California Motorcycle & Automobile Riding & Driving & Written Tests

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by pinbob, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. pinbob

    pinbob Guest

    I would like to collect in one place for a friend and all new friends out
    there the very hidden California DMV motorcycle and driving tests,
    completely and fairly.

    As you all know, the California Motorcycle Riding Test is nearly impossible
    to pass when done on your own (everyone passes when they are the sole judge
    but almost everyone on a big bike fails because the test is well known to
    be ridiculous and only for the purpose of funneling money to the MSF
    "BasicRider" class which is a scam in and of itself).

    Worse than being impossible, the California DMV absolutely REFUSES to tell
    you what the test is, even if you fail one of the four parts, they won't
    tell you what the next part is - and you only get three tries overall.

    So, the ONLY way to know what the text actually consists of is to get it

    Since the California DMV forbids you practicing the test, you'll need to
    draw this keyhole diagram on your driveway and then go around the lollipop
    with a car on each side which is a realistic rendition of what it's like on
    the DMV course.

    If anyone has a PHOTOGRAPH of the California course, please POST it!!!!!!

    There are only TWO known California RIDERS exams on the web so if you know
    of any others, please post them also.

    Good luck to all you new riders -- you're gonna need it!
    pinbob, Sep 6, 2007
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  2. pinbob

    pinbob Guest

    California Motorcycle License Skills Test
    by Stephen Green
    The purpose of this document is to explain the California motorcycle
    license skills test that is administered to those
    individuals applying for a motorcycle license who are over 18 and already
    have a Class C license. I am providing this
    information because I could not find a decent description of the test or
    the dimensions of the test pattern anywhere on the
    web. I felt that it was important to post this information for all to use
    in chalking out your own pattern to practice on.
    In all my worldly wisdom, I assumed that when I read the below text on the
    DMV's website that I would be given a route to
    ride my bike on city streets and the evaluator would follow me in a car and
    observe my turning, signaling and adherence to
    all of the items in the driver's handbook; much the same that the driving
    test for a Class C license is. I was sadly mistaken.
    When the evaluator led me over to the test pattern on my '06 Harley
    Sportster, I just about had a heart attack. I have a
    pretty good sized bike and this test pattern looked like it was designed
    for bi cycles and scooters. LOL. For all of you who
    plan to take this test, please read this document so that you will be
    For those of you over the age of 18, there are two ways that you may obtain
    a motorcycle license. Both of the below
    methods require that you also take the written test.
    1. Take the MSF course and present the certificate to the DMV counter. If
    you present this certificate, you will not be
    required to take the on-cycle test.
    2. If you don't want to take the MSF course, you can elect to have the DMV
    administer an on-cycle skills test.
    Before I get describe the on-cycle skills test and the test pattern, here
    is some information copied directly from the DMV's
    website on 4/15/06: There are two classes of motorcycle licenses, Class M1
    and Class M2.
    ? With a Class M1, you can operate any 2- wheel motorcycle and any
    motorized vehicle in Class M2.
    ? With a Class M2, you can only operate any motorized bicycle or moped or
    any bicycle with an attached motor.
    Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class
    M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to
    January 1, 2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to
    operate a motorized scooter.
    Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class
    M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to January 1,
    2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to operate a
    motorized scooter.
    A motorized scooter is defined as: A two-wheeled "device" powered by a
    motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand
    on when riding. The scooter may also have a driver 's seat.
    Refer to the Motorcycle Driver Handbook for more information.
    To apply for a motorcycle Class M1 or M2 permit, you will need to:
    ? Visit a DMV office (make an appointment for faster service)
    ? Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be
    submitted. Copies will not be accepted.)
    ? Give a thumb print
    ? Have your picture taken
    ? Pay the application fee
    ? Pass a vision exam
    ? Pass a traffic laws and signs test. You have three chances to pass the
    Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be
    administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.
    After studying both the California Driver and the Motorcycle Handbooks,
    call your local DMV to schedule your appointment
    for the traffic laws and sign test.
    After completing the requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit
    to allow you to practice driving a motorcycle.
    You may not drive at night, on the freeway, or have any passengers with
    To apply for your motorcycle Class M1 or M2 license, you must do one of the
    If you are under 21, you must complete a motorcycle rider training course
    given by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and
    provide a certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL 389) to DMV
    to be issued your license. You will not
    be required to take the motorcycle driving test at DMV if you currently
    have a
    California Drivers License.
    If you are over 21, you may either choose to complete the course by CHP and
    provide the certificate OR schedule an
    appointment at DMV to take the driving test. You have three chances to pass
    the test.
    For information about the CHP training course, please call 1-877-743-3411
    or visit
    After you have submitted your CHP certificate or passed your driving test,
    you will be issued an interim license valid for 60
    days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check
    your address before you leave DMV and tell the
    DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If
    you have not received your license after 60 days,
    call 1-800-777-0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license with
    you to provide information when requested."
    On to the good stuff:
    The two things that the evaluator told me that he was looking for while I
    rode the test pattern in the prescribed manner
    1. Keep your front wheel between the lanes, which are exactly 2'3" apart,
    throughout the exercise. He said that he wasn't
    as concerned about the back wheel as he was the front.
    2. DO NOT PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN! If you put your foot down, you will be
    automatically failed.
    Here is the order that you will ride the test pattern, and then what
    follows is a diagram of the pattern, complete with
    1. Enter the test pattern in lane 1 and when lane 1 meets with the circle,
    follow it in a counter-clockwise direction and go
    around the circle twice and exit in lane 2. Remember to keep your front
    tire between the 2'3" lane lines.
    2. For the second pass, you will begin by going around the first small
    circle between the two lanes on the right-hand side
    and weave through the remaining circles. This will lead you to going around
    the last small circle between the two lanes that
    is nearest the large circle on the right. After rounding that last small
    circle, you will enter the large circle traveling to the left
    and go around the circle in a clockwise manner, completing the circle twice
    and exiting in lane 1.
    That's it. This sounds much easier than it really is, even if you've been
    riding bikes for over ten years as I have. Some tips
    to remember are:
    1. If you have access to a bike that is light and small, use it for the
    test instead of your big ol' Harley like I did.
    3. Keep your head up and your eyes focused at least halfway around the
    circle from where you currently are. Remember
    that you go where you look when you ride a bike.
    4. Do not look at the painted lane lines. In keeping with item #3 above, if
    you look at the lines, you will drive on them, not
    between them.
    5. Use your clutch to control your speed and very little throttle. You can
    drag the rear brake to also help you keep balance
    and control speed, but this should be a fluid and smooth ride to help keep
    you balanced.
    6. Lean the bike while you stay mostly vertical. When making tight turns at
    slow speeds, it's usually easier to keep your
    balance by leaning the bike and not your body.
    7. If you think that you can do this without practice, I say good luck to
    you. It would be a good idea to use the following
    dimensions to chalk yourself out a practice area and give it a go before
    having an evaluator and a bunch of spectators
    watch you fumble through it for the first time.
    The test pattern and dimensions are on the next page. Good luck and keep
    your knees in the breeze and the shiny side up!
    August 2007 update from Weston:
    There was one minor surprise on my test day and that was that the test
    format has changed slightly. The new DMV test
    involves a first run in which the rider performs the cone weave, leading to
    two circles clockwise, and then exiting out to the
    right of the first cone and doing another cone weave. The second part of
    the test is to start in lane 1, complete two
    counterclockwise circles, and then exit in lane 2.
    It wasn't a total surprise to me being I had studied what you have posted
    in the pdf, but I figured you might be interested
    to know that the DMV has made that slight modification to their test
    pinbob, Sep 6, 2007
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  3. pinbob

    Bill Palmer Guest

    Bill Palmer, Sep 6, 2007
  4. pinbob

    Jim Benson Guest

    The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers 2 sample tests
    online, which will pop up a JavaScript box as you answer each question
    to tell you whether you got the answer right or wrong, and indicates
    which section of the manual you should consult for further

    [ ]
    [ ]

    Driver's offers a dozen different motorcycle tests. They
    aren't California specific, rather, they cover a range of information
    the site authors feel every motorcyclist should know. Each test is
    scored immediately after completion, and answers for further study are

    [ ]
    Jim Benson, Sep 6, 2007
  5. pinbob

    Timberwoof Guest

    Why do you think the MSF BasicRider class is a scam? How do you know?
    Have you taken it? Have you observed it? Have you asked people who took
    Hah. They forbid you practicing the test on their course. They cannot
    forbid you reproducing the track and practicing on your own.
    Why do you believe there are cars parked on either side?
    They could just take the MSF class...
    Timberwoof, Sep 6, 2007
  6. pinbob

    Rayvan Guest

    Not this thread again.

    I think it's a good way for the CA DMV to sort out the guys who can't
    handle their bikes!

    I had a newby friend say the same thing. He couldn't pass the keyhole
    test on his '85 NightHawk 650 and was cursing the DMV for "funneling
    money to the MSF blah, blah blah! He comes over came to borrow my old
    Trail 90. I told him "You don't need it." He disagreed and he bet me
    that his NightHawk was too big to pass the keyhole test. Couple days
    later I followed him down there on my Harley on a *Sunday morning.
    When we got there he was parking the NightHawk so I ride it, but I
    never got off the Softail. I simply completed the keyhole both
    directions on my bike (which was at least a foot longer than his
    NightHawk). After a long silence, he said "Well, I got some work to
    do." Lo and behold after about 20 minutes he could ride the keyhole on
    his NightHawk no problemo. The trick is to go just a bit faster and
    *lean* the thing. Bikes will turn tighter when leaned over a bit!

    *One can practice after hours if you need to. If it's fenced off, find
    another DMV (the S. San Jose course isn't closed off).
    Rayvan, Sep 6, 2007
  7. Through a slightly complicated set of circumstances, I took
    the MSF class but wound up having to take the CA DMV test.

    I passed on my first try. It's really not all that difficult.
    I have successfully ridden the keyhole on an EX500 and on a
    Nighthawk 700. I have every reason to believe that I could do
    it on my Sprint (a liter bike), though I haven't tried.

    And you can practice, as long as you do it after hours. I've
    done it myself, and been at the DMV with a friend while he
    practiced on my bike.

    The written test is quite easy. Just read the handbook and then
    take the test.

    Patti Beadles, Sep 6, 2007
  8. pinbob

    sqidbait Guest

    It's easy to practice the test. Just go to your local
    DMV on the weekend and try. Some sample photos I took
    a couple years ago for a similar thread in reeky:

    It's not hard. I can do it on my CBR without
    any problems.

    -- Michael

    BTW, I do NOT grant permission to host these photos
    on other websites. Actually, not true - if Timberwoof
    wants to include them on his FAQ page, that's cool
    with me.
    sqidbait, Sep 7, 2007
  9. pinbob

    Timberwoof Guest

    Oh! Thank you. :) I'll link to them and credit you. But I snagged 'em in
    case your site goes down.
    Timberwoof, Sep 7, 2007
  10. pinbob

    Timberwoof Guest

    Hah. They don't, after all, based on what others have written.
    Timberwoof, Sep 7, 2007
  11. pinbob

    sqidbait Guest

    You should probably just display them directly. I've been thinking
    about turfing that particular account.

    -- Michael
    sqidbait, Sep 7, 2007
  12. pinbob

    Jim Benson Guest

    Search the group for something like "california dmv test" and you'll see
    what I'm talking about.

    Again, the failure rate, I'm estimating from my observations, is somewhere
    in the range of 95% on bikes over a liter, given an impartial observer
    (everyone things they winged it when they get to be their own judge).

    It would be nice to choose a date and a place, and all riders show up with
    a hundred bucks cash, put it in the bucket, and whoever can pass the test
    on their first run in a liter sized road bike, takes the cash home.

    Does anyone wish to organize that?

    I'll bet your eyes and mouth would be agape at the results!
    Jim Benson, Sep 7, 2007
  13. pinbob

    Jim Benson Guest

    How does one do this?

    The difference? The difference would be the truth.

    Or does the truth mean nothing to you?
    Jim Benson, Sep 7, 2007
  14. pinbob

    Jim Benson Guest

    Bear in mind, we're not talking about an easy figure 8 here in California
    where there isn't even a painted line for you to stay within or the
    supremely easy u-turn box of the MSF where not only is the box astoundingly
    huge but you can miss by ten feet and still pass the course.

    No ...

    We're talking about a Ca dmv test where you won't know what it is going to
    be beforehand (unless you read this newsgroup), where you're not allowed to
    practice on the course for fear of being arrested, where you must enter and
    exit a 20 foot circle from both directions and from both a five-cone swerve
    and a 2 foot wide straight and where you can NEVER have EITHER wheel stray
    one quarter inch outside the painted lines you can't possibly even see so
    you have to guess and if you look "ahead", it's actually to your left or
    right by 90 degrees given the speed and radious, where you may have cars
    driving up and down on both sides of you (depending on the course and I've
    seen four at this point), where you can not put your foot down or touch any
    of the five cones, where you MUST circumnavigate two complete loops in each
    direction for a total of four loops, and where you MUST 100 percent of the
    time not make any mistakes whatsoever or you fail fail fail.

    While everyone's opinion is valid, if you haven't taken this test yourself
    on a liter sized bike, then you really can't know what you're talking

    It's like Norman said ... "Have you ever BEEN in a mine field?"
    Jim Benson, Sep 7, 2007
  15. pinbob

    Jim Benson Guest

    I agree with you P. Roehling.

    Let's be constructive and either organize a "contest" where everyone puts
    in 100 dollars and the first biker who genuinely passes the test gets to
    take the pot home .... or .... we figure out how to get the DMV to tell us
    the failure rates (which I'd guess to be in the very high nineties) for
    liter sized bikes.

    What do others think?
    Jim Benson, Sep 7, 2007
  16. pinbob

    Jim Newton Guest

    I think it's a great conversation! Keep up all the good opinions.

    As for facts, here is a test in progress although on a much smaller bike.

    Notice that cars can drive and park and pull out where the DMV tester is
    standing, right in the middle of the test. Try that for wrecking your
    concentration on your last lap! :)

    On the other side is a curb and a fence so you really can't stray without
    hitting something. That will keep you in the circle for sure! :)

    This guy did the whole test on a pretty small bike never out of second gear
    with high throttle, a heavy left hand, and very heavy use of the right foot
    as can be seen if you look closely.
    Jim Newton, Sep 7, 2007
  17. pinbob

    Jim Newton Guest

    Jim Newton, Sep 7, 2007
  18. pinbob

    J. Clarke Guest

    Geezus, google "FOIA".
    The "truth" is that you're struggling to justify your own inability to
    master the test.
    J. Clarke, Sep 7, 2007
  19. pinbob

    Davey Jones Guest

    That's a good rider but to be fair, it's a hell of a lot easier doing a set
    of loops without any lines than doing them inside a pre defined set of

    There's not only the physical but the psychological working when you have a
    definate set of lines to work within. And when you have an instructor
    looming over your shoulder failing you for a single imperfect loop.

    Bear in mind though, that the California DMV test is the test a "beginner"
    would take in order to get their license - while this rider is probably not
    anywhere near a beginner.

    In fact, I think, just maybe, based only on my review of this mpeg, and
    save for the diameter, this rider would have failed the California DMV

    You'll notice this rider, while good, isn't keeping a perfect circle which
    the California DMV test requires. On the other hand, his "imperfect" circle
    does look tighter than that of the California DMV test, so I should cut him
    some slack on his technique.

    I'll bet if he had a 13 foot circle painted on the ground, he'd not be able
    to do what he just did. Try it some day. You can loop around with abandon
    when you get to choose roughly where to go - but it gets infinately harder
    if someone else tells you exactly where to go and you have to keep a
    perfect circle to do so without straying outside white lines you can't even
    see even if you were looking which you should not do.
    Davey Jones, Sep 7, 2007
  20. pinbob

    Davey Jones Guest

    If I get a chance, I'll snap a pic of the course. They DO have a sign
    saying you can't practice under penalty of law.

    And they do kick you out if you practice during a weekday as there is
    always a security guard at the DMV near me.

    But if you post a sentry, you can generally practice on weekends without
    too many interuptions as the police don't cruise down that street all that
    often on weekends.

    Or you can practice after dark on weeknights.

    Good luck!
    Davey Jones, Sep 7, 2007
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