Friday I headed to the licensing center to fail my practical test. Well, I guess I didn’t go with that purpose in mind, but that was the result. While killing time between my appointment time and the actual test time, I checked out the motorcycle course. Since I promised to post photos here and have only put up the one test shot (which isn’t even one of my photos), I thought I would show a couple shots from my cell phone.
Here is a look at the swerving portion of the test center at Minami ga Oka. It is bracketed on left and right by the raised obstacle and (greatly feared) slow bridge tests respectively. The swerving portion has large cones to swerve around. Each cone has two small cones to one side or the other to avoid confusion about which way you should be swerving. I think there is a secondary purpose of making it look imposing, but if you ignore the cones and just look at the path there should be no problem. At the front and back of the course there are cones set up as a gate, and to protect the photo sensors which probably aren’t visible in this small shot. I think you have to get to the back gate under a specified time limit.
Raised obstacles are just concrete bars with tapered sides set into the pavement. Nine bars about one meter apart make up this section. Seems easier than the loose 2×4 used on the course in Washington. The bridge is 30cm wide, about 5cm high, maybe 10m long, and made of metal diamond plate. It seemed a bit slippery in the rainy weather, but if you are going straight maybe no problem… You drive over a switch at each end that start and stop a timer. You must go slow enough to exceed the time limit without putting your feet down or, of course, falling down.
This second shot shows the path for S turns, 90 degree turns, and railroad crossings. The tracks are not practical for a train and are much easier to maneuver than the real thing.
In both photos you can see the truck course around the bike course and the car course around that. It extends far into the background, leading one to believe that land is cheap in Japan.