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Where can I practice riding a motorcycle without a license? You need to work on your skills before you take the motorcycle license test. You have access to a motorcycle, but no license. Where are you going to practice?
Where Can I Practice Riding a Motorcycle Without a License?
A motorcycle can be ridden on private property with the property owner’s permission or as part of riders training program where you receive your license upon completion of the training.
So you don’t have you’re license just yet but your working on getting it.
Here’s the problem;
You need to be able to practice basic motorcycle riding techniques before your big test day to get your motorcycle license or endorsement. Depending on where you live, you may have a lot of options available to you. The trick is doing it as legal and safe as possible under the circumstances.
First things first – Get your permit
Before you just run out and either purchase a motorcycle or borrow someone else bike is to take some time and go get your learners permit.
What does getting your motorcycle learners permit entail?
I’m going to speak generally here, so keep in mind that you’re going to need to check the requirements in your state.
Get a driver’s handbook – Go to your local dmv or better yet look online and see if they have a downloadable version of your states driver’s handbook. You’ll want to brush up on basic traffic rules and study the rules that are specific to riding motorcycles.
Pay close attention your state laws on helmets and insurance requirements. Some state will allow you to ride without a helmet, but you you’ll need to meet certain experience requirements and carry extra insurance.
Take the written test – After you feel you understand your state’s motorcycle rules go take the written test.
Having the permit in hand helps to show property owners and the police (if you have police contact) that you’re really trying to learn to ride and not just screwing around.
In short, it shows a level of seriousness about what your trying to do.
Pick the right time to practice your riding skills
You’ve got your shiny new motorcycle learners permit in hand and access to a motorcycle practice with.
Keep a couple of things in mind when finding a parking lot:
How busy is the lot – is the business open 7 days/week? If the lot is busy all the time, it’s not going to be a good practice area. Ideally you want a parking lot that has NO traffic or very little traffic.
Time of week – Sundays (Sunday morning specifically) is the best time to get some practice in. The reason here is obvious – Sundays most businesses are closed. That being said, pay attention to what goes on in your area, you may find that there are other days of the week that will work.
Plenty of wide open space – You’re going to want to have an area to practice in that gives you plenty of room with as few obstacles (light posts for example) as possible.
Suggested places to Practice riding a motorcycle
The first and obvious choice for having a place to practice are is a parking lot. But they’re not all created equal and there are other options to keep an eye out for as well.
Places you can ride without a license generally fall into three different categories that you should keep in mind:
- Private property. This is property that that is owned by an individual or business like parking lots, fields etc. Generally, law enforcement won’t bother you unless the public has access (like a parking lot). I’m not an attorney, but if the public has access to the property and someone complains about you, it does open the door up for you to be stopped by the police.
- Public property. Areas that are controlled by a government entity. This would include, city, county, state etc.
- Rider programs. Rider training programs offer the best way to practice riding your motorcycle without a license.
Here’s a short list of places or types of places you ride your motorcycle that you can look for in your area:
- Big box store parking lots (private property, public access). When they are closed these are great spots to practice.
- Old shopping centers (private, public access). Have a shopping center in your area where there are few or closed businesses? Some of the older shopping centers have smaller parking lots with a few more obstacles to maneuver around.
- Public parks (public property) – If you can find a park in your area that doesn’t have a lot of traffic these can make great places to practice.
- Your neighborhood (depends, check your area) – As long your motorcycle isn’t super loud and you’re not riding like an idiot, you can practice in your own area. A lot of neighborhoods are private but the public has access.
- Schools (public property). Schools during the weekends are a great place with a lot of room to get some practice in.
- Libraries (public property). Same as Schools. Many libraries aren’t open on the weekends.
- Motorcycle dealership (rider program). Harley Davidson and some Honda dealerships offer riders courses to help you learn to ride a motorcycle. It will depend on your area of course, but Harley has some of the best riders training courses available.
- Riders edge (rider program). Some States have a program (or something similar) called ‘Riders Edge” that allows you take a riders training course with no license or permit. The nice thing is, when your done, you are able to receive your license at the end of the course. Some insurance companies will give you a break for taking the course.
If your going to be riding in a business owners parking lot, I would recommend that you try and obtain permission whenever possible.
There’s almost always that busy-body person that may see you and decide to call the police to complain about what’s going on.
If you’ve taken the time to obtain your permit and obtain the property owners permission, the odds are low (I can’t say never) that they will ticket you or bother you too much.
What size motorcycle should I practice with?
If you’re just learning to handle a motorcycle and your prepping to take your riding test, don’t start with a Honda Goldwing, Harley Ultra Glide or other large touring motorcycle.
In other words, don’t start with the biggest motorcycle you can find even if you already own it. Find or rent something small to take your riders test with.
You want to start learning on something smaller in 500cc to 750cc range when you’re just getting started. These motorcycles smaller and lighter to handle and if you drop the motorcycle, are easier to pick up.
Most riders training courses train riders with around a 500cc motorcycle. In fact, if you have a riders edge type course in your area, they usually supply the motorcycle.
If all you have is a large motorcycle to test with – so be it, it’s not the end of the world. Just get more practice in and you’ll be fine.
Skills you’ll want to practice
You’ve found a nice place to practice your motorcycle riding skills, but what should you practice?
Start with the basics of controlling the motorcycle:
- Your position on the seat
- Handlebar reach
- Getting to the shifter and brake pedals
- Using the clutch and shifting – Upshifting and downshifting
- Braking – Learn to use both of the front and rear brakes. More importantly, when to use them.
- Turning – This is the big one. You’ll want to work on your basic turning and cornering skills at both a high(er) speed and low speed.
- Distance – Learn how to judge distance and when to start reducing your speed before entering a corner.
Keep your practice sessions safe
I’m now going to pound the safety drum.
Because you’re working on new skills (or brushing up on seldom used skills) the potential for you to dump the motorcycle or get injured is higher than normal.
Don’t practice riding your motorcycle without another person present. God forbid if your drop the motorcycle on yourself, they can help get it off of you. If possible, you want to bring somebody with you that is an experienced motorcyclist.
Don’t skimp on your safety gear
It doesn’t matter what kind of riding your doing always wear your basic motorcycle safety gear that includes:
- Motorcycle helmet
- Riding gloves
- Motorcycle boots
- Motorcycle riding pants
Don’t be one of those people that rides in shorts! You look like a noob and your asking for injury. There I said it.
There are a lot of parking lots and places in your area where you can practice even if you don’t have your license yet. The trick is, you have to be an adult about what you’re doing.
To wrap this up, here’s a quick checklist of what you need to do:
- Get your permit first
- Borrow or find a motorcycle
- Find a location in your area, get the property owners permission whenever possible.
- Stay safe! – Wear your gear and bring someone with you
- Don’t be stupid – Practice real riding techniques and don’t screw off and act like an idiot. Take it seriously, be an adult.
Don’t forget – Have fun! Riding a motorcycle is awesome and fun. Welcome aboard, you’re gonna love it!