslyinjured in this same type of crash. Thesestatistics are too overwhelming toignore.

    By becoming knowledgeable about

    the effects of alcohol and drugs youwill see that riding and substanceabuse dont mix. Take positive steps toprotect yourself and prev