Suzuki Burgman USA Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I could use a little help...the whole getting the proper license thing in Georgia is a mess. I'm in Athens - about 30 miles from the nearest location that gives the driving test. I've read all the posts and look hard into the MSF courses and, as much as I'd like to do that, it will be nearly impossible for me to give up a whole weekend (forget about taking 3 days off work during the week!) and, I'd have to get a hotel room because there's no way I would make it to the class on time from my house (I am not a morning person and traffic is very unpredictable).

So, I'm wondering - how many of you have just gone straight in and taken the test and passed on your own scooters?

I will probably go get the learner's permit thing this next week so I won't be completely illegal but, my wife is ready to take a ride with me and start getting used to it so, I'd prefer to be all legal.

This is such a hassle! It's not like we live in such a small town - Athens is about 3 times as large as several of the other places in Georgia that administer the full test and/or give the MSF course!

Advice?

Al (currently an outlaw scooter rider)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,278 Posts
Al,

I empathize with you on living a distance from the testing center. It took me 1.5 hours each way to get to the MSF course. It's also a hassle giving up an entire weekend. That said, I think it's an investment that is well worth it. You cannot put a price on safety and to me the MSF is one of the better safety items I've purchased.

If you do decide to take the test without the MSF, be aware that it is against the law to ride your bike to the testing station. One of the local riders rode his bike to the testing station and they failed him for riding the bike there (breaking a traffic law) and cited him for riding without a license. He then had to arrange someone to pick the bike up since he did not have a valid endorsement and could not ride the bike home. So either have someone that has the endorsement drive your bike to the testing station or haul the bike there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
billmeek said:
...If you do decide to take the test without the MSF, be aware that it is against the law to ride your bike to the testing station....
Bill is quite right. Many applicants ride their bikes to the test site, but it is a risky proposition if you don't at least have a learner's permit.

I'd say get the learner's permit and read your state's Motorcycle Manual or the motorcycle section in the Driver's Handbook -- or whatever equivalent Georgia has -- and practice the required items for the skills test.

I passed my skills test the first time I tested, with no prior training other than a quick "lesson" at the dealer, the ride from the dealer to my house, and the ride to the DOL office (and I stopped a block away and walked the bike to the site, but I don't suggest you do the same), but I was lucky and was riding a smaller scooter (a Honda Elite 125) at the time. I couldn't have passed without a lot more practice if I had used a bigger bike, and I rode for several years before I took the tests to upgrade to an unrestricted license (Washington used to have different classes based on displacement: under 500cc, 500 - 1000, and over 1000 if I recall).

Anyway, if there's no other way to get it you can pass the test without taking a course, but it'll be less of a sure thing.

And at some time in the future you should still take either the New Rider or the Experienced Rider course. I know I'm going to. I may even become an instructor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
Brian,
I too live in Washington. I rode my Burgy home without getting prior "approval". Now I am trying to figure out what is my next step. My nearest DL office is 1 hour away, and I am not even sure if there is an MSF course nearby.

What is entailed in getting the "learner's permit"? Will they give you one if you already have your drivers license?

And why would completing the driving test be "less of a sure thing" if you know how to ride. Isn't the skills section of the Motorcycle permit basically like the car version; drive around the block a few times?

Couldn't you also be cited for illegaly operating a vehicle for driving your scooter to the MSF course?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,278 Posts
captainfish said:
Couldn't you also be cited for illegaly operating a vehicle for driving your scooter to the MSF course?
In most states when you take the MSF Basic Rider Course you use the bikes provided by the training facility. Here is Tennessee, it is required you use the bike they provide.

For information about the MSF course in your state see :
http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/wmsp.htm

For a list of training sites see :
http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/wmspsite.htm

For info on the permit/endorsement see :
http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/mtrcycle.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the replies

Yep, I can get the learner's permit (it's called something else I can't remember right now) just by taking a written test and an eye exam. That will make it legal for me to ride to and from the skills test so, that's not the big deal. I think I need to practice weaving through cones and such to make sure I'm good on that.

I really do want to take the MSF! I believe all of you when you say it's worth the time and money. Due to an over-abundance of other committments, I don't have an entire weekend free until it'll be about **** freezing cold around here. Maybe I should book my place in class for sometime next spring so I can be sure to get in and set aside the time. ;-)

Anyway, thank you all for your suggestions.

Al
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Hello I am also from Georgia. I plan on trying to get a Burgman sometime soon (if all works out). With the learners permit here in Georgia you take a written test (actually on computer) and an eye exam. Then if you pass both you get your "learner's license" This allows you to operate a motorcycle during daytime hours only and I believe it is only good for 6 months. I have been reading a little in the handbook so maybe when I go take the test I don't fail :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
captainfish said:
I too live in Washington. ...What is entailed in getting the "learner's permit"? Will they give you one if you already have your drivers license?
Yes, in fact you must have a regular driver's license to get a motorcycle endorsement. You will need to study the Motorcycle Operator's Handbook and pass a written test on the contents to get the permit. The rules may have changed since I had my permit; we used to have to have a licensed motorcyclist follow us when we were practicing, but I've been told that now we're following other states' lead and you can ride on your own but only during daylight hours and no carrying passengers. Ask at the DOL when you get your permit if it's not clearly spelled out in the manual. (I'm picking up a new manual on Tuesday, now that I'm finding myself passing out advice. ;))

captainfish said:
And why would completing the driving test be "less of a sure thing" if you know how to ride. Isn't the skills section of the Motorcycle permit basically like the car version; drive around the block a few times?
No, you'll be doing some low speed, close quarters handling drills; emergency braking demonstration; etc. And you'll be doing it in front of an examiner in a one shot situation. If you don't pass you can try again at a later date, but it is, after all, a test situation.

If you take the MSF course you build up your skills over several days, and you're working with a "coach" rather than an "examiner" so some of the pressure is off. And if you pass the class you don't have to take the test; just show the DOL your completion card, pay your fee, and smile for the camera.

captainfish said:
Couldn't you also be cited for illegaly operating a vehicle for driving your scooter to the MSF course?
Absolutely. That's why you need the learner's permit if you're using your own bike. But most people use the MSF's bikes. Plus, if you do take a fall during the class it's not your bike getting scuffed. :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
captainfish said:
I too live in Washington...and I am not even sure if there is an MSF course nearby.
I don't know exactly where you are (the Olympic Peninsula being as big as it is), but there are training sites in Aberdeen, Bremerton, and Port Angeles.

For contact info click on http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/wmspsite.htm

Also, see the WMSP's home page for more useful information.
They're at http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/wmsp.htm

If you can't get to a DOL office easily, you can download a PDF file for the Motorcycle Manual at http://www.dol.wa.gov/ds/mcmanual.htm

[Edit: Well, I see Bill already posted the links to Washington's MSF sites. Oh well, now you can see that they're doubly important. :p ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
State of Washington M/C Instruction Permit

Okay. Straight from the horse's mouth, here's the rule on learner's permits in Washington:

RCW 46.20.510
Instruction permit -- Fee.
(1) Motorcycle instruction permit. A person holding a valid driver's license who wishes to learn to ride a motorcycle may apply for a motorcycle instruction permit. The department may issue a motorcycle instruction permit after the applicant has successfully passed all parts of the motorcycle examination other than the driving test. The director shall collect a fee of fifteen dollars for the motorcycle instruction permit or renewal, and deposit the fee in the motorcycle safety education account of the highway safety fund.

(2) Effect of motorcycle instruction permit. A person holding a motorcycle instruction permit may drive a motorcycle upon the public highways if the person has immediate possession of the permit and a valid driver's license. An individual with a motorcyclist's instruction permit may not carry passengers and may not operate a motorcycle during the hours of darkness.

(3) Term of motorcycle instruction permit. A motorcycle instruction permit is valid for ninety days from the date of issue.

(a) The department may issue one additional ninety-day permit.

(b) The department may issue a third motorcycle instruction permit if it finds after an investigation that the permittee is diligently seeking to improve driving proficiency.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
wow, thanks Brian and Billmeek,
I guess I could have found that out for myself with a little trackdown. But, I prefer browsing this site to a gov't one. 8)

90 DAYS!!!! EEHHGAAHHDD!

Yeah, looks like Port Angeles is the closest training facility to me - at an hour away. I have already sent an email to the trainer seaking specifics and information on the course.

Nearest DOL office is in Forks - 45 minutes away - just to take the learner's permit test. (feel silly typing that at my age and experience).

thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
captainfish said:
...just to take the learner's permit test. (feel silly typing that at my age and experience).
:lol: :lol: :lol:

I went back to college last quarter. Not only was I older than any of the other students in my class, I was older than the teacher. :shock:

Oh well, you're as young as you feel, and being "a kid gettin' his permit" makes you feel really young, eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
captainfish said:
90 DAYS!!!! EEHHGAAHHDD!
Hey, that's three months of "free" riding -- the whole summer!

Ask for an extension, and that's six months total. If you can't pass the test by then you may need to switch to a three-wheeler. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I think you can pass the test on your Bergman. Get your learners and drive for about a year. Put on about 5,000 miles and you will be ready. Stop into a school parking lot occasionally and practice. In the Georgia exam you will be required to take off and climb to 15 MPH then stop before crossing a line, but you can't apply the brakes until they signal you. They give you about 10 feet to stop. They also make you turn left or right and avoid the same line, but you can't start turning until they signal you. Before those test they make you drive between two lines about 3 feet apart and turn left and right and then stop before crossing a line. I passed the test on my scooter. It was not a Bergman however. It was a 150cc of another manufacture. I just couldn't get into any MSF classes. They're harder to get into than Heaven. People were passing the test on 750cc motorcycles before big scooters were invented. To me, a learners license is just as good as a permanent one, except you have to renew them every 6 months. The restrictions they put on a learners license -- no driving in the rain, at night, or with a passenger -- well like that didn't bother me at all. I mean who really wants to drive a lot under those conditions anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
M&M said:
To me, a learners license is just as good as a permanent one, except you have to renew them every 6 months. The restrictions they put on a learners license -- no driving in the rain, at night, or with a passenger -- well like that didn't bother me at all. I mean who really wants to drive a lot under those conditions anyway.
Washington's learner's permits can only be renewed once (twice under certain conditions).

You can't carry passengers nor ride at night (which in the winter means about 5PM to 8AM, but in the summer only means 9PM to 5AM), but you can ride in the rain (wouldn't be much good here if you couldn't. You'd only have 30 or 40 riding days a year, mostly in July and August).

Pages 75 - 78 of the Acrobat format Washington Motorcycle Manual referenced in the link above show our test; it's quite similar to Georgia's, but quite different from California's from what I've been told.

Everyone please feel free to talk about your state's test in the thread "Motorcycle/Scooter license test" in the General Discussion forum.

M&M, I've already quoted portions of your post over there, as I think others would find it informative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I live in Atlanta Ga myself. I am also thinking about getting a Burgman. I have spent some time searching for a good MSF course. I have taken one before in Virginia. The only bane of my existence was switching gears on the bikes they provide. I have never learned properly, So, in turn , I have been seeking out classes that are more geared to the automatic market (scooters). :idea: O.K. here goes...... I think there's a school called Sunshine's learn to ride.The school is however located out in stone mountain. The address is P.O. box 870976 Stone moutain, GA 30098-0225. The location of the riding and practice track is at 5500 burmuda road Stone mountain GA 30087. The phone number is 770-413-1774. I haven't been to this web site lately so I don't know if anything has changed. If you are inerested give her a call. I know she used to train people to ride scooters as well. There are some other schools as well, but I can't remember them. I don't know if this will help anyone, but it's worth a shot. 8)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,278 Posts
lexx74 said:
I haven't been to this web site lately so I don't know if anything has changed. If you are inerested give her a call. I know she used to train people to ride scooters as well.
The URL for the website is :

http://www.sunshineslearntoride.com

From their FAQ section, "Can I ride my own bike (or scooter)?
For the MSF Basic Rider Course: Students can use their own motorcycle as long as it is 350 cc or less." Guess you can't use either of the current Burgmans. Maybe they 'might' make an exception for other types of training.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
I'm amazed at the number of people who seem to fear and/or avoid taking the riding exam in order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement. It seems to me that many of us spend more energy and time trying to find ways NOT to take the test then it would take to just do whatever is required to pass the test and get the endorsement.
I'm not basing this conclusion on just some of the comments on our Forum but also on many stories I've heard from students in my PA Rider Courses. A good number of my students had ridden for years on a Learner's Permit by renewing every 90 days or at the beginning of each summer riding season. This meant they couldn't ride at night, carry passengers, etc. And, if you live/ride close to another state, you may not be able to ride outside of your home state. To me, that's just a major pain-in-the butt.
While I STRONGLY recommend taking your local RiderCourse prior to getting your endorsement, I realize that is not always possible. A good alternative would be to go to a local Motor Vehicle testing site and watch them administering the riding test. See just what skills will be tested so you know what to practice at home (in a safe area). If the site is not secured after-hours, take some quick measurements of the circles, boxes. lines, etc. so you can duplicate them at home. All of this will make you better prepared for your test.
For many people, time seems to be a major problem for testing and practicing. Just keep in mind that the relatively few hours you invest in the training, practicing and testing process now will provide you with years of riding pleasure in the future. You will only get out of the sport of motorcycling what you are willing to invest in it. The more you know, the better it gets. :D
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top