Motorcycle Safety Courses on Military Installations
Click the following link to enter the Army Traffic Safety Training Program (ATSTP): https://airs.lmi.org/
Click "View Available Courses". (In El Paso select "West" for region and "Fort Bliss" for garrison.) If you leave the search option for "courses" blank, you will be able to see all of the available courses. Select the appropriate course and register.

Safety Related Links

Travel Information

National Riding Schedule

Choosing a Helmet

While color, design and price may be a part of your decision about which helmet to buy, think first about protection and comfort. A fullface helmet gives the most protection since it covers more of your face. It usually has a moveable face shield that protects the eyes when it is closed. Racers prefer full-face helmets for the added protection and comfort.

A three-quarter, open-face helmet is also a choice of some riders. It is constructed with the same basic components, but doesn't offer the face and chin protection of
full-face helmets. If you use an open-face helmet, you should have a snap-on face shield in place when you ride, or buy a pair of goggles that can withstand the impact
of a stone or other debris. Prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses are not sufficient protection, and they might move or fly off.

A “shorty” half-helmet protects even less of your head. It is more likely to come off your head upon impact. Therefore, “shorty”, half-shell helmets are not

A lot of good helmets are available today, in a range of prices. One look around your dealer's helmet display will convince you that nearly any decoration you could
want on a helmet is already available. Many manufacturers are color-coordinating their helmets with the newest motorcycle models. And the days of heavy or
cumbersome helmets are over. They’re made of lightweight, modern materials and are improved each year. Manufacturers are also working to make them
less expensive, stronger and more comfortable.

What you must know when choosing a helmet is that it meets minimum safety standards. The way to find a well-made, reliable helmet is to look for the DOT
and/or Snell sticker on the inside or outside of the helmet.The sticker means the helmet meets the safety test standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation
and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

Each organization has rigid procedures for testing:

Impact – the shock-absorbing capacity of the helmet.
Penetration – the helmet's ability to withstand a blow from a sharp object.
Retention – the chin strap's ability to stay fastened without stretching or breaking.
Peripheral vision – the helmet must provide a minimum side vision of 105 degrees to each side. (Most people's usable peripheral vision is only about 90 degrees to
each side.)

Since 1980, ALL adult-sized helmets for on-highway use must meet DOT standards. Helmet dealers and distributors must ensure that all the helmets they sell bear the
DOT sticker. Whatever your helmet choice, be sure it has this certification. You don't want an inferior helmet or one designed for another purpose. If someone tries
to sell you one without it, don't buy it. If your helmet has no DOT sticker, do not wear it, regardless of its age.

Snell has been testing helmets since the 1950s. The use of Snell standards by helmet manufacturers is voluntary. Unlike DOT standards, Snell testing is revised
(most recently in 2000) as helmet design and technology improve.

Both agencies attempt to reproduce, under test conditions, the situations that are hazardous to motorcyclists.Their testing methods differ, but the intent is the
same: to make certain any helmet they approve has life-saving, shock-absorbing minimums.

Motorcycling is primarily a solo activity, but for many, riding as a group -- whether with friends on a Sunday morning ride or with an organized
motorcycle rally -- is the epitome of the motorcycling experience. Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride:

Arrive prepared. Arrive on time with a full gas tank.

Hold a riders’ meeting. Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals (see diagrams on next page). Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider. Both should be experienced riders who are well-versed in group riding procedures. The leader should assess everyone’s riding skills and the group’s riding style.

Keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into smaller sub-groups, each with a lead and sweep rider.

Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter.

Ride in formation.

The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A single-file formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or maneuvering room is needed.

Avoid side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. You don’t want handlebars to get entangled.

Periodically check the riders following in your rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up. If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up.

For mechanical or medical problems, use a cell phone to call for assistance as the situation warrants.

Riding Staggered

A group of motorcycles generally rides in a stagger formation for safety reasons. The minimum recommended spacing to the bike directly in front of you should not be less than two seconds (the two second rule). The bike in the lane to your left or right should not be less than one second ahead of you.

You will find that two seconds is a long distance when riding at highway speeds. That is it's a long distance when everything is going well. When things go wrong,however, two seconds of distance is gone in the time it takes to figure out that your you are in trouble.

The two second rule is a rule of thumb you should try to adhere to when ever possible. Especially at highway speeds. There are times, however, when it is best to squeeze together while on city streets and slowing for a stop. This will help prevent cars from entering the group. The Tail Gunner will ride in the middle of the two bike lanes with all head lights (Hi-Beam) and running lights on. This will help the Road Captain see them.
Intersection Stopping

When stopping as a group at an intersection, break stagger formation and pull up beside the bike in the adjacent lane. This will reduce the length of the group by half. Stay in this formation until you are through the intersection. Because the group is half as long it will take half the time to clear the intersection and increase the odds of keeping the group intact.

If you don't make it through the intersection with the group, honk your horn and wait for the light. Don't take a chance and run the red light. The Road
Captain will either slow the group down or pull the group over to the side of the road and wait for you to catch up.

Group Parking

Parking in an orderly method substantially reduces the time for all to get off the road and out of traffic. There is risk for injury for the last bikes that may be blocking the road in an attempt to stay with the group.

If there is room, each bike should pull ahead of the intended parking place and then back up into their spot. See image on the right. This can be done very fast because you don't have to wait for the bike ahead of you to finishing parking.

If you find yourself at the end of the group and can't get off the road while waiting for others to park, GO AROUND. come back a minute or two later when things have settled down and take your time.

For the "Bagger" drivers, don't forget your pipes. Everything is cool when you back up to the curb until you lean your bike over onto your kick stand and you bend and scratch your left pipe on the curb.

Front Road Captain/Ride Lead Duties:

Conduct a Safe Ride

Maintain a Safe Speed for Conditions and Rider's Capabilities
Signal Riders of Intended Lane Changes, Stops, Road Conditions and Formation Changes
Maintain Control and Integrity of the Group

Map the Route

Establish Rest Areas

Set Gas Stops about 100 mile intervals

Make allowances for Road Construction and Hazards
Brief Riders before the the ride: Explain the Ride Plans
Route to be taken
Length of the Ride
Scheduled Stops
Restroom Breaks
Identify when and where the Official Club Ride Starts and Ends
Identify other Road Captains for the Ride
Identify Rear Road Captain for the Ride
Explain the duties of the Road Captains

Question the Rider about any special need or concerns they may have:Medical
Small Gas Tanks and/or Bladders
Freeway Traffic
Twister Roads
Riding Position Explain the Club Rules for New Member and Guest Riders

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol before and during a Club Ride
Illegal Drugs - Never
Group Riding Rules
Hand Signals Along with the Rear Road Captain, do a bike and rider count.

Rear Road Captain Duties:

The Rear Road Captain serves as the eyes of the Ride Leader.

He watches the formation, and informs the Ride Leader of any potential problems within the group.

He watches other vehicles, and informs the Ride Leader (and anyone else with radios) of hazardous conditions approaching from the rear, such as vehicles trying to cut into the formation and trucks passing with potentially dangerous wind blasts.

He will watch for merging lanes, and will move into a merging lane (or stay in a merging lane just vacated by the group) in order to "close the door" on other vehicles that may otherwise find themselves trying to merge into the formation.

The Rear Road Captain changes lanes BEFORE the formation, to secure the lane so the formation can move into it safely.

The purpose of riding in an organized group instead of an undisciplined pack is to provide the additional safety that a well-organized group inherently
generates. This comes from within the group, as well as the outside. When a group rides in an orderly fashion, people do not get in each other’s way thereby creating unnecessary hazardous conditions. In addition the organization of the formation itself discourages cars from attempting to cut in, or as demonstrated by the gnu as it tries to cross the croc infested nile, there is safety in numbers.

Riding rules have been adopted by the organization, EVERYONE riding with the organization is expected to follow them. Anyone violating the rules, and compromising everyone else's safety, will be warned, and if their actions continue, will no longer be welcome to ride with the chapter. Members will be subject to fine.

The following rules are compiled from a number of sources. Most organizations that ride in orderly formations follow similar rules. Details may vary from one group to another, sometimes because of a particular style of riding by the group, or sometimes because there are a number of reasonable options, so they chose the one they prefer

•Be considerate - have a full tank BEFORE arriving at the departure point(unless the departure point is a gas station)
•Tell the Road Captains if you have any special concerns, i.e. speed, sharp corners, etc
•Tell the Road Captains if you plan to leave the group before the destination. Also tell the persons riding in front and behind you so they do not think you are having a problem.(particularly if you ride a honda,yamaha,suzuki)
•When a rider leaves the group while in staggered formation, the best way to compensate for the hole made by the absence is for each rider behind the missing bike to switch their lane position.
•Tell the Road Captain if your bike (or bladder) has an unusually short fuel range
•Bring adequate clothing for the weather conditions expected during the day.
•Remember to take some clear eye protection if the ride will extend into the evening.
•When exiting a freeway, keep up the pace so the riders behind you aren't forced to slow down while still on the freeway, thus becoming a traffic hazard.
•The position of new (inexperienced with GROUP riding) riders within the group is significant. New riders should be positioned as close to the front as possible.
•In the unlikely event of an emergency condition, the Road Captain will make every attempt to move the formation to the shoulder in an orderly manner. If a bike breaks down, let the rider move to the right. DO NOT STOP. The Middle or Rear Road Captain will stop with the problem bike. The ride Leader will lead the group to a safe stopping place.

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