No muscle car, European exotic or terrain-conquering 4WD can ever match the ecstatic feeling of independence and superb sense of freedom riding on a motorcycle. The road opens up to you in ways you’ve never seen before. The air rushing against your face is far more enjoyable than the cold blast of air conditioning from a car AC vent. Plus, the roar of that engine in between your legs is something that you’ll never get from any other type of vehicle. Of course, even before you get to blitz the path less traveled and start leading the life of a freedom-loving biker, you’ve got to take and pass a road test for motorcycle riders so you’ll get the license to drive any of the world’s best two-wheeled marvels. Passing your motorcycle test should be easy, especially if you adhere to our 10 easy makes-perfect-sense tips.
Brush Up on Your Knowledge of Road Signs and Specific Motorcycle Laws in Your State
While you may have already passed the written examination for motorcycle riders, don’t be complacent. Sometimes, the actual driving test can be more nerve-wracking than you can possibly imagine. It does pay to brush up on your knowledge about existing laws related to driving motorcycles in your state. You clearly don’t want to execute a maneuver that is clearly a violation of existing laws; otherwise, your chances of getting that license will be very slim.
The same is true with road signs as well as markings on the road. You should know the meaning of different signs and markings by heart so that you will be able to observe them come test day. Remember, you can never really be confident enough during a test. For sure you will be very conscious about that person tailing you in a car, watching and grading your every move. As such, be prepared several days before your driving test.
Practice Balancing on Your Motorcycle
One of the most essential skills of any motorcycle rider is maneuvering the bike in tight spaces without really hitting anything on either side. That is why part of your motorcycle test is the closed course test. This is essential before you are allowed to continue into the more grueling motorcycle road test. The closed course test is undertaken in a secluded location, basically for safety reasons. The goal is to assess whether you have the skill to balance your motorcycle as you weave through traffic cones without hitting any of the cones.
As such, it would really be wise to get your motorbike and improvise on the cones. Try to put several of these in a straight line and equidistant to one another. Run your motorcycle weaving in and out of these makeshift ‘cones’, making sure your feet stay firmly on the foot pegs and never touching the ground. It’s a test of balance and concentration while also calling on your skills to maneuver the motorcycle in between these cones. You may want to ride slow so you’ll have better control of your movements while keeping your balance. Practice several times a day a few days before the test. This should help you find the confidence in balancing the motorized bike.
Perform a Safety Check
Even before you will be given the go signal by the examiner to start with the actual motorcycle test, you will be required to perform a safety check on your ride. He may also ask you a few things about your vehicle, especially certain components that are critical to road safety. This is done to assess your knowledge of your motorcycle and whether or not you appreciate the implications of a faulty component of road safety. More importantly, the examiner would like to know if your ride is road-worthy – meaning it safe enough to ride on the roads.
It is for this reason that you should perform a very thorough inspection of your ride several days before the actual motorcycle road test. If you are not really familiar about the different parts of your motorcycle you can always look at your owner’s manual. There are available online resources as well. They can help beef up your knowledge on the different safety features of a motorcycle. More importantly, however, is that you will have plenty of time to identify problem components such as a broken tail light or a malfunctioning brake and have these fixed before the big day. Practice performing the safety check prior to the day of the test. At the very least, you’re already assured of doing well in your exam.
Wear the Correct Attire and Gear
During the motorcycle driving test, your examiner will be issuing instructions through a small piece of hearing device plugged into your ears. These are your ear buds. As such choosing the right kind of helmet is crucial so you will be able to listen to all the instructions loud and clear. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently ignore the examiner’s directions or instructions simply because the noise of air rushing against the side of your face is a lot greater than the volume set on the hearing device. It is for this reason that a full-face helmet is best suited for such examinations. While a half-helmet or even an open-face helmet may look nice on you when riding your motorcycle, reserve this for the time when you already have your license.
When it comes to the correct attire, you can check the existing rules for motorcycle drivers in your state. Ideally, you need a jacket with good abrasion resistance and with padding in certain sections like the elbows. Hand gloves may also be needed. Check the requirements for the footwear and pants. Make sure you adhere to your state’s safety gear requirements for motorcycle riders.
Observe and Signal
Just as drivers of cars are expected to be acutely aware of what’s happening in their surroundings before making any appropriate decisions by signaling their intention, motorcycle drivers are also expected to be as vigilant as any other motorist. As such, the examiner will be very particular about how you observe your surroundings and make the appropriate signals. This means you’ve got to somehow move your head even a bit as you analyze the flow of traffic, turns, blind spots, your mirrors and even lane changes. Don’t think that keeping your eyes fixed on the road ahead of you will guarantee that license you need.
The same is true for signaling. Every time you intend to change direction, it is imperative that you indicate the direction you’re taking by triggering the appropriate signal light. Don’t forget the value of hand signals as the examiner will also be checking on these especially when the situation calls for it. Checking on your mirrors from time to time is also important. The examiner may be in a car tailing you, but he sure knows if you are observing and signaling.
Keep to Your Lane
Majority of motorcycle riders today love splitting the lane. This is done by maneuvering the motorcycle in between cars such that they are essentially moving on lane dividers. Most motorcycle drivers do this primarily to save precious time on the road especially when the traffic is building up. To say that it is unsafe is an understatement. You’ll never know if one driver will suddenly open his car door just so he can check what’s causing the standstill up ahead.
Stay in your lane no matter how tempting it is to simply run the middle and blitz ahead of everyone else. Remember, you have an examiner on your tail, watching and documenting every move that you make. If you split the lane, there simply is no way the examiner can squeeze his car in between lanes. So you really have to keep your cool especially when you notice that traffic is already building up ahead. Keep to your lane even though the vehicle behind you is already honking like crazy.
Check Your Speed
There is always this tendency to twist the throttle like you’re on the set of the final installment to the Fast and Furious. It really is easy to let the adrenaline drive you and hit the road like there’s no tomorrow. You’re forgetting something. You’ve got an examiner behind you watching your every move. And if you go over the speed limit of the road you’re traversing, you can almost always forget about bagging the test.
Not only are you supposed to observe the speed limits in highways (unless you can somehow convince your examiner to take the motorcycle road test on the German Autobahn), you are also expected to observe the correct vehicle speed when traversing certain places like residential areas and school zones. This is with or without speed limits posted on the streets. You’re also not supposed to make rolling stops. If it says ‘stop’, that means your motorcycle should not be moving at all.
Just as not over-speeding is important, you’re also not supposed to go below the minimum speed limit. This is especially true if you are in a highway. That’s why it’s important to brush up on your knowledge of traffic rules even before you take the motorcycle driving test.
One of the most ridiculous reasons why some people fail in their motorcycle road test is that they did not listen carefully to the instructions of the examiner tailing them. The motorcycle road test examiner will be giving you instructions through a communications device while tailing you in a car. You should be able to hear these instructions through your ear buds. It is often best to check the working condition of the device before you start the test, although you may find that it’s working well when you’re stationary but not when you’re already moving. That is why it is also important to pick a full-face helmet instead of an open face or half helmet so you’ll have a much better chance of hearing the examiner’s instructions.
You may also want to ask the examiner if you can signal him to repeat the instructions just in case you couldn’t really grasp what he wants you to do. If you think the hearing device is defective, you can always pull over and explain the situation to the examiner.
Choose the Right Motorcycle
You may already own a big bike, but you may want to consider bringing a much smaller displacement motorcycle for the test. This offers better handling especially if you are going to undertake the closed course test (remember the weaving through cones?). Of course, if you want to take the test with your 1000-cc bike, go ahead. However, make sure that you have mastered its handling including every square inch of its build. It is important to understand that the motorcycle road test is an assessment of your skills in driving and handling a motorcycle as well as whether you can be trusted with the license that will be given to you. It’s not a test whether you have a big and powerful motorcycle.
Relax and Keep Your Cool
Whatever you do, don’t let your nerves get to you. Get a hold of your temper, too. When you’re already taking the test, there will always be other motorists who can get on your nerves. Inflate your lungs as deep as you possibly could, count to 10, and then breathe as long as you possibly can. Try to find ways by which you can remain calm and composed throughout the duration of the test. And while the examiner is not going to grade you for your ability to relax and keep your cool, the effects will be reflected in the way you drive.
Sleep early the night before the test. Refrain from drinking alcohol or even partying the night before your date with destiny. Remember, if the examiner deems that you have impaired judgment, he has all the right to stop the test right there and then.
Passing the motorcycle road test is relatively easy. Practicing and getting yourself all psyched up for the test can help you gain that license you’ve been yearning for.
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