The Motorcycle Rider Program offers courses for novice, intermediate and experienced and sidecar/trike riders. Which program
is right for you?
- Have you wanted to learn how to ride but didn't know how to get started? Or, do you have some riding experience but it has been awhile since you have been on a motorcycle? The Basic course is for you!
- Do you have some motorcycling experience? If you already possess the basic skills to operate a motorcycle but need additional practice before venturing into traffic, the Intermediate course may be for you!
- Do you already have your motorcycle license, some riding experience and a motorcycle? Do you want to improve your mental and physical skills? Then check out our Experienced course!
- Do you have a sidecar rig, trike, or reverse trike and want to learn the basic or advanced skills required to set up and safely operate these three-wheeled vehicles? Then check out our Sidecar/Trike course!
This 20-hour program includes both classroom and "hands-on"
instruction. It is designed to teach the fundamental skills of
straight-line riding, shifting, turning, and stopping, then work
toward developing more complex street skills including essential
braking, turning and swerving techniques. It also focuses on developing
good mental strategies and managing special situations. The motorcycles,
helmets, and textbooks are provided for each student's use. Students
must provide: a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long pants (heavy
material with straight legs), sturdy over-the-ankle footwear (not
cloth or canvas), full-fingered gloves and eye protection (glasses,
goggles or face shield).
Who is eligible to enroll in the Basic course?
Illinois residents who are at least 16 years of age (on the
first day of their course) are eligible to enroll if they have
a valid driver's license or instruction permit. The ability to
balance and ride a bicycle is expected. Persons under 18 years
of age need the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.
Upon successful completion of the Basic course, a completion
card will be issued that will allow the Illinois Secretary of
State drivers license examiner to waive the written and the riding
portion of the motorcycle license test for all graduates who are
18 years of age or older. Persons who are 16 or 17 years of age
must complete this course and take the Secretary of State's
written and riding tests to be eligible for a class "M"
This 10-hour course is designed for riders with previous experience as a motorcycle operator.
Did you ride years ago and would like to get back into the sport?
Maybe you currently ride on or off-road motorcycles and want to earn your license to ride legally on the street.
Or, perhaps you recently completed a basic motorcycle safety class and would benefit from additional practice.
The Intermediate Rider Course (IRC) course may be for you!
Who is eligible to enroll in the Intermediate course?
Illinois residents must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of their course to enroll in the IRC.
Applicants must possess a valid automobile license or instruction permit and be reasonably proficient in basic motorcycle control operation including straight line riding, up-shifting, down-shifting, turning, braking, and stopping.
Any student who is unable to demonstrate these minimum expectations during the first riding session will not be allowed to continue in the IRC course. Nor will the individual be given preferential enrollment into a basic course.
Motorcycles, helmets, and textbooks are provided. Students must provide a valid driver’s license or permit, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long pants (heavy material with straight legs), sturdy over-the-ankle footwear (not cloth or canvas), full-fingered gloves and eye protection (glasses, goggles or face shield).
Upon successful completion of the Intermediate Rider Training Course, a
completion card will be issued that will allow the Illinois Secretary of
State drivers license examiner to waive the written and the riding
portion of the motorcycle license test for all graduates who are 18
years of age or older.
This eight-hour course will help you develop advanced braking,
cornering and swerving skills under the supervision of certified
instructors while aboard your own motorcycle. It will also present
material on handling dynamics and traction management.
Who is eligible to enroll in the Experienced course?
This course is for riders with at least one year and 1,000 miles of riding experience (or are a graduate with at least six months and 500 miles of experience), who can provide a street legal motorcycle that is in good mechanical repair, and have a valid motorcycle license. A DOT approved helmet, proof of current motorcycle registration, valid insurance and a completed motorcycle safety inspection checklist (checklist provided prior to the class) are required without exception.
A valid motorcycle license is required to take the ERC.
Completion of the Experienced course does not waive the test requirements
for obtaining a motorcycle license through the Secretary of State.
It is obvious that trikes and sidecars are not automobiles.
It is less obvious, but equally important to understand that three-wheeled motorcycles do not steer, brake or
handle like their two-wheeled cousins. Operating a trike or sidecar rig requires specialized knowledge and
skills which are uniquely different than operating either a motorcycle or an automobile.
The Sidecar/Trike Education Program is offered for beginning and experienced riders/drivers.
S/TEP courses for novice students are typically conducted over two days on a single weekend and are geared
toward the current non-rider. Prior experience operating two-wheelers is helpful but not required.
Courses for experienced trike riders and sidecar drivers are frequently offered in one day, usually on a Saturday or Sunday.
S/TEP instruction incorporates comprehensive lessons on protective riding gear, safe vehicle operation under a
variety of situations and conditions, defensive driving strategies, and essential accident avoidance techniques
which are unique to three-wheelers. Hands-on instruction in a closed parking lot provides an opportunity to
apply the classroom knowledge under the watchful supervision and direction of experienced, certified instructors
while actually operating a sidecar or trike. Course objectives cover basic sidecar set-up; understanding and
managing your rig; proper loading, weight distribution and ballasting; understanding and compensating for yaw;
managing tip-over lines; controlling wheel loft in turns; swerving; drifting; steering reversion; and
emergency braking in straight lines and turns.
Who is eligible to enroll in the S/TEP course?
Any Illinois resident at least 16 years of age who holds a valid driver's license or instruction permit is eligible to enroll.
A DOT approved helmet, eye protection, sturdy over-the-ankle boots or shoes, long pants, long sleeves and full-fingered gloves
are required without exception.
Students in novice and experienced S/TEP courses must bring their own mechanically sound, street legal trike/sidecar
rig to every session by legal means. Proof of vehicle ownership and valid insurance coverage will be verified at
the first class session. No student will be required to share their trike or sidecar with another individual in class.
However, you may enroll one additional family member or friend in S/TEP and share a trike or sidecar rig throughout the same course.
Sidecars must be solidly attached to a conventional motorcycle. Trikes must be motorcycle-based conversions or factory built with
motorcycle designed roots. "Reverse trikes" with two wheels in front are acceptable. Three wheeled motorcycles that lean,
trikes based on automobile powered conversions and motorcycles with outrigger wheels are NOT acceptable in S/TEP courses.
A valid driver's license or permit is required to take the S/TEP but a motorcycle endorsement is not. Completion of
the S/TEP course does not waive the test requirements for obtaining a 2 or 3 wheel motorcycle license
through the Secretary of State.
The University of Illinois Motorcycle Rider Program is looking for service-oriented men and women
to join our part-time staff of motorcycle safety education instructors. The level of responsibility
is high but the satisfaction of assisting other people as they improve their mental skills, physical
coordination, and life-saving driving strategies is extremely rewarding!
Over one hundred experienced motorcyclists are currently employed by the University of Illinois
Motorcycle Rider Program in one of the largest motorcycle safety programs in the United States.
Most of our instructors are veteran motorcyclists who have been actively involved in rider safety and
education for many years. All of them have completed the Instructor Preparation (IP) course and
maintain current certification credentials through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Instructor Preparation (IP) Course applications are selectively accepted from individuals who:
- are at least eighteen years of age,
- have excellent verbal and written communication skills,
- have excellent social skills with a strong interest in helping other people,
- have an Illinois class "M" motorcycle operator license or equivalent from another state,
- have completed a basic motorcycle rider course,
- currently operate a motorcycle on a frequent basis, and
- have a clean driving record with no possibility for license suspension or revocation.
Please note: an original driving abstract issued by any Illinois Drivers Services Facility or your
home state's Department of Motor Vehicles must be attached to your application.
Candidates accepted into the IP Course must successfully complete:
- an initial riding skills test to demonstrate riding proficiency,
- an 80-hour classroom/riding instruction course conducted by certified instructor trainers,
- a written knowledge test covering the novice course curriculum and other highway safety issues,
- a student teaching phase to demonstrate communication abilities and proficiencies at evaluating and coaching novice students, and
- an Instructor Rules of Professional Conduct form.
Once certified, an instructor must:
- attend annual refresher courses,
- maintain first-aid certification through the American Red Cross or equivalent,
- demonstrate safe riding habits and always wear protective gear when riding to, from and during rider training activities,
- ride and drive free of alcohol and other drugs, and
- conduct one’s self in a professional manner that includes appropriate appearance and communications.
Because certain areas of our training region are understaffed, and enrollment in these courses is limited,
we reserve the right to select course candidates geographically. The intensity of this training may
exceed that of any previous instruction in which you have been involved. Your commitment will require
much more time than the actual contact hours listed in the course schedule and, once enrolled, there
is no guarantee that you will successfully complete the course.
Course materials will be provided at the first course session. If successful, all teaching materials
will be yours to keep. If you do not complete the Instructor Preparation course for any reason,
the IP materials must be returned. Travel and incidental expenses will be the responsibility of the candidate.
Thank you for your interest in becoming involved with motorcycling safety. Your investment in this
training will be extensive but the incredible, long-term rewards of helping new riders get started
on the right track are immeasurable!
Why are the courses offered?
The Basic, Intermediate, Experienced, and S/TEP courses are offered through
the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic
Safety; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and community
agencies to reduce the likelihood and severity of accident involvement
by teaching risk management skills and developing essential riding
skills through both classroom and riding instruction.
These courses are sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety through
Public Act 82-649, the Cycle Rider Safety Training Act; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and community agencies.