Irene's departure
What? No news of your own?

The last post about titles, exams, or the dmv, I'll ever do- I promise.

Speaking of titles, I'm the legal owner of my motor scooter once again.  The Virginia DMV issued me a new title last week.  I gave them every document I had on it, including three years of Australian registrations, a faded Scooteria point of sale receipt, and a letter from the Australian Roads and Traffic Authority.  The DMV person was still a little hesitant but after showing her how the registration is used to transfer ownership from seller to buyer, I think that did the trick. 

For those interested in taking the Virginia motorcycle road skills test- (to everyone else, the rest of this may be a little boring.) 

The Virginia DMV doesn't have a one stop shop for motorcycle riders.  Their site allows you to search for DMV locations.  Each location has a website specific to the services they offer.  Some sites specifically say, motorcycle road skills tests are NOT offered here.  The ones that do offer the driving test, don't advertise it.  So if the site doesn't say "it's not offered here", then it is.  Nice. 

The nearest driving test facility to Falls Church is Alexandria, 10 miles away.  On Saturday, I went early, waited two hours, my number came up, and it started to rain. (Irene hates scooters)  The tester cancelled my test.  They didn't want to risk someone getting injured if the rain caused them to wipe out during the test.  I asked the tester's supervisor if I could waive any responsibly of the DMV and take it anyway.  They declined my offer.  Out of curosity, I asked the supervisor what happens when a motorcyclist encounters bad weather at some point in their future?  Wouldn't rain make it a more appropriate testing environment?  Isn't it unsafe to test cyclists only during the most optimal conditions. He didn't respond. Ahh, check and mate, sir.

I ended up taking a day off and went back again on Monday.  I arrived right when the DMV open and during sunny skies.  But after five minutes in line the DMV's printers went off-line.  No ETA on the system's availability.  The next closest DMV is 5 miles away in Franconia, VA.  The third times the charm they say. I headed to Franconia and arrived around 9:30am to wait in line again.  Other DMV's were also experiencing problems so the overflow came to Franconia instead. My number was called 2 hours later. 

The motorcycle test area is located in the DMV parking lot.  The north and south ends of the area still allowed DMV traffic to come and go.  A couple of times, I had to wait for the flow of traffic to cease before starting an exercise. The tester set up all the traffic cones and explained each exercise in detail.  They were the same as the examples already found on the internet so I was glad there were no surprises.

Virginia's 2011 Motorcycle road skills test

1st & 2nd exercise- Cycle to the opposite side and make a sharp left turn without touching the lines.  After the turn come back and do a controlled stop, which will place the front tire in a white bordered square.  The tester said as long as the tire met the ground inside box, it didn't matter if my fender or any other part of the tire was over the painted box.  Not the same info as other testees have reported, but I didn't question it.

3rd & 4th exercise - Move forward and weave through 5 traffic cones 12ft apart in length, and offset by 3 ft.  After the cones, come back to the start and perform a right handed u-turn with in the painted lines. 

5th exercise - Perform a controlled stop as quick as possible after reaching 12-15mph.  The tester said I needed to accelerate by the first line I cross and maintain that speed until I cross the second line.  After crossing the second line, apply the brakes, stop and wait for the tester to measure the distance from the second line to where I ended up.

6th exercise - Do the same exercise again, but instead of stopping after the second line, swerve to the left or right and avoid touching the painted lines.  The tester told me which way to turn as he read the question.

  • #1 Left turn - I passed
  • #2 Stop in the box - I passed
  • #3 Cone weave - Dropped my foot once but kept going and finished the rest of the cones.
  • #4 Right U-turn - I passed
  • #5 Controlled stop - I passed (I braked so hard even the tester was even impressed.)
  • #6 Controlled swerve - I passed

Contrary to what other cyclists said, I was never told I could do any of the exercises more than once.  The tester told me I would do each exercise once, and my score would be based on points.  Get too many points and I fail the test.  My score was 3 points, since I put my foot down once.  Had I failed, I would have had to come back another time.  Fail the entire test three times and you have to go to a special class for motorcycle driving safety, in order to get your full license.

Thankfully, I passed.  'Cuz you know, who wants to hang out with all those cycle rejects in summer school. 

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