Riders often ask about how they can practice their skills outside of a STAR class. This is a great idea, as regular practice will help you to keep your skills sharp and your riding smooth. Below are some tools for you to go out and do that. We have some practice tips for newer riders as well as some for more advanced riders.
NOTE: For anyone going out to practice, please attend to these safety tips.
- Look for a safe place away from traffic. Parking lots during ‘off hours’ may be a good place to look.
- Someone owns that property – it’s your responsibility to get permission to use it.
- Be courteous and aware of others who may be in the area (cars, trucks, pedestrians, children, etc.)
- Check the area for debris, gravel, dirt, oil, etc. You don’t want you tires to slide while you are practicing.
- We encourage you to wear good protective gear (yes, falls do happen sometimes in parking lots). A helmet, jacket, gloves, sturdy pants, and boots are highly recommended.
For Newer Riders:
These four videos were produced by the Washington state Department of Licensing and show the skills test that is required for riders to earn their motorcycle endorsement (we use this test in Idaho). These videos will help you develop the skills you need to pass that test and will also help you in a variety of traffic situations. Do not attempt these exercises unless you can already perform basic skills such as using the clutch and throttle, shifting, and riding in a straight line. If you do not have these basic skills, be sure to seek instruction before practicing the skills in this guide. Of course, the best place to learn to ride is in an Idaho STAR Course. Call us at 1-888-280-7827 or click HERE to learn about our courses.
Video 1 – Sharp Turn and Normal Stop
This exercise measures your ability to turn your motorcycle 90 degrees and then smoothly stop at a specified point. The ability to make turns (and stay in your lane while doing it) as well as placing the motorcycle where you want it are skills used in everyday riding.
Video 2 – Cone Weave and U-Turn
Weaving and making a U-turn requires you to use more than one control at the same time (for example – throttle and clutch) while using your head and eyes for directional control (turning your head and looking where you want to go). These skills are essential to successful traffic management and motorcycle control.
Video 3 – Quick Stop
This exercise measures your ability to squeeze the front brake firmly, smoothly, with increasing pressure, and without skidding. Many experienced riders either avoid or are too gentle with the front brake – it turns out that when used properly, the front brake provides the majority of your stopping power. When you have the ability to stop in the shortest distance, you can avoid many potential crashes.
Video 4 – Swerve/Obstacle Turn
This exercise measures you ability to make a ‘quick lane change’ (also called a ‘swerve’ or an ‘obstacle turn’). Many riders mistakenly believe that you should lean your body to cause the bike to lean – instead, press forward on the right handgrip to go right; press forward on the left handgrip to go left.
For More Advanced Riders
Here is a practice guide for more experienced riders and those with more advanced skills. Before attempting these exercises, you should be comfortable and confident with the skills in the videos above.
Click HERE for the practice guide.