Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

How do they do the driver's test for a motorcycle license?


Alpo
 Share

Recommended Posts

I assume there is one.

 

When I took my driver's license driving test, The examiner was sitting in the passenger seat. He could watch what I was doing. But if I'm taking a motorcycle license exam, how do they tell if I know how to ride? Put an examiner on another bike next to me and we ride together? If he's watching me he's not watching the road. That ain't safe. And how could he tell me what to do - turn right at the next corner, parallel park, do a three-point turn?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The state of Tennessee has state certified, independent  riders schools. Take the 2 day course, pass the written work and demonstrate to the school you are proficient and the state waives the driving portion. You must still pass the state's written portion. A mc license from another state serves the same purpose.

 

Imis

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on the state.

 

Some states will accept a certificate of completion from a motorcycle safety course in lieu of a driving test, thought the applicant must still pass a written test.

 

Some states still require the applicant to pass a written and driving test on a parking lot course at the facility.

 

Some states waive the written and driving tests with a certificate of completion from a motorcycle safety course.

 

In TX, where I first obtained my motorcycle endorsement,  I had to provide a street legal motorcycle that I could ride as well a passenger vehicle and driver.  The inspector inspected both vehicles/driver credentials and then got in the passenger vehicle with my provided driver.  I had leave the facility and go out into traffic, listening for the vehicle I provided to blow the horn to initiate a turn (one honk - turn left, two honks - turn right, or vice versa - it's been awhile).  The chase vehicle followed with the inspector who decided if I passed the test.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was the first one to take the test back in the 60's. Had been riding for a while and the state decided you should pass a test to qualify to operate a bike on the roadways of Missouri. When I went to take the test the instructor had no idea what I was suppose to do and neither did I. So, he had me ride around in circles and do some figure 8's. Then see how closely I could stop to a white line. He actually asked me what I thought should be part of the test so I gave him some ideas.

Now on the PD back in the day, the final test was this, you had to reach a speed of 100mph, lock up, stay up, and see how close you could get to a brick wall without crashing into it. Always some interesting results none to say.:o

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Pinellas County, Florida the test is somewhat different. You must avoid a 90 year old turning in front of you while riding a wheelie @ 90 mph. Safe driver certificate for jumping at least 2 cars on the Howard Franklin bridge at 5:30 pm.

Edited by Cypress Sun
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I took my motorcycle riding test in Georgia, the Driving Examiner told me to ride my bike around the block on city streets.  He could see me for the 1st 50 yards and the last 100 yards.  Since I used my turn signals and successfully made it around the block without crashing, I passed the test.  Some things just shouldn't be made complicated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in Ottawa, MTO testers make you drive the Queensway, through the centre of town, at 5:00 PM, when all the Government workers are trying to get home, the heavy trucks c/w floats carrying construction equipment decide to move to a new location and Great Aunt Tilley decides to come home from shopping and forgets her exit.

You must drive and survive the trip, on the same motorcycle, riding from Leitrim Road, in the south end to the Carp Road exit in the North, in under 60 minutes.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In CA the DMV has a course laid out with lines painted on a large lot. One can even go there on the weekend and practice. Not every DMV has this but most do.

 

In Oregon I had to take an Intermediate Motorcycle Safety Course at the community College. When I passed it I got my license upgraded to include motorcycles. 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

In CA the DMV has a course laid out with lines painted on a large lot. One can even go there on the weekend and practice. Not every DMV has this but most do.

 You can also take the course and bypass the riding test.

 

The difficulty with the ca (NC ca) test was that BOTH tires had to stay within the painted lines. This was extremely difficult with large cruisers so there was a side business where you could rent small M/C's to take the test.

 

As an aside, our M/C club went to the DMV parking lot one Sunday on a ride back in the 90's and everyone tried to complete the course on their Harley. I was the only one that could do it (on a full size FXR).:D

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 You can also take the course and bypass the riding test.

 

The difficulty with the ca (NC ca) test was that BOTH tires had to stay within the painted lines. This was extremely difficult with large cruisers so there was a side business where you could rent small M/C's to take the test.

 

As an aside, our M/C club went to the DMV parking lot one Sunday on a ride back in the 90's and everyone tried to complete the course on their Harley. I was the only one that could do it (on a full size FXR).:D

Years ago I had a Suzuki DR 650 dual sport. My friend borrowed it to pass his test. Then another friend did the same when I recommended it. He made two attempts then borrowed my “f’ing rice burner”. Hahaha…I know it irked him something awful to ride that bike. It was glorious to watch. :lol:

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Years ago I had a Suzuki DR 650 dual sport. My friend borrowed it to pass his test. Then another friend did the same when I recommended it. He made two attempts then borrowed my “f’ing rice burner”. Hahaha…I know it irked him something awful to ride that bike. It was glorious to watch. :lol:

 

Did it the first time in 1976 on a Honda 750. That was not easy!

 

IIRC, the course was between cones then, not painted lines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 

Did it the first time in 1976 on a Honda 750. That was not easy!

 

IIRC, the course was between cones then, not painted lines.

I did it on a Yamaha 550 Seca. Easy. 
 

In Oregon I used a Suzuki 250. It was part of the safety course I took. Everyone that took the course ride their bikes except for one guy who insisted on using his Harley Sportster. He did okay but there was a lot of low speed maneuvering and idling. Hard on an air cooled engine. 

Edited by Pat Riot, SASS #13748
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Alpo said:

I assume there is one.

 

When I took my driver's license driving test, The examiner was sitting in the passenger seat. He could watch what I was doing. But if I'm taking a motorcycle license exam, how do they tell if I know how to ride? Put an examiner on another bike next to me and we ride together? If he's watching me he's not watching the road. That ain't safe. And how could he tell me what to do - turn right at the next corner, parallel park, do a three-point turn?

 

 

That is easy they attach a sidecar on the right...Then tell you what and where to go...If the test is not going your way...Pull the pin and dump it...Try another day....

 

Texas Lizard

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 You can also take the course and bypass the riding test.

 

The difficulty with the ca (NC ca) test was that BOTH tires had to stay within the painted lines. This was extremely difficult with large cruisers so there was a side business where you could rent small M/C's to take the test.

 

As an aside, our M/C club went to the DMV parking lot one Sunday on a ride back in the 90's and everyone tried to complete the course on their Harley. I was the only one that could do it (on a full size FXR).:D

The motorcycle class was taught at the city park.  We'd roll in there as a group and run through the painted lines.  The Trail 110 was the easiest I tried.  The Spyder RT didn't fit between the lines, must be a different test for that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I got my bike I took the written test and was given a learners permit. In lieu of the riding test at the DMV I could take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) 2 day course. Because the military required me to take the  MSF course anyway I rode on my learners permit till I could take the MSF course.  It was a lot of fun going from a Heritage Softail to the little light weigh 125s that the course used. 

 

Our instructor was retired CHP MC cop and to show everyone how easy the DMV course was he had the class set up the cones and them he rode it on a fully dressed out Harley. By the end of the class everyone could pass the DMV course. 

 

I also took the MSF advanced course 9 months later as I got a break on my insurance.  It requires you to accomplish the riding on your bike and not theirs. First day was spent in the classroom till noon and them out on the course for exercises. Second day we did a few more exercises and then took a ride test similar to the DMV course. Then we went for a 3 hour group ride.

 

All in all the MSF courses should be mandatory for all new riders.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

All in all the MSF courses should be mandatory for all new riders.

I agree to an extent - the MSF courses (or equivalent) need to include some real road riding and not just parking lots.

 

There are training courses available that do this this, but they are few and far between and not accepted like MSF.

 

I do not believe we should do a tiered licensing system and I don't believe that MSF (or equivalent) should be mandatory.

 

I do wish people more people would get basic rider training (at least) and advanced rider training as available, but I wish more people would take a drivers ed class before getting their regular license.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

took mine pre 70 on a small honda borrowed from a friend , my triumph would have been difficult to get through it back then , i cant imagine running a harley through it , 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Florida previously didn't require a special endorsement for m/c -- if you had a license, you could ride.

 

When the state began requiring an endorsement, they had a year-long grandfathering period. If you rode into the license agency on a m/c, you got the endorsement.

 

As luck would have it, I was stationed out of state for that year, and even had to go through the same riding test to ride on the California USAF base where I was stationed. On coming back, I tried to get the endorsement without the test based on being out of state during the grandfathering period. No deal. Then I proved I had already passed the same test the state required. Tough.

 

10 years of documentable riding didn't matter (yes, you can document riding experience -- over the years, a couple of state troopers and a county sheriff's deputy helped make that possible ;)). Wound up having to go through the basic course and the riding test anyway. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I do wish people more people would get basic rider training (at least) and advanced rider training as available, but I wish more people would take a drivers ed class before getting their regular license.

I agree. It’s funny, when I moved to Oregon the law had been changed that everyone that wanted a motorcycle endorsement had to take a motorcycle safety course at one of the community colleges. I had let mine lapse after I left CA in 2005. (Long story)

Anyway, everyone in my age group had to take the beginner course if no experience or the intermediate course if one had experience. 
I felt I had been riding long enough (years) and this was a waste of my time but there really was no way around it. And I couldn’t keep riding “illegally” - which I did for years. :rolleyes:

So, begrudgingly, I “wasted” a Saturday on this course…or so as thought at first. 
That was the very best thing I did for myself in regards to riding motorcycles. They showed me some of my bad habits, which I have corrected and I learned some tips that have been very helpful. 
 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago in CA, circa 1967, I got lucky.
At the time, I had an extended Harley chopper.
DMV said, "accelerate in the parking lot and shift into 2nd gear."
Right.

"Weave in and out of those cones."
Right.

"Did you ride that thing down here?"
"Yep"
"That's good enough"

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Iowa has a parking lot test.  The hardest part is making a 180deg turn inside a box between 15 and 20 ft depending on the size of the bike.  Most big bikes simply won’t turn that sharp, let alone do it at walking speed.  Usually local shops have loaner scooter for passing the test.  Much easier.  
 

In reality it’s a useless test as anyone at those speeds would simply paddle along to make the turn.   It shows nothing about bike handling at speeds you would actually ride.   Due to how the test works you take it on the smallest bike possible to make it easier. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took my test in small town Wisconsin.  Had to take a written test to get a temp license.  There was no requirement to take a test after that but with out the full license, you couldn't legally, have a passenger with you or ride without a helmet (legal in Wisconsin).  I've been riding dirt bikes, trail bikes, mini bikes since I was a yonker.  Took my test on a Honda Rebel (250). Think of a Sportster down scaled.  Fun little bike to ride.  They gave me a set of ear buds to wear inside my helmet attached to a one way radio.  He could talk, I could hear.  He then instructed me to drive around town while he followed me so he could observe my driving.  The only thing he criticized me on was when instructed to make a U turn, I slowed, started to turn and slid my inside foot on the pavement.  When he pointed this out I told him it was force of habit from riding dirt bikes.  He nodded understandingly and then gave me my license.

 

I sold that bike shortly after I sold my horses.  Too many hobbies and I liked CAS better.  I bought a Boxster to replace it.  I can put the top down, feel the wind in my hair, put the top up if it rains, gets too cold of sun gets too hot.  I don't have to worry about tipping over either.  Sold the bike more than 20 years ago.  No burning desire to get another.  Wouldn't mind a dirt bike to ride my trails in the woods though.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:

Iowa has a parking lot test.  The hardest part is making a 180deg turn inside a box between 15 and 20 ft depending on the size of the bike.  Most big bikes simply won’t turn that sharp, let alone do it at walking speed.  Usually local shops have loaner scooter for passing the test.  Much easier.  
 

In reality it’s a useless test as anyone at those speeds would simply paddle along to make the turn.   It shows nothing about bike handling at speeds you would actually ride.   Due to how the test works you take it on the smallest bike possible to make it easier. 

The military will allow the basic riders course to be taken on your personal motorcycle or a loaner motorcycle (usually a 250cc model) when available.

 

The advanced rider course must be taken on your personal motorcycle.

 

I disagree with the u-turn being a useless test.  I believe that low speed balance and handling are the basis for advanced/faster control and evasive maneuvers.

 

I laugh when I hear someone say "I had to lay it down because...." - the truth is the rider laid it down because they weren't paying attention and/or they didn't know how to perform an evasive maneuver.  The same rider probably can't perform a u-turn, either, and thinks basic riders courses are a waste of time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chief Rick said:

I laugh when I hear someone say "I had to lay it down because...." - the truth is the rider laid it down because they weren't paying attention and/or they didn't know how to perform an evasive maneuver.  The same rider probably can't perform a u-turn, either, and thinks basic riders courses are a waste of time.

 +1000!!!!!B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I first got my license, I was 14 and a half years old. You could ride anything up to 650cc.  I did the written test for car/trucks and then took the motorcycle written test. Back in 1967 you could get a provisional driver’s license if you could show a need. I drove my mom’s big ol’ ‘64 Caddy from the car portion of the test with an examiner in the passenger seat. It was January and bitter cold.  For the riding portion, the examiner stood inside the glass doors and had me ride around the block. She could see me for a half a block, out to a traffic light. After that, she could see me the other half of that block, which involved stopping at a stop sign and then making a right turn and coming to a stop in a designated parallel parking space.

 

 I did it all in one day.

 

As an interesting aside, when I married Schoolmarm, we moved to Georgia. When I applied for my license transfer, the motorcycle license allowed one to drive busses and straight trucks.  I only had to take the test for semi-trucks, (pre CDL) and I was qualified to drive any vehicle at all except an explosives truck!

 

 

 

Edited by Blackwater 53393
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In England, one has to go thru several "levels" of "Learner" which are displacement limited for safety.  Once you have satisfied the levels requirement, you take written test.  If you pass the written, you then have to take a "Pursuit" test where the examiner rides their bake behind yours.  You have to obey all traffic laws and at all times show progress in which case lane splitting is considered appropriate and a requirement.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

The military will allow the basic riders course to be taken on your personal motorcycle or a loaner motorcycle (usually a 250cc model) when available.

 

The advanced rider course must be taken on your personal motorcycle.

 

I disagree with the u-turn being a useless test.  I believe that low speed balance and handling are the basis for advanced/faster control and evasive maneuvers.

 

I laugh when I hear someone say "I had to lay it down because...." - the truth is the rider laid it down because they weren't paying attention and/or they didn't know how to perform an evasive maneuver.  The same rider probably can't perform a u-turn, either, and thinks basic riders courses are a waste of time.


Imho low speed balance and high speed cornering are two different skills.  Having been a expert level road racer and then later a novice trials rider, they are not the same skill.  Do they compliment each other, yes, but you can do one without the other.   Taking up trials riding after 20+ years of road racing and enduros showed that there were still skills I had not learned or mastered.  
high speed changes in direction are all about counter steering which doesn’t even work at less than about 30 mph.  I think this is what gets most people in trouble, they simply don’t know what it takes to really turn a motorcycle at speed. Where your weight is when you are going fast has little effect.  Instead it’s about how hard you push on the inside bar and how quickly you can get the bike to lean.   Keith code did the truth bike which had a set of fixed handlebars and would let people try turning the bike with weight alone.  It doesn’t work well once you are at highway speeds.   You can turn, just not quickly.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Still hand Bill said:


Imho low speed balance and high speed cornering are two different skills.  ... Do they compliment each other, yes, but you can do one without the other.   

My point exactly - not useless.

 

And a rider should know the difference and when to use each appropriately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have noted that most novice riders become comfortable and begint to ride smoothly and safely when they accept the idea that you push the handlebar that’s on the side you want to turn to.  Many beginner courses fail to properly explain this and some don’t explain it at all!!  I refer to it as “GYROING” to explain it!!  They didn’t teach Schoolmarm about it when she took the course, ( I got my license in 1967, looooong before motorcycle safety courses were ever thought of!!) and they didn’t have facilities to let new potential riders reach speeds where the effect begins to take place.  When she began riding her own motorcycle, (a Sportster) she was convinced it was just too big for her, until she explained in detail what was giving her problems.  When she did explain, I walked over to her bike, pointed at the 21” front wheel and tire combination, and said just one word, “Gyroscope!”

 

She taught science in school and this amazed look appeared on he face, followed by one of puzzlement.  Then I explained how it worked in this case and sent her out on our back roads to investigate!  At first it seemed counterintuitive to her, but after about an hour, she returned with a big “jackass eatin’ sawbriars” grin on her face and her skill and comfort level improved exponentially from there!

 

Most non riders have no inkling of the phenomenon.  Mention it without an explanation and they’ll have no clue.  I should mention that the back wheel is a gyro too!  The two wheels in concert are what create the effect.  A single wheel would probably be nearly uncontrollable, directionally, at highway speeds.

 

Conventional “trikes” dont steer this way and the effort required to change direction is higher.  I’ve wondered if the fact that a trike isn’t capable of leaning is the reason or if it’s the two rear wheels gyroing that causes this!  Never rode a bike with a sidecar or a hack so I can’t speak to how they work!!

 

NOTE! I often wonder about those first motorcyclists and how long it took them to adapt to this particular quirk of the machine!! :rolleyes: :lol:


 


 

 

 

Edited by Blackwater 53393
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a Honda 500 about 30 years ago. I took a written test and was only allowed to ride during the day, had to wear a helmet (no helmet law then in Ohio) and couldn't have passengers. It was good for one year. After a year I sold the bike and never rode again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/16/2021 at 6:24 PM, Chief Rick said:

The military will allow the basic riders course to be taken on your personal motorcycle or a loaner motorcycle (usually a 250cc model) when available.

 

The advanced rider course must be taken on your personal motorcycle.

 

I disagree with the u-turn being a useless test.  I believe that low speed balance and handling are the basis for advanced/faster control and evasive maneuvers.

 

I laugh when I hear someone say "I had to lay it down because...." - the truth is the rider laid it down because they weren't paying attention and/or they didn't know how to perform an evasive maneuver.  The same rider probably can't perform a u-turn, either, and thinks basic riders courses are a waste of time.

 

Illinois offers those courses for free and they have long waiting lists.  I tried for a long time to get into one and never had any luck.  Even after I passed the test, which involved that low speed u turn on a pretty high center of gravity 500+ pound motorcycle, I gained a lot more skills through years of riding.  I'm sure there are people who ride for a long time and don't learn how to do aggressive maneuvers like you're talking about, but I've also seen speed as a major factor in crashes.

 

People think the #1 motorcycle crash is someone turning left in front of the motorcycle, but it isn't.  The #1 crash is overshooting a turn.  Interestingly.....they never seem to be people losing the front wheel because they leaned too hard.  It always seems to be people who were too chicken to countersteer enough to get the bike to lean and turn!

 

That said, the video above of those police type motorcycle courses.....I can ride a 1000 pound touring bike pretty well but I would really struggle to turn one in a u turn that tight with the bars almost all the way to the steering stop at that speed.  That is really tough.

 

On 7/17/2021 at 8:01 AM, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

In England, one has to go thru several "levels" of "Learner" which are displacement limited for safety.  Once you have satisfied the levels requirement, you take written test.  If you pass the written, you then have to take a "Pursuit" test where the examiner rides their bake behind yours.  You have to obey all traffic laws and at all times show progress in which case lane splitting is considered appropriate and a requirement.

 

If we had that here, I probably would have never even bothered with a street motorcycle.  A 250cc motorcycle might be fine in England, but it'd be miserable here except for around town, and for that, I'm plenty happy just riding a bicycle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.