Motorcycle licence – Tips to pass it on your first attempt
You decided to get your motorcycle licence, and you are searching for tips, how to pass it on your first attempt successfully?
Look no further for motorcycle licence tips. I will not bother you with »Read the motorcyclist handbook for your state’s motor vehicle agency and get your CBT«… and so on… You already know all of this.
I will give you some tips on how to master and get more confident on the motorcycle. And, how to learn some basic tricks that will help you pass the final motorcycle licence ride.
Not only that, but you will also be able to transfer this knowledge even further on, to build up your experience quicker and more efficiently.
What matters the most is that you will become confident, safer and dominant on the road.
#1 STEPS TOWARDS GETTING YOUR MOTORCYCLE LICENCE
For those who don’t know the process already, take a look at the brochure from Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency on THIS LINK
Whether you are applying for the AM category, A1, A2, or A, the infographics will guide you through all the steps. (The brochure applies to the UK, but it is very similar in other countries as well. However, I advise you to check the whole procedure in your own country).
The fact is you will need to study the traffic rules for the exam to pass it. And all the bureaucracy behind it will not be something I will talk about here since it varies from country to country. I’m sure you will not have any trouble finding this information.
I will try to give you some advice that might help you control your motorcycle on the practical part. And also help you to feel more confident and to upgrade your skills faster.
#2 THE REAL PRACTICE BEGINS WITH THE PRACTICAL TEST FOR THE MOTORCYCLE LICENCE
Finally, the day has come. You have mastered the theory, passed the theoretical exams, and applied and paid all the fees for the practical test for your motorcycle licence.
You are now with your motorcycle instructor. Together you will check the motorcycle, so you will know what the most important things are to check before every ride for the rest of riding career.
Important things to check on your motorcycle before every ride
Engine oil and brake fluid level
You will check the oil level in the engine on the transparent cover on the engine cover. The second thing you will check is the brake fluid level. You will need to find the reservoir on the handlebar for the front brakes and another reservoir in the back of the motorcycle for the rear brake.
In most cases the reservoirs for front and rear brakes are separate, but you may find some motorcycle models that have only one brake fluid reservoir.
OK, you are done checking the oil and braking fluids. Now you need to check the motorcycle chain. The chain must be clean and lubed properly. Another thing you need to check is that your motorcycle chain is not too loose or too tight. Check your user manual for the correct amount of drive-chain slack. But for a quick check, if it moves up and down for the width of three fingers, (30-40mm), then you are on the safe side.
It is essential to take care of your motorcycle chain to prolong its lifespan and to prevent it from breaking during a motorcycle ride.
Brake pads and brake discs
While you are already on your knees, check the brake pads and the disks. The brake pads should have enough friction lining left. Check the brake discs also. If they are damaged, warped or worn down, you should consider to replace them as well.
The next thing to check are the tires on your motorcycle. You should check the tire pressure and if the tires are damaged. If you want to know more about the marks on motorcycle tires, check our Motorcycle tires infographics on THIS LINK.
The last thing to check is all the lights on your motorcycle. You check if your headlamp, passing light, tail light and all four turn-signals are working. You also press both brake levers to see if both brake lights engage with both levers.
All of the security checks above are now confirmed and ready to jump on that motorcycle. Well, not just yet. Before you start, your instructor will ask you to push the motorcycle between few traffic cones. However, this is just to confirm that you can handle the motorcycle when you are standing next to it.
#3 START THE ENGINE, IT IS TIME TO LEARN HOW TO RIDE
You will start on a training ground where there is no other traffic. First, you will learn to control the clutch, learn how to shift gears and how to brake. In other words, how to control the motorcycle itself.
Your instructor will prepare several different exercises. The slow ride between traffic cones at approximately the walking speed is hard at the beginning. Also, the turn from a stop, the U-turn and the obstacle swerve.
But how to master it quicker?
Beginner riders often make the following mistakes:
First, they focus only on the piece of the road right in front of their front wheel… Hold your head higher and look further down to where you are going. It will help you to control the vehicle towards your goal better.
Another thing new riders tend to do is they hold the handlebars too strong. That makes their upper body stiff in the riding position. In this way, you have to battle against the movement of the motorcycle.
You can improve that very quickly. Loosen your upper body and relax in your hands. Hold the motorcycle tight with your knees and embrace the movement of the motorcycle with your hips.
You will soon get the feeling how much easier it is to control the vehicle with your hips. You are not manoeuvring the motorcycle only with your handlebar.
Where to look when you are turning your motorcycle
Want to impress your motorcycle licence instructor and show him you are in control of your motorcycle and confident manoeuvring it? Again, look ahead, not in front of your front wheel.
The motorcycle will go where you are looking. Even when making a U-Turn, turn your head through the turn, not only the apex. The same goes when avoiding the obstacles. Turn your head towards the way out, not the obstacle itself, and the motorcycle will follow.
Take time to master this technic. It will pay off not only during the motorcycle licence course but also throughout your entire riding career.
Time to hit the traffic
When you mastered controlling the motorcycle, you will continue your motorcycle licence practice in real traffic. The first thing that your instructor should teach you is that you are equal to any other vehicle. And act like that.
A lot of beginner riders make a mistake and hide on the side of the road. That is wrong. Dominate your space on the road, clearly communicate your intentions, look as far ahead as possible and observe your surroundings.
Don’t fixate only to the vehicle in front of you. The broader your observations are, the better you will be at anticipating several situations that might occur in traffic.
Not only your motorcycle instructor will notice that you are confident on the road, but it will also make you safer and a better rider in general. Also, when you are doing your final motorcycle licence ride, you will impress the »judges« if you dominate.
#4 MASTER THE OSM PSL ROUTINE
Have you ever heard of the OSM PSL Routine? It stands for Observation, Signal, Manoeuvre, Position, Speed, Look:
O – Observation – Check the position of the following traffic using your mirrors and check the blind spots by looking over your shoulder when it’s safe to do so.
S – Signal – If necessary, signal your intention to change course or speed. Signal clearly and in good time. And after you made the turn, make sure you cancel your indicators.
M – Manoeuvre – Carry out the manoeuvre if it is safe to do so. Adjust your position and speed and take the turn.
The manoeuvre has three parts
P – Position – Get into the correct position in good time. This helps other road users to see what you intend to do, so try to be obvious as much as possible.
S – Speed – Slow down as you approach a hazard or an intersection. Enter with the speed that will allow you to react if needed.
L – Look – Keep looking to assess all possible dangers. You need to know the traffic situation behind as well as in front.
The OSM PSL routine is essential, not only while getting your motorcycle licence but also during your whole riding career. But since we are talking about getting the motorcycle licence, I have one more advice for you at this point.
When you have your final ride for your motorcycle licence, the instructor that is evaluating your ride usually follows in a car behind you. Some things are hard to for him to see.
Therefore, when you take a look at your mirrors, exaggerate the turning of your head a bit, so it will be evident for the instructor that is evaluating your ride.
Before you take a turn, check your surroundings and indicate in a timely manner. Just before you make the turn, check your surroundings for any cyclists, pedestrians and other traffic occupants again.
Observation and anticipation is the key to keep yourself safe.
Stay focused, make sure you cancel your indicators after you completed the turn. You can get your self-cancelling turn signal module anytime in your riding career.
But when you are doing your motorcycle licence, you will have to prove you can operate the indicators manually.
YOU MADE IT, CONGRATULATIONS!!! NOW YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO BECOME A RIDER
I’m sure this little extra advice can help you get your motorcycle licence successfully. Keep in mind, that a motorcycle is not a toy and riding it comes with responsibilities. Choose the right beginner motorcycle and take it slowly.
Take care of your own safety and safety of others as well. Every beginner rider has to take enough time to develop his riding skills and upgrade them throughout the whole riding career.
Also, learn the motorcycle hand-signals. It will help you communicate with other riders. You do not need to search for them, you can download the brochure Essential motorcycle hand-signals HERE.
Every experienced rider will tell you that the learning process never stops. So, if you got your motorcycle licence, that doesn’t mean you know it all. Far from that.
Possessing the motorcycle licence is only the basic knowledge that allows you to operate such a vehicle. Only now your journey to becoming a real rider begins. And in reality, you only yet started.
Enjoy the journey and keep it safe!!