Safety check questions for motorcycles
Vehicle safety checks have always been part of the officially recommended syllabus for learning to drive.
The source material is to be found in the DSA publication “Riding: The Essential Skills”. The manufacturer’s handbook should also be consulted.
The following questions can be asked in any combination, with one ‘show me’ question’ and one ‘tell me’ question.
Tell me questions:
- Identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check the engine has sufficient oil.
Identify where you would check level, ie. Dipstick or sight glass. Explain that the level should be between min and max marks. For dipstick, remove dipstick and wipe clean, return and remove again to check oil level against min and max marks. For sight glass ensure glass is clean when checking.
- Identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that it is at a safe level.
Identify reservoir, check level against high/low markings.
- Tell me how you would check the condition of the chain on this machine.
Check for chain wear, correct tension and rear wheel alignment. Tension should be adjusted as specified in the machine handbook. Drive chain should be lubricated to ensure that excessive wear does not take place.
- Tell me how you would check the condition of the tyres to check they are correctly inflated, have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
Correct tyre pressures can be found in the owner’s manual. Pressures should be checked using a reliable gauge. Tread depth must be at least 1mm deep, forming a continuous band at least ¾ of the breadth of the tread and all the way round.
Show me questions:
- Show me how you would check the operation of the brakes on this machine.
Check for excessive travel on the brake lever and the brake pedal for unusual play or sponginess.
- Show me how you check the operation of the engine cut out switch.
- Show me how you would check that the horn is working on this machine.
Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).
- Show me how you would check the lights, brake lights and reflectors are clean and working.
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), identify the reflectors. Check visually for cleanliness and operation.
- Show me what checks you would make on the steering movement before using the machine.
Handle bars should be free to move smoothly from full left to full right lock without any control cables being stretched, trapped or pinched and without any snagging between moving and fixed parts.
- Show me how you would check the operation of the front brake on this machine.
Wheel the machine forward and apply the front brake.
Post test Q&A’s:
Stiffen up rear suspension (check owner’s manual), increase tyre pressure (check owner’s manual), adjust mirrors (if necessary), adjust headlamp beam (if necessary)
- Effects of carrying a passenger
A= Acceleration affected by extra weight
B= Braking affected by extra weight (takes longer to stop)
C= Control of cornering (more difficult to control)
S= Slow speed manoeuvring is more difficult
- Legal Requirements to carry a passenger
Rider must have a full motorcycle licence. Both rider and passenger must wear a British Standard or EC approved helmet, correctly fastened. Motorcycle must be designed to carry a pillion i.e. two seats and two sets of footrests. Passenger must be able to reach the footrests.
- Advice to the passenger
Wear a BS approved safety helmet. Recommend protective/waterproof clothing. Sit still and don’t fidget around. Lean with the bike around corners and bends. Keep feet on the footrests at all times. Hold onto the rider around the waist or to grab handles/rails if fitted. Don’t signal for the rider.
- Cause of loss of balance
Windy Conditions, poor tyre pressure /suspension adjustment, poor road surface, luggage not evenly distributed, consumption of alcohol or drugs.
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