Texas Motorcycle Manual | Texas Motorcycle Handbook

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    Revised June 2014

    STRANDED MOTORISTS

    NEED HELP?

    CALL 1-800-525-5555

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    This Motorcycle Operators Manual has been prepared in cooperationwith the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Within these pages arenumerous instructions, suggestions, and tips that, if followed, will

    prepare anyone for a lifetime of enjoyable motorcycling.

    In recent years motorcycle safety has received a great deal of attention.This is the result of many serious injuries and deaths of motorcyclists inmotor vehicle traffic accidents. This handbook was prepared to assistthe beginning motorcyclist in passing the required written examination.In addition, this manual serves to refresh and therefore, improve theexperienced rider.

    Although comprehensive, this handbook does not include all lawsregulating traffic on the streets and highways. The Department ofPublic Safety strongly recommends reviewing the references to themotor vehicle statutes and local ordinances in order to gain a betterknowledge of motor vehicle laws.

    NOTICE: The Texas Department of Public Safety does notdiscriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, nationalorigin, age, or disability. Persons needing accommodationunder the provisions of the Americans With DisabilitiesAct (ADA) should contact their local Driver License Office.ADA Grievance Procedures are published in the TexasAdministrative Code, Title 37, Section 1.41.

    PREFACE

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    Motorcycling is an enjoyable driving experience. Althoughmotorcycling may look easy, in reality, it is quite challenging andrequires special attention, knowledge, and skills beyond thoserequired to drive a car. Too often motorcyclists suffer severe injuryor even death as a result of a crash that could have been avoided.

    Primarily designed for new riders, I highly encourage you toread and study this information in preparation for your licensingexamination to better protect you from serious injury. I believethat you will be a safer motorcyclist if you follow the guidance

    and suggestions outlined in this document.

    While the handbook is geared toward the beginner motorcyclist,experienced riders will also benefit from a review of thisdocument.

    Establishing safe riding habits early in your motorcycling careerwill undoubtedly, yield years of enjoyment.

    Steven C. McCraw, DirectorDepartment of Public Safety

    A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THETEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

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    THE RIDER AND

    THE MOTORCYCLE............................1

    RIDING TEXAS HIGHWAYS............2

    DISABLED PARKING ..........................6

    PREPARING TO RIDE

    Wear the Right Gear ............................7

    Know Your Motorcycle .........................9

    Know Your Responsibilities ................12

    RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES

    Basic Vehicle Control ..........................13

    Keeping Your Distance .......................17

    SEE .......................................................22

    Intersections ........................................23

    Increasing Conspicuity ........................26

    Crash Avoidance .................................29

    Handling Dangerous Surfaces ............32

    Mechanical Problems ..........................35

    Animals ................................................36

    Flying Objects ......................................37

    Getting Off the Road .........................37

    Carrying Passengers

    and Cargo .......................................37

    Group Riding .......................................40

    BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE

    Why This Information IsImportant .......................................44

    Alcohol and Drugs inMotorcycle Operation ....................44

    Alcohol in the Body ............................44

    Alcohol and the Law ..........................46

    Minimize the Risks ..............................47

    Step in to Protect Friends ...................47

    Fatigue ................................................48

    EARNING YOUR LICENSE.............49

    THREE-WHEEL SUPPLEMENT

    Supplementary Informationfor Three-Wheel Motorcycles .........51

    Know Your Vehicle ..............................51

    Basic Vehicle Control ...........................53

    Carrying Passengers and Cargo ..........56

    T-CLOCS PRE-RIDE CHECKLIST...57

    HAND SIGNALS.................................58

    FREQUENTLY ASKED

    QUESTIONS ........................................60

    CONTENTS

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    Motorcycling is a unique experience.Compared to a car, you do not sit in amotorcycle, you become part of it. Notas a passive driver, but as an active riderarcing into a string of smooth corners,playing along with the rhythm of theroad; shifting, accelerating, and brakingwith precision. Whether you ride to andfrom work or prefer the camaraderie of

    a group ride on the weekend, motorcy-cling engages all your senses and cre-ates an invigorating sense of freedom.

    Along with that freedom comesresponsibility. All states require someform of license endorsement demon-strating you possess a minimum levelof skill and knowledge. This bookletand other motorcycle publications can

    help prepare you to be successful. Youmight also consider taking a formalhands-on training course, even if yourstate doesnt require that you completeone. You will learn how to improve yourriding skills and mental strategies, soyou can be a safer, more alert 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 the eyesand mind as it is of the hands and feet.

    Successfully piloting a motorcycle is amuch more involved task than driv-ing a car. Motorcycling requires a fine

    sense of balance and a heightenedsense of awareness and position amidstother roadway users. A motorcycleresponds more quickly to rider inputsthan a car, but is also more sensitiveto outside forces, like irregular roadsurfaces or crosswinds. A motorcycleis also less visible than a car due toits narrower profile, and offers far

    less protection by exposing its riderto other traffic and the elements. Allthese risks can be managed throughstudy, training, and practice.

    THE RIDER AND THE MOTORCYCLE

    RIDING ENVIRONMENT

    1

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    Motorcycling is very popular inTexas. Before you take the roadtest it is critical that you know theTexas laws governing motorcycles,

    and the common sense safety rules.If you have ever riddena motorcycle,you may know that a motorcycle onlylooks easy to ride. Motorcycles aredifferent from other vehiclesonly twowheels place more demand on theoperator for balance and coordination.The motorcycles smaller size makes itharder for others to see it in traffic andthe rider more vulnerable to injury ina crash. Riding a motorcycle requiresspecial skills and knowledge beyondthose required for driving a car.

    On todays highways, there are largenumbers of motorcycle riders and aneven larger number of automobiledrivers who do not understand how

    to safely mix in traffic. This lack ofknowledge has resulted in an increasein motorcycle-related crashes. Thekey to safety is understanding andlearning how to share the roadway.

    Knowing all you can about the mo-torcycleyou ride, or intend to ride, isgood preparation for safe and enjoyableriding. Learning to ride off the street

    in The Course for Motorcycle Ridersis good insurance. When you take tothe road, you will be able to concen-trate on the traffic because controlof the motorcycle becomes secondnature with the proper instruction.

    There are plenty of things on thehighway that can cause you trouble.

    Your motorcycle should not be oneof them. Three ways to be sure yourmotorcycle wont let you down are:

    Make sure you start with the rightequipment.

    Maintain your motorcycle and keep itin safe riding condition.

    Avoid add-ons and modicationsthat make your motorcycle harderto handle.

    EQUIPMENTTexas law requires the followingequipment on motorcycles andmotor-driven cycles:

    Horn Mirror

    Steering

    Brakes

    Tires

    Wheel Assembly

    Exhaust System

    Tail Lamp (1)

    Stop Lamp (1)

    License Plate Lamp

    Rear Red Reector

    Head Lamp (1)

    Motorcycle, Serial, or Vehicle

    IdentificationTexas law requires the followingequipment on mopeds:

    Brake

    Head Lamp

    Reector

    Rear Lamp

    These are just minimum requirements.To survive in traffic, you should havea mirror on each side. It is also a goodidea to have additional reectors onthe motorcycle.

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    RIDING TEXAS HIGHWAYS

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    Motorcycles manufactured after 1975must be ridden with the headlight on.

    Helmet and Passengers Helmetsmeeting Federal Motor Vehicle

    Safety Standard #218 (FMVSS-218) arerequired for motorcycle operators andpassengers. This requirement appliesto all motorcycles and mopeds regard-less of size or number of wheels.

    Persons 21 years or older are exemptfrom wearing a helmet if they havecompleted a Department-approved

    Motorcycle Operator Training Course orthey are covered with medical insur-ance. (Proof of medical