impaX July August 06.indd

throaty roar and flashes of
sunlight from the chrome
and custom paint on James
V. “Butch” Stubblefield’s
Harley-Davidson announces his arrival
in the parking lot in front of the Old
Brooke Army Medical Center on
Fort Sam Houston, Texas. As he
cruises into the lot, Stubblefield cuts
a narrow arc and rolls into a slot
dedicated for motorcycles, where
his Harley is far from alone. Next to
it sits a Japanese V-twin “retro” bike
reflecting styling cues from the classic
American-built Indian motorcycle.
A few slots down a brightly painted
Suzuki Hayabusa, boasted as the
world’s fastest production sport
bike, glows in the hot Texas sun.
Some of the world’s most classic
and exciting motorcycles rest on
two wheels and a kickstand in that
lot. Yet, diverse as these bikes are,
they have one thing in common—no
scratches, dents or dings. These
bikes don’t go sliding down the
road on their sides or tumbling into
ditches—their riders see to that.
Managing Editor
 
“The club’s goal was
to blend the traditional
bond between riders with
the ‘band of brothers’
feeling Soldiers have for
each other in a unit.”
They call themselves the Fort
Sam Rough Riders Motorcycle Riding
Club. They proudly wear their
club’s patch and they’ll tell you in a
heartbeat they’re not an “outlaw”
motorcycle club. They’re not
interested in sharing the reputation
outlaw clubs have for riding on
the wrong side of the law. Still,
wearing patches and being part of
a group has a powerful attraction,
one familiar to Soldiers who’ve
known the camaraderie and pride
of belonging to a proud unit. For
three years, the Rough Riders* have
molded that pride into a passion for
riding expertly and safely. And at
a time when motorcycle accidents
are killing an increasing number
of Soldiers, the Rough Riders can
claim an accident-free record.
The club started in 2003 when
Stubblefield, an Army civilian at
the United States Army South
(USARSO), began riding with two
other riders in the organization,
Ezell Powell and MAJ Juan Rosas.
Stubblefield explained, “We got to
talking and thought, ‘Why don’t we
start something—there are a lot of
motorcycle riders in USARSO. …
It’s a lot more fun to ride in a group
than it is to ride individually. It’s safer
and cars seem to see you more.’”
Camaraderie played a big part
in the decision to start the club.
The club’s goal was to blend the
traditional bond between riders
with the “band of brothers” feeling
Soldiers have for each other in a unit.
Also, there’s safety in numbers
when motorcycles hit the road.
“When you ride as an individual,
you’re by yourself in the lane.”
Stubblefield said. “When you ride in
a group, you’re staggered (bikes on
the left and right sides of the lane)
and fill the lane. If drivers don’t see
one rider, they’ll see another.”
The visibility issue is important
to Stubblefield. While riding to
work one morning, his HarleyDavidson was rear-ended at a
stoplight by a careless driver (see
the article “Only One Chance”).
Visibility wasn’t the only issue
the group could affect. Motorcycle
clubs develop their own culture, one
that determines how members ride.
That culture can promote either
riding recklessly or responsibly.
When Powell, a sport bike rider,
was assigned to Fort Huachuca,
Ariz., in 2000, he discovered the
local off-post riding club had a
“keep up or shut up” culture. As a
result, riders often ended their ride
in an ambulance. To counter that,
Powell started a club focused on
safe riding and providing a familyfriendly environment. To make the
club part of the post and have access
to the facilities for family events, he
applied through Morale, Welfare and
Recreation (MWR) for approval as a
private organization. In the process,
he developed the necessary bylaws
and constitution for the club. The
club succeeded and motorcycle
accidents dropped off. Powell’s
experience would prove invaluable
when he came to USARSO in 2004.
Powell wasn’t alone when it came
to starting a riding club for Soldiers.
A year earlier, Stubblefield took a
less formal route to encourage riders
at his organization to ride together
under the name USARSO Riders.
Using e-mail, talking to people and
handing out cards, he created a
contact list to alert members about
rides and invite them to come along.
The idea proved popular and, as
the list grew, Stubblefield expanded
membership beyond USARSO to
include other interested riders
on post. He also began working
with the installation safety office to
get Motorcycle Safety Foundation
(MSF) training for riders, ultimately
scheduling 18 of them for the
Experienced RiderCourseSM. As
new motorcycle riders checked
out the club, they were paired with
experienced riders for a six-month
trial period. If they rode safely and
showed they had the skills, they
could be voted in as members (see
the related article, “Mentorship from
the Start”). When Powell arrived
in 2004, he encouraged a break
with tradition, resulting in cruisers
and sport bikes riding together in
the club. Late in 2005, the club
decided to seek official recognition
on post. Using his past experience
at Fort Huachuca, Powell helped
draft the club’s constitution and
bylaws as Stubblefield applied to
MWR for approval as a non-profit
organization. Approval would
allow them to meet on post and
also sponsor rides supporting
local charities dedicated to helping
injured Soldiers and their families.
Still, there were several bumps
in the road. No one had ever
created a motorcycle club at Fort
Sam Houston, and MWR personnel
were uncertain how to handle
the request. Also, Stubblefield
found Army regulations wouldn’t
allow him to use his unit as part
of the club’s name. Realizing they
could no longer be the USARSO
Riders but still wanting a name
with a distinctly Army flavor, they
decided on the Fort Sam Rough
Riders Motorcycle Riding Club.
Following protocol, Stubblefield
contacted all area motorcycle
clubs to ensure there weren’t
any problems with the Rough
Riders name, patch or purpose.
Army Regulation 210-22 set
forth other requirements. Among
those, the club had to be approved
by the post commander, couldn’t
hold the government liable for the
club’s actions or debts and had to
furnish copies of its constitution
and bylaws for review. Finding
 
insurance to cover the club and
protect its members from any
liability issues was very challenging.
However, Stubblefield eventually
located a company that was willing
to provide adequate insurance at
a charge within the club’s means.
The timing, however, was
perfect. The club’s move to be
recognized on Fort Sam Houston
coincided with the start of the
Army Motorcycle Mentorship
Program’s (MMP) test phase.
Although fine-tuning his letter
to MWR to gain permission to
operate as a private organization
took a lot of effort, Stubblefield
eventually gained the needed
approval. At the same time, Powell
compared the club’s constitution
and bylaws to those proposed
under the MMP. He found only
a few minor differences, which
were easy to reconcile. What was
perhaps more amazing was the
club’s leaders and the creators
of the MMP had independently
arrived at the same destination.
The story could happily end
at this point—but there’s much
more. Experience has shown
that MSF training, good as it is,
doesn’t guarantee riders will be
safe. Ultimately, the rider must
choose to be safe. But what does
it take to get riders to make that
choice? Seeking the answer to that
question has been frustrating. The
good news is the Rough Riders
have found a powerful, effective
answer. Read about it in the article
titled “Motivating the Rider.”
*Editor’s Note: The shortened
name “Rough Riders” in this issue
of ImpaX refers only to the club
operating out of Fort Sam Houston,
Texas. There is a separate nationwide
“Rough Riders Motorcycle Club”
dedicated to supporting veterans.
Contact the author at (334) 2552688, DSN 558-2688, or by e-mail at
Contact James V. Stubblefield by
e-mail at james.v.stubblefield@us.
Contact Ezell Powell by e-mail at
he concept of mentoring
new riders at Fort Sam
Houston, Texas, did not
begin with the Army’s
Motorcycle Mentorship Program
(MMP). Long before, James V.
Stubblefield and Ezell Powell,
leaders of the Fort Sam Rough
Riders Motorcycle Riding Club,
had seen the need as they rode
the streets of San Antonio. While
the MMP was just beginning its sixmonth testing phase, the Rough
Riders, developed from the earlier
USARSO* Riders, already had
more than two years’ experience.
In fact, the need to mentor new
riders was one of the reasons the
club was originally established.
“Soldiers who’d never ridden
before were going out and buying
massive bikes,” Stubblefield said.
He explained he met a number
of these riders and decided to
ride with a couple to see how
they handled themselves on
the road. It wasn’t pretty.
“One guy was riding around
wearing earphones and listening
to his radio while jumping out
in front of traffic,” Stubblefield
said. “I was thinking, ‘Whoa,
whoa, whoa—what are you
doing? Slow down—don’t be
in a hurry, we’ll get there.’ At
that point, I realized there were
people out there who had no
clue what they were doing.”
Managing Editor
To learn more about the Army’s
Motorcycle Mentorship Program, visit the
program’s Web site at
The answer, as Stubblefield saw it,
was to pair these people with more
experienced riders. Ideally, those riders
would be NCOs whose built-in leadership
skills would make them effective trainers.
Riders fresh out of Motorcycle Safety
Foundation (MSF) training would be
assigned a mentor for the first six months
they rode with the club. The mentor’s
job would be to ensure the new rider
practiced his MSF skills without developing
bad habits in the process. One advantage
the Rough Riders riding club had was
they included cruisers and sport bikes.
That made it possible to match riders
and mentors with similar riding tastes.
Beyond reinforcing MSF training,
mentors would also teach new riders
practical lessons about riding safety that
only experience can bring. For instance,
Stubblefield said, riders who’ve pulled
into a spot in a parking lot can’t assume
they’re safe. Because vehicles parked
on either side can hide their motorcycles
from view, riders can be hit by drivers
hurriedly pulling in to slots they think are
empty. Then there is the problem of
tailgating. Stubblefield said riders must
constantly watch the driver behind them
and gauge that driver’s ability to stop in
an emergency. It’s essential, he added,
riders ensure they have an escape route
to avoid being crushed by a tailgating car.
Another part of mentoring is helping
new riders select their first motorcycle
(see the related article “Matching Riders
to Machines”). Mentors can pair new
riders with bikes they can control and
enjoy riding. All too often, unmentored
riders buy more machine than they can
handle. After dropping these bikes or
sliding them down the road, riders often
sell them, taking a big financial loss and
choosing never to ride again. The goal
of motorcycle mentorship is not only
to keep riders safe, it’s also to make
sure riding is an enjoyable part of a
person’s life for many years to come.
*USARSO (United States Army South),
Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
the Rider
Soldier graduates Motorcycle Safety
Foundation (MSF) training and within
days kills himself on his bike. You
say, “That’s not supposed to happen!”
The truth is, however, it does. In fact, several
recent Army motorcycle fatalities fit all or part
of that description. What is becoming obvious
is training, by itself, doesn’t make a safe rider.
There has to be something more—something
that motivates them to choose to ride safely.
But what is that “something?” Answering
that question has been a challenge for
those dedicated to motorcycle safety. The
good news is an effective answer lies in
something tried and true—the familiar
tools used by the Army to build espritde-corps—pride, honor and a sense of
belonging. Here’s how it works for the Fort
Sam Rough Riders Motorcycle Riding Club.
• Membership is an earned privilege—
you have to prove you’re worthy to ride with
the club. You do that by getting trained
and consistently demonstrating the right
skills and attitude. The group disciplines
itself and will not tolerate riders who ignore
safety and imperil other club members.
• Wearing the group’s patch is a
badge of distinction, one that marks
out riders as part of something special.
Only those who prove themselves safe,
skillful riders get to wear that patch.
• The “Rough Riders” name speaks of a
brave moment in Army history. Members are
proud to wear that name because they, like the
famed Rough Riders of the Spanish-American
War, serve as volunteers in the Army.
Managing Editor
• The club is by and for Soldiers. Nobody
forced it on them, they created it themselves.
That allows Soldiers the pride of ownership.
• The club rides teach teamwork
and discipline, helping riders hone
their skills and rewarding them with
a pride born of proficiency.
• By sponsoring and participating
in rides supporting military charities,
the group honors fellow Soldiers and
their families. By riding for something
more than themselves, riders bring
respect upon themselves and the club.
Rider mentoring clubs are desperately
needed, according to Rough Rider’s President
James V. Stubblefield, to counter other
groups that might attract Soldiers and lead
them to ride dangerously. He’s convinced
giving Soldiers a positive alternative will
drive down the Army’s motorcycle fatality
rates—keeping Soldiers in uniform and
fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters alive
for their families. And his belief is based
upon something more than hope. During
the three years the Rough Riders and the
earlier USARSO* Riders have existed, not a
single member has had an at-fault accident
or gotten a ticket. Success is success. How
can you argue with a perfect record?
Contact the author at (334) 255-2688,
DSN 558-2688, or by e-mail at robert.
Contact the author at (334) 255-2688,
DSN 558-2688, or by e-mail at robert.
 
Managing Editor
iding with the Fort
Sam Rough Riders
Motorcycle Riding
Club means upholdi
to prot
standards designed
d ensure
the club’s in
member safety. The
for club
and responsibilities
members are listed
1. Members will, ab
all, uphold the basic
principles of hono
respect, support, loy
and commitment.
2. When representin
the club on
ers will
installation, all memb
with the
conduct themselves
e club’s
highest regard for th
b must not
principles. The clu
be tarnished by unre
of fellow
behavior, disrespect
citizens, or acts that
e club’s
reflect poorly on th
image and
3. Members will not
endanger the club or
act or
member by an illegal
acts. If a member is
for illegal activity, th
sp ded
automatically be su
and, if
from club activities
found guilty of the off
dismissed from the
4. All club members
obtain the mi
clothing items
by the Motorcycle Sa
ter) while
installation they en
rcycle as a
operating th
b vehicles
club member. All clu
must have, as a mini
ich must
liability insu
st one club
be verified by at lea
mbers must
officer. All club me
es on their
have safe (legal) tir
b functions
bikes during all clu
or rides. No club ve
will be allow
n with
in any publi
major damage. Each
r and
serves as a safet
is responsible to
and correct any cond
lfare of
that threatens
club members
public. Any wi
by a
unsafe riding wi
fellow club me
result in denial
Members may
case at the next me
5. Activities will be
ation by
to encourage particip
so, no
all club members. Al
laws will be enacted
favor or separate me
by type of motorcyc
e in an
6. No member will rid
impaired physical co
try to
Members will
s from
prevent other
riding in an im
7. Members will alw
hold the club in high
A member will neve
r angrily
accost, assault, or sla
nder any
other fellow club m
members during clu
b meetings
or any club functio
especially in the pr
esence of
family members an
d/or minors.
8. Members
will embrace
and encourage
12. Illegal drug us
e by
any club member wi
an atmosphere
ll not
be tolerated. If a m
of skill
of the club is confirm
ed to
be a user or distribu
r of
riding and riding en
illegal drugs, he/sh
e will be
while discouraging
removed from the clu
aggressive, competit
ive, and
13. The Executive
potentially self-destr
has the authority to
riding behaviors.
club members for co
9. Potential new
that is not in keepin
members must mee
the standards of th
t all club
prerequisites, to in
and is in violation
two rides with the
11 and 12 above. A
and reading and sig
vote by the club mem
all club documenta
present can be used
before final membe
any member for vio
rship is
granted. No individ
of club rules. Mem
ual will
bers will
be denied entry base
be required to discus
d on
s the
race, creed, religion
proposed action in
, or sex.
an open
forum with all mem
10. All candidates for
present before a vo
club membership m
te is cast
pertaining to the di
possess a motorcycle
, or plan
a club member. Th
to obtain one, befor
e club
e final
President and Vice
membership is gran
will inform verbally
and in
11. There will be no
writing any membe
who, af ter
alcoholic beverages
a vote of the membe
hip, is
during club meetin
dismissed from mem
gs. Abusive
language (profanity
) of any
type, or illegal subs
individual member
of the club will accu
are prohibited for an
y club
debt or obligate the
club in
 
any financial contra
ct except
members of the Exec
Board. Any debt or
entered into must be
the best interests of
the club.
All club obligations
will be
presented to the ge
membership at the
scheduled meeting
and can
be nullified by a majo
rity vote
of club members pr
15. If a member is
terminated from th
e club, he
or she will not be all
owed to
participate in club
activities or
display the club patch
. The club
emblem must be re
moved from
the ex-member’s m
16. All club membe
rs are
adults and will be tre
ated as
such during club m
functions and deali
17. The club will ho
regular meetings to
club business and ex
the charter and bylaw
of the organization.
18. The club will co
to all guidelines in
210-22 and operate
as a
private organizatio
n on
Fort Sam Houston,
ack in the 1960s and 70s, it was common
for young riders with limited budgets
to start off on small bikes like the
Honda 90. These low-powered
machines may not have provided thrilling
performance, but they normally allowed
riders to survive and learn from their
mistakes. Such is not always the case
today. New riders, and others with
limited experience, are buying machines
that easily eclipse the most potent 1970s
bikes. Without an adequate learning curve
to help them, these riders sometimes get
into deadly trouble. Just check the excerpts
from the Preliminary Loss Reports below:
The 30-year-old SSG was riding a 2006
Suzuki GSX 1300 RK6 Hayabusa when he
lost control just before entering a 35-mph
curve. The motorcycle struck the curb, left
the road and ejected the SSG into a pine tree.
He was taken to a local medical facility,
where he later died from blunt force
trauma to the chest. The Suzuki
Web site states the Hayabusa
is “the fastest production
bike on the planet.” The
Soldier was wearing all
required PPE, was properly
licensed and had completed
the Army-approved
Managing Editor
Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. The
investigative police officer stated speed
and inattentiveness were factors.
The 22-year-old SGT was riding a 2003
Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle with two other
motorcyclists when he entered a curve,
braked quickly and was thrown into the
 
guardrail head first. The other motorcyclists
turned around and flagged down several
motorists for assistance. The NCO was
wearing a DOT-approved helmet and
required PPE. … Speeding was a factor.
Picking a “first” bike
While high-powered sports bikes aren’t
the smart choice for inexperienced riders,
few would want to start out on a moped.
Because new riders sometimes don’t know
what bike is best for them, members
of the Fort Sam Rough Riders
Motorcycle Riding Club
at Fort Sam Houston,
Texas, will help
them. As part of their
mentorship program,
club members will
accompany prospective
buyers and help them
select motorcycles
matched to their skills
and riding style.
How important can
that be? Club President
James V. Stubblefield tells
a story about a new
rider who bought a
Ducati motorcycle,
rode it across the
dealership lot and
then dropped
it while turning
onto the street. The
Soldier picked up the
bike, rode it a couple of
blocks and dropped it
again. The Soldier again
picked up his bike, rode
it a few more blocks
and dropped it a third
time. Discouraged and
realizing he’d made
a mistake, he called
a friend to come get
him. Together, they
loaded the bike onto
a pickup, drove to the
post’s “Lemon Lot”
and put the bike up for
sale. The bike, now
used and damaged,
sold for a lot less
than the Soldier paid
for it. An expensive
lesson learned.
That mistake doesn’t
have to be repeated.
Stubblefield described
how mentors help
new riders select bikes
they’ll be happy with.
“Experience is the
number one thing—if
the rider has ever
ridden or not,” he said.
That issue is important,
Stubblefield explained,
because some riders
are returning to
motorcycling after
a break of several
years, while other
riders are to new to
the sport. Returning
riders, despite having
past experience, can
be rusty on their
skills, requiring their
own learning curve.
Matching riders
to the right-size
bike is also essential,
Stubblefield said. He
checks riders to see if
they can place both feet
flat on the ground while
sitting on the bike. “I
want to know if you
can touch the ground
and maneuver the bike
… and if the bike falls
over, can you pick up?”
While Stubblefield
rides a HarleyDavidson cruiser, Ezell
Powell, the club’s vice
president, rides a sport
bike. Understanding
the power of these
machines, he offers new
riders an opportunity
to test ride his Suzuki
1000 at low speeds
in a controlled
environment. If, after
the test, the rider
wants a sport bike,
Powell will suggest a
smaller-engine model
that will allow the
rider to develop his
skills before tackling
something larger.
Unfortunately, some
riders jump the gun.
“One of the things
I’ve seen in the sport
bike community is guys
trying to move up too
fast. … I’ve seen guys
start out on a (Suzuki)
Hayabusa, and that’s
not a starter bike,”
Powell said. Such
riders, he explained,
often make that choice
thinking they might as
well start off with the
bike they’ll end up with.
Unfortunately, that
choice leaves them few
chances for mistakes
and typically leads
Managing Editor
I didn’t
him!”—that’s the
standard excuse most
drivers use after hitting a
motorcyclist. However,
when a motorcycle is
the size of a longhorn
steer, is covered in
chrome, has shining tail
lights and pipes louder
than thunder, how can
a driver fail to “see” it?
Yet, as Jim Stubblefield,
to serious problems.
Some riders have
close calls or serious
accidents and give up
riding. Others are
disappointed because
they invested heavily in
a motorcycle they don’t
enjoy riding. Finally,
some don’t survive
their mistakes to go
on to be better riders.
These are all things,
Powell said, the club
is trying to prevent.
president of the Fort Sam
Rough Riders Motorcycle
Riding Club explained,
it sometimes happens.
“I was stopped at a
red light, going to work at
6:30 in the morning,” he
said. “I was wearing my
helmet and all my safety
gear, including boots,
long pants, long-sleeve
shirt, full-fingered gloves
and reflective vest.”
As he waited at the
light, he did what he’d
been taught three weeks
Stubblefield and
Powell offered the
following suggestions
for first-time riders
selecting a motorcycle.
Stubblefield said most
new riders drop their
bikes several times and
suggested they look
for a used bike with
a smaller engine—
perhaps in the 250cc
range. Not only are
these machines easier
to ride and less likely to
be dropped, but when
they are, the result isn’t
hundreds of dollars in
damage. Such bikes,
he said, can always be
sold to someone else
when the rider is ready
for something bigger.
Powell added riders
also have the option
of buying new bikes
designed for first-time
sport bike and cruiser
riders. Example of such
bikes are the * Kawasaki
e Motorcycle
Information on th
s rider
Safety Foundation’
s and locations
training program
eir Web site
can be found on th
at http://www.msf
 
Ninja® EX250 sport
bike and Honda’s Rebel
250 cruiser. These
250cc machines allow
riders to have fun while
working their way up
the learning curve.
New riders are more
likely to become lifelong riders when they
learn in manageable
steps, not uncontrolled
slides and collisions.
These motorcycles
are mentioned as
examples; however,
their mention neither
represents nor implies
Army endorsement
of these products.
Contact the author at
(334) 255-2688, DSN
558-2688, or by e-mail at
* Editor’s Note:
earlier when he took the
Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s
(MSF) Experienced
RiderCourse training. Pressing
downward with his right foot
on the rear brake and squeezing
the front brake lever with his
right hand, he used his left foot
to hold the bike up. As he
sat there and waited for the
light to change, a careless and
hurried driver slammed into
the back of his motorcycle.
The impact threw Stubblefield
over the handlebars and onto
the street ahead, where he
wound up flat on the ground.
At that moment, the fact
he’d followed his training and
had both brakes on suddenly
became very important.
“I believed that’s what
saved me because my
motorcycle stopped the car,”
he said. “If the bike had
rolled forward, it probably
would have flipped over on
top of me, and I would have
been banged up really bad.”
Instead of landing on top
of him, Stubblefield’s Harley
took the impact, rolled forward
slightly and then fell and
stopped the car behind. The
rear of the bike was smashed,
but Stubblefield got up and
walked away, no worse for
wear other than just a little
soreness. When he took off
his helmet, he saw a gash in
the back where it had hit the
street—mute testimony to
the value of having worn it.
Because Stubblefield
followed his MSF training and
wore his helmet, he survived
an accident he couldn’t
have anticipated or avoided.
When motorcycles compete
with cars on the highway,
sometimes riders get only
one chance to get it right.
Contact the author at (334)
255-2688, DSN 558-2688,
or by e-mail at robert.
National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration
It’s clear—helmets save lives. Motorcycle riders who do not wear
helmets are 40 percent more likely to incur fatal head injuries
than riders who do. From 1984 through 1990, helmets saved the
lives of more than 4,740 motorcyclists. To help protect the lives
of motorcycle riders, the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) requires all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States
meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
 
wear these novelty
helmets know they
are unsafe—but wear
them anyway. The
following information
will tell you how to
spot these unsafe
novelty helmets and
how to distinguish them
from helmets that meet
the federal safety standard.
Items to check for:
• DOT Sticker
Helmets that meet
FMVSS 218 must have a
sticker on the outside back
with the letters DOT, which
certifies the helmet meets
or exceeds FMVSS 218. It
is important to note some
sellers of novelty helmets
provide DOT stickers
separately for motorcyclists
to place on non-complying
helmets. In this case, the
DOT sticker is invalid and
does not certify compliance.
Helmets that meet
FMVSS 218 must
have a sticker on
the outside back
with the letters
DOT, which certifies
the helmet meets or
exceeds FMVSS 218.
Each year, DOT conducts
compliance testing on
a variety of motorcycle
helmets to determine
whether helmets being
sold in the United States
meet the federal safety
standard. Because helmets
add such a critical margin
of safety for motorcycle
riders, many states now
have laws requiring the
use of helmets that meet
FMVSS 218 requirements.
Increasingly, though,
motorcycle riders are
violating these state laws by
wearing cheap and unsafe
helmets that do not meet
FMVSS 218. Most of these
helmets are sold as novelty
items by unscrupulous
merchants to circumvent the
FMVSS 218 requirements. In
some cases, people purchase
these helmets in the mistaken
belief they offer protection.
However, many people who
Novelty helmets not only
waste money, they waste
lives. This novelty helmet
failed its wearer, resulting
in horrific head injuries.
Remember, a DOT sticker on
the back of the helmet and
proper inside labeling do not
necessarily prove a helmet
meets all DOT requirements.
 
The symbol
“DOT” constitutes
the manufacturer’s
certification the
helmet conforms to
the applicable Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety
Standards. This
symbol shall
appear on the
outer surface in a
color that
contrasts with the background
in letters at least 3/8 of an inch
high and centered laterally
approximately 1 1/4 inches
from the bottom edge of the
posterior portion of the helmet.
An interpretation letter from
the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration states the
requirement that helmets be
permanently labeled and prohibits
the use of labels that can be
removed by hand without tools
or chemicals. Therefore, a sticker
that falls off the helmet would not
appear to be in compliance within
the meaning of FMVSS 218.
• Snell or ANSI Sticker
In addition to the DOT
sticker, labels located inside the
helmet showing it meets the
standards of private organizations
like Snell or the American
National Standards Institute
(ANSI) are a good indicator the
helmet meets the federal safety
standard. To date, we have
never seen a novelty helmet that
has a phony DOT sticker plus a
phony Snell or ANSI sticker.
• Manufacturer’s Labeling
Manufacturers are required
by FMVSS 218 to place a label on
or inside the helmet stating the
manufacturer’s name, model, size,
month and year of manufacture,
construction materials, and
owner information. A cheap
helmet that does not meet the
federal safety standard usually
does not have such a label.
• Thick Inner Liner
Helmets meeting the minimum
federal safety standard have an
inner liner—usually about 1-inch
thick—of firm polystyrene foam.
Sometimes the inner liner will
not be visible, but you should
still be able to feel its thickness.
Unsafe helmets normally contain
only soft foam padding or a bare
plastic shell with no foam at all.
• Sturdy Chin Straps
Helmets meeting the DOT
safety standard have sturdy
chin straps with solid rivets.
• Weight of Helmet
Depending on design, unsafe
helmets weigh only 1 pound or
less—helmets meeting FMVSS
218 weigh about 3 pounds.
Become familiar with the weight
of helmets that comply with
the federal safety standard.
They feel more substantial.
• Design/Style of Helmet
The DOT safety standard
does not allow anything to
extend further than 2/10 of
an inch from the surface of a
helmet. For example, while visor
fasteners are allowed, a spike
or other protruding decoration
indicates an unsafe helmet.
A design such as the German
Army style or skullcap style may
be a clue to an unsafe helmet.
Unsafe helmets are noticeably
smaller in diameter and thinner
than one meeting the DOT
standard. However, some German
Army-style helmets may meet
federal requirements. You’ll need
to check for weight, thickness
and sturdy chin straps, as well as
the “DOT” and manufacturer’s
labels, to make sure the helmet
meets the federal safety standard.
Try to become familiar with
brand names and designs of
helmets that comply with DOT
requirements. For example, a fullface design is a good indicator of a
safe helmet. We have never seen
a full-face design novelty helmet.
Remember, a DOT sticker on
the back of the helmet and proper
inside labeling do not necessarily
prove a helmet meets all DOT
requirements. Many helmets have
phony DOT stickers and a limited
few also have manufacturer’s
labeling. But the design and weight
of a helmet, thickness of the
inner liner, and quality of the chin
strap and rivets are extra clues
to help distinguish safe helmets
from non-complying ones.
CP-12 Safety Intern
ust buy a used bike?
All shined up and
looks really sharp,
right? So you throw
your leg over the seat
and take off, eager to
ride your new machine.
But did you really check
the bike closely, or
were you so hot to ride
you missed something?
Could be you might
end your ride on your
head—not on your
bike. Here’s my story.
It was early March
and the weather was
beginning to warm up in
Oklahoma. With nice
riding weather coming, I
purchased a used Suzuki
1100. Before I bought
the bike, I took it for a
test ride and everything
seemed fine. That was
good enough for me.
The guy I bought it from
said he’d just completely
disassembled the bike
and repainted it. I never
bothered to inspect the
motor, wheels, bearings
or any other part of
the bike. It looked and
rode good, and that’s all
I cared about. It never
occurred to me how
important it might be to
closely inspect the front
wheel and all its parts.
Early one morning, I
decided to take about a
45-minute trip on my bike
to a neighboring town
to visit some friends.
Although it was March,
it still got quite cool at
times, so I wore my
coveralls over my jeans
and jacket. Oklahoma
didn’t have a helmet
law then, and I usually
didn’t wear my helmet.
However, I decided to
wear it that day to keep
my ears warm. Thank
God for the cool weather!
About 15 minutes
into my trip, I felt a great
jolt in the front forks
and wheel. Before I
could put my foot on the
brake, it happened again
and the bike flipped end
over end. I was thrown
clear, but I was going
so fast I went bouncing
and rolling for nearly
50 yards. Fortunately, I
didn’t get tangled up in
the bike. The bike was
trashed and I’d broken
my wrist, dislocated my
shoulder and had some
serious road rash. I credit
my helmet and extra
clothing with saving
my life and preventing
worse injuries.
In the end, I
discovered there was
only one bolt holding
the front fender when
there should have been
two. When that bolt
eventually vibrated
loose, the fender fell
onto the front tire and
caused the bike to flip.
Had I taken the time to
completely inspect the
bike before I bought
it, I might have saved
myself a lot of pain and
money. Truth be told,
 
I never did inspect the
bike during the month I
had it before I crashed.
I learned a couple
of good lessons out
of this. Helmets are
valuable for more than
just keeping your ears
warm. When you get
into trouble, there’s no
time to grab your helmet
and put it on. You need
to be wearing it where
it will do you the most
good—on your head.
Also, failing to
completely inspect
a motorcycle before
buying and riding it
can be a financially and
physically costly mistake.
Just because a bike looks
good doesn’t mean it
is. And just because
everything seems OK
during the test ride
doesn’t mean there
isn’t a hidden problem
waiting to bite you. As I
found out, it’s better to
check it than wreck it.
Contact the author at (405)
739-3263, or by e-mail
at leonard.mcmillen@us.
very Saturday morning you’ll see them gathered
outside the Townhouse Food Court on Yongsan
Main Post, Korea. They’re Soldiers, retired
military, Army civilians, contractors, Korean
nationals and people from just about anywhere. While they
come from many different backgrounds, what they have in
common is their love for motorcycling. Before the sun climbs
much above the horizon, the rumble of motorcycle engines
reverberating in the Land of the Morning Calm will signal the
Yongsan “RoadDragons” Motorcycle Club are on the road.
North and South Korea as much as
a Soldier lost in training. Before
Composite Risk Management (CRM)
was defined, they recognized successful
It’s not the first time the group
safety programs preserved combat
has taken to the road for an all-day
power, effectively becoming a force
cruise or an overnight trip. Since the
multiplier in the face of risk. But
early 1980s, the club’s riders have
maybe best of all, they understood
toured the roads of Korea, seeing
Soldiers who chose to be safe off duty
and enjoying the fascinating land
often brought that attitude on post.
around them. From the start, they
Yet, the RoadDragon’s focus
understood riding requires complex
isn’t entirely limited to
skills beginners don’t have and can’t
meetings or events.
expect to master on their own.
as a private
Long before the Army’s Motorcycle
the Area
Mentorship Program
II commander’s
(MMP) came into
being, the club
began pairing
For more information on the
experienced riders
RoadDragons, visit their Web site program, they
with novices to
provide a forum
develop those
for motorcycle
skills. Early on,
leaders in Korea recognized safety
do that by conducting mentorship
and readiness were two strands of
training seminars to improve rider
the same rope. They understood a
skills, educating members on how
Soldier lost in a motorcycle accident
CRM can help them when riding
weakened the uneasy line separating
and conducting clinics on purchasing
and maintaining motorcycles.
Safety is a built-in requirement for
membership. To join the club, riders
must have a Motorcycle
Safety Foundation (MSF)
course completion card, a
motorcycle endorsement on
their United States Forces, Korea
license, and maintain insurance as
required by Korean and U.S. law.
In addition to riding, the club
promotes a positive relationship
with the surrounding community by
sponsoring a local orphanage and a
motorcycle shop. Club members
actively support the Korean Association
of Retired Persons and participate
in the HI-Seoul City Festival. The
RoadDragons also support community
events including the Fourth of July
and Columbus Day parades, the Area
II Auto-Bike Show, the Combined
Federal Campaign Organization
Day and the Veterans Day Ride.
Club Safety and Maintenance
Officer Sam Berry said the club’s
goal is to support the command’s
emphasis on safety while also fostering
Korean and American relations. He
explained that by meeting and riding
with local Korean clubs, members
of both organizations can share their
experiences and lessons learned.
This forum, he added, is particularly
valuable because it allows the
RoadDragons to learn about specific
safety concerns when riding in Korea.
This interaction between an Armyrecognized club and local national
clubs benefits both groups. “Together,
we can and will make riding in Korea
a safe and enjoyable experience
for all motorcyclists,” Berry said.
Editor’s Note: This article was
adapted from a story printed in
The Morning Calm newspaper.
 
isted below are selected
motorcycle recalls and a
helmet recall issued by
the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) during 2005. If you
own one of the listed vehicles,
contact your nearest dealership
to have the problem corrected.
If you purchased a used
motorcycle, provide your nearest
dealership with your vehicle
model, year of manufacture
and vehicle identification
number to find out if there is
a recall. For recalls on 2004
and earlier motorcycles, you
can visit the NHTSA Web page
• 1200LT. Defect: On
certain motorcycles, at lower
temperatures, wiring within
the anti-theft control unit may
press against the fuel pump relay.
The fuel pump relay contacts
could open, interrupting the fuel
supply to the engine, resulting in
stalling. If stalling were to occur,
the driver would be unable to
maintain speed or accelerate,
increasing the risk of a crash.
• R1200GS. Defect: On
certain motorcycles, exposure
of the throttle housing to
road debris could restrict the
movement of the throttle cable
pulley. That, in turn, could
affect throttle operation and
increase the risk of a crash.
• R1200GS. Defect: On
certain motorcycles, an adapter
in the rear brake line connects
a rigid section to a flexible
section. If the rigid section is
not properly engaged in the
adapter, it is possible for a leak
to develop. This will result in a
loss of brake fluid, reducing or
eliminating rear braking capability
and increasing the risk of a
crash. For more information,
owners should contact
BMW at 1-800-831-1117.
• Sportster, Dyna and Softail.
Defect: Certain motorcycles
have been produced with
defective fuel shutoff valves
where the “On” and “Reserve”
positions have been reversed.
If the bike is operated with
the valve in the “On” position,
the bike could run out of fuel,
increasing the risk of a crash.
• Dyna, XL, Softail and
V-Rod. Defect: On certain
motorcycles, a condition occurs
that could allow pressure to
build up in the fuel tank. On
fuel-injected vehicles, this
condition could cause fuel to
spray out unexpectedly when
the fuel cap is removed. On
carbureted vehicles, excessive
fuel could be transferred to
the carburetor, which would
eventually allow fuel to drip from
the air cleaner. These situations
create a fire hazard that could
cause serious personal injury to
riders. For more information,
owners should contact HarleyDavidson at 414-342-4080.
• Hammer. Defect: On
certain motorcycles, the fuel
supply hose leading from the
fuel tank to the fuel rail may be
incorrect for use in a pressurized
fuel system application and may
leak fuel or crack. Fuel leakage,
in the presence of an ignition
source, could result in a fire.
• Hammer, Kingpin, Ness
Kingpin, Ness Vegas, Vegas and
Vegas 8-Ball. Defect: On certain
motorcycles, the camshaft
chain drive sprocket located on
the crankshaft may have been
cracked upon installation. If
cracks are present, the sprocket
may fail and cause the engine to
lock up, which could cause the
operator to lose control and
increase the risk of a crash. For
more information, owners should
contact Victory at 763-417-8650.
Need for Speed?
D Co., 2-485 Regt.
Fort Jackson, S.C.
fter reading the May-June
issue of ImpaX and noting
the information dedicated to
motorcycle riding, I thought
I’d contribute a few thoughts that
might help your readers who enjoy
going fast on a motorcycle.
I have been on some form of
motorcycle for more than 30 years
and was a Harley-Davidson/Buell
test rider the year prior to my
deploying to Bosnia. I earned my
Road Race Competition License in
2003, and last year at the 22nd
annual Race of Champions, I
finished 14th in Expert Thunderbike
and 6th in Expert GT Lights.
The articles “The Need for Speed”
and “The Race” talked about how
important it is NOT to race on public
roads. Racing on the street can
cost a rider his license, his career
and even his life. Besides, riders
have the option of racing safely and
legally. By simply going online to, riders can
• VL800 and VZ 800. Defect:
On certain motorcycles, the
ignition switch wiring harness
may have been improperly routed
at the time of production. This
can cause the wiring harness to
rub against the clutch and cable
throttles. Continued rubbing
can lead to a short circuit which
may cause the engine to stall or
the lights to go out, increasing
the risk of a crash resulting
in serious injury or death.
• SV650 and SV1000S.
Defect: On certain Californiaspecification model motorcycles,
repeated stress from vibration
can cause a crack in the area
where the liquid/vapor separator
bracket is welded inside the
fuel tank. This can cause fuel
leakage to occur, which, in
the presence of an ignition
source, could result in a fire.
• AN650. Defect: On
certain scooters, the fuel pump
retaining ring may have been
improperly installed. If the
fuel pump retaining ring is not
properly seated on the fuel tank,
find local tracks and information
on how to enter races there.
Riders who head for the track
must be prepared with the proper
personal protective equipment
(PPE) and ready to have their
bikes given a safety inspection.
Riders who don’t have the required
race leathers can normally rent
them at the track. Riders are
also broken down into groups
according to their skill level to keep
the races competitive and safe.
The benefits of track racing
include legally running at high
speeds, knowing everyone else is
going in the same direction, having
 
the ring can be deformed during
normal expansion of the fuel
tank. This could cause a fuel
leak which, in the presence of an
ignition source, could result in a
fire and the risk of serious injury
or death. For more information,
owners should contact American
Suzuki at 714-572-1490.
• Rocket III. Defect: On
certain motorcycles, damage to
the oil seal occurred during final
assembly and could allow oil in
the drive unit to escape past the
seal. If undetected, the final drive
unit could run low on oil and
cause the rear wheel to lock up,
which could result in a crash.
• Daytona 955I, Speed
Triple, Sprint ST, Sprint ST ABS.
Defect: On certain motorcycles,
the lower bypass coolant hose
can rupture. A loss of coolant
from the engine can result in the
engine overheating and seizing,
which could result in a crash. For
more information, owners should
contact Triumph at 678-854-2010.
corner workers to assist you and
being in a controlled environment
free of cross traffic and other
hazards. In addition, tracks
often offer riders racing schools
and the chance to seek tips from
successful competition riders.
The “Don’t Be Hard Headed”
article hit an important point
often overlooked when it comes to
motorcycle PPE. Basically, don’t
add anything to your protective
equipment the manufacturer didn’t
design to be there. I made that
mistake once when I purchased a
new helmet that didn’t have the
color visor I wanted. I purchased an
• XVS11,
XV250 and
XVS65. Defect:
On certain
the mounting
hardware holding
the passenger seat
to the fender could
loosen due to the shifting of
the passenger’s weight. If the
mounting hardware becomes
loose enough, the passenger
seat can fall off the rear fender.
A passenger on the motorcycle
could lose balance and fall and
suffer serious injury or death.
Editor’s Note: This recall
affects 179,042 motorcycles.
• Virago 250, XT225T,
XT225TC, XV250T, XV250TC,
YW50T and Zuma. Defect:
On certain motorcycles and
scooters, the rear brake shoe
material could separate due
to improper adhesive curing.
If such separation occurs
during operation, rear-wheel
braking ability will be reduced
or lost, which could cause a
aftermarket stick-on piece to use.
Despite the manufacturer’s claims
otherwise, it came off and jammed
against my face while I was doing
approximately 160 mph at Daytona.
Just remember, performance
doesn’t always equal advertising.
Making sure your helmet fits
properly is also important. You
want a snug fit so your head won’t
move around and slam against
the inside of your helmet during
a crash. During the motorcycle
safety inspections I perform in my
company, I check the fit of each
rider’s helmet. I also inspect each
helmet for damage and check to
crash. For more information,
owners should contact
Yamaha at 1-800-889-2624.
Helmet Recall
Helmet City (HCI)
• HCI 100 and 100G (2004
and 2005). Defect: All sizes
of these helmets manufactured
between Oct. 1, 2004, and
April 29, 2005, fail to meet the
retention standards of Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard
No. 218. The stitching on the
right-side ear flap is insufficient.
In the event of a crash, the ear
flap can rip and leave the wearer
unprotected, possibly resulting
in head injuries. For more
information, owners should
contact HCI at 888-550-3731.
make sure it has the proper safety
ratings. The DOT certification is the
most common standard; however,
if you purchase a helmet which
also includes a SNELL rating, then
you’re getting an even safer helmet
tested to a tougher standard. Also,
if a rider’s helmet has been in an
accident, I tell that rider to replace
it because that helmet can no
longer be trusted to meet the safety
standards it was certified for.
The most important piece
of safety gear is riding with the
proper attitude. You’ll have more
fun if you avoid letting your
intentions overcome your abilities.
The following reports reflect accidents that
have happened to Soldiers while riding
their privately owned motorcycles (POM).
Class A
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when he failed to
negotiate a curve. The
Soldier sustained injury
to his vertebrae and
is paralyzed from the
waist down. The Soldier
was wearing a helmet.
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when he reportedly
struck a vehicle on the
side. The Soldier was
pronounced dead at
the scene. The Soldier
was wearing his helmet
and personal protective
equipment (PPE).
• A Soldier was
operating a motorcycle
when a highway patrol
car reportedly pulled
out in front of him. The
Soldier lost control of
his motorcycle, resulting
in an accident in which
the Soldier was fatally
injured. The Soldier was
wearing his helmet.
• A Soldier was
operating a motorcycle
when a vehicle pulled
out in front of him. The
Soldier struck the rear
of the vehicle and was
pronounced dead at the
scene. Helmet and PPE
use were not reported.
• A Soldier was
fatally injured when
he lost control of his
motorcycle, hit a curb
and overturned. The
Soldier was transported
to a medical facility,
where he died from his
injuries. The Soldier was
not wearing a helmet.
• A Soldier lost
control of his motorcycle
on a road that had
transitioned to gravel.
The Soldier, who was
not wearing his helmet,
suffered fatal injuries
when he was thrown
from the motorcycle.
• An Army Reserve
Soldier was en route to
inactive duty training
when his motorcycle
was forced off the road
by a tractor-trailer. The
Soldier lost control and
overturned. He later
died from his injuries.
• A Soldier lost
control of his motorcycle
when the road he was
traveling on curved
left near a private
connector road. Going
too fast to make the
turn, the Soldier went
straight and hit a curb,
leaving the road and
continuing forward,
leaving two furrows in
the dirt. Thrown from
his motorcycle when it
left the road, the Soldier
struck a large tree and
came to rest at its base.
The motorcycle ended
up in a ditch several feet
beyond the tree. The
Soldier was transported
to a hospital, where
he was pronounced
dead. The police
officer filing the report
included speed and
driver inattentiveness
as possible contributing
factors to the Soldier
losing control. The
Soldier was wearing a
full-face helmet and a
motorcycle jacket with
reflective panels. He
had redeployed from
Operation Iraqi Freedom
(OIF) III in January
2006 after a year-long
deployment. He was an
experienced rider, often
riding his motorcycle
to work on days when
the weather was good.
• A Soldier was
riding another Soldier’s
motorcycle at a
reportedly high rate
of speed when he
lost control, struck a
curb and overturned.
The Soldier, who
was not wearing a
helmet, suffered a
fatal head injury.
• A Soldier was
operating his motorcycle
when he crossed the
center lane, struck the
curb and tumbled end
over end. The Soldier,
who was not wearing a
helmet, suffered massive
head trauma and died
the next morning.
• A Soldier was in
rest and recreation
leave status from OIF
when he was fatally
injured while operating a
motorcycle. The Soldier
reportedly drifted
onto the shoulder and
overturned. He was
not wearing a helmet.
• A Soldier was
operating his motorcycle
when he ran into the
rear of a construction
truck. The Soldier
was taken to the
hospital, where he
later died from his
injuries. He was not
wearing a helmet.
• A Soldier was
riding a Honda CBR
600 he’d purchased
 
the week before
when he entered a
turn and lost control.
The Soldier, who’d
given his helmet to his
passenger, sustained
severe head injuries
and was evacuated
to a local medical
center, where he was
pronounced dead. The
passenger was treated
for minor injuries and
released. The Soldier
had never informed his
chain of command he’d
purchased a motorcycle.
The Soldier had received
a briefing covering
motorcycle safety
from his commander
during a unit formation.
However, the Soldier
had never attended
a Motorcycle
Safety Foundation
(MSF) course.
• The Soldier was
test driving a motorcycle
when an oncoming
vehicle turned left
in front of him. The
Soldier applied the
brakes and skidded
approximately 62 feet.
Just prior to impact,
the motorcycle’s rear
wheel came up and
launched the Soldier into
the vehicle’s right-rear
passenger side. The
Soldier was transported
to a hospital, where he
died during surgery.
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when he failed to yield
right-of-way and collided
with a van, resulting in
serious injuries. The
Soldier was taken to
a hospital, where he
died during surgery.
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when a drunk driver
failed to yield rightof-way and pulled
into his path. The
Soldier collided with
the driver’s side of the
car. The Soldier and his
passenger were thrown
from the bike and
suffered fatal injuries.
The Soldier was not
wearing his helmet.
• A Soldier was
operating his motorcycle
in the left lane when
he was observed to
have lost control and
was thrown from his
bike. He later died
from his injuries.
• A Soldier was
operating his motorcycle
with a fellow rider when
he struck a guardrail.
The Soldier was
transferred to the local
medical center, where
he died from his injuries.
Class B
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when he was struck by
a pickup whose driver
improperly changed
lanes. The Soldier
was dragged down the
street for approximately
50 feet and suffered
a concussion and a
fractured left leg. The
Soldier was wearing his
helmet and all PPE.
• A Soldier was
riding his motorcycle
when a car pulled in
front of him. When
the Soldier swerved to
avoid the car, he rearended a truck. The
Soldier’s motorcycle
went over the top of the
truck, and the Soldier
suffered an amputated
arm. The Soldier was
wearing his helmet.
Class C
• A Soldier was riding
in the right lane when a
motorist changed lanes
and cut him off. The
Soldier was wearing his
helmet and PPE and
sustained a concussion,
a contusion to his hand
and a sprained ankle.
• A Soldier was
speeding when a vehicle
entered his lane. The
Soldier locked his
brakes, lost control of
his bike and was thrown
to the side of the road.
The Soldier suffered
a broken collarbone,
minor scrapes and
bruises and was taken to
a hospital. The Soldier
was wearing his helmet.
• A Soldier was
turning onto a road
when he hit a large
rock with his back tire
and lost control of his
motorcycle. The Soldier
was wearing his helmet.
• Two Soldiers were
riding their motorcycles
home from San Antonio.
Neither was on pass
nor had either Soldier
done a risk assessment,
therefore no leaderSoldier contact had
occurred. Rider One
reported during his
interview that Rider
Two, while not riding
aggressively, hadn’t
worn a helmet during
the trip back. As the
two Soldiers were riding
north on the interstate,
they became separated
because Rider One
wanted to stop at a
nearby store. As Rider
Two continued toward
home, he collided
with an automobile.
The police and fire
department were called
to the scene. Due to
the life-threatening
nature of Rider Two’s
injuries, he was taken
by helicopter from the
accident location to a
hospital. His injuries
included a fractured
skull, a broken right arm
and a lacerated liver.
Rider Two was licensed
to operate a motorcycle
and had attended
the MSF course. His
failing to wear a helmet
contributed to the
severity of his head
injuries. He spent 20
days in the hospital, lost
30 workdays and was on
60 days’ restricted duty.
• A Soldier was riding
his motorcycle while
following a friend’s car
when he noticed a deer
in the road. The Soldier
swerved to the right
to avoid the deer and
then swerved to the
left and clipped a mile
marker, losing control
of his motorcycle and
skidding into two poles.
The Soldier called his
friend on his cell phone
and his friend returned
and drove him to the
hospital. Once the
Soldier arrived at the
hospital, doctors found
he had fractured his
left arm. Although the
Soldier was wearing
all the required safety
equipment, he didn’t
have a motorcycle
endorsement on his
driver’s license, which is
required by Washington
state law. In addition,
he had not attended the
required MSF training
and was speeding at the
time of the accident.
• A Soldier was riding
his motorcycle when a
mechanical failure in the
rear of the bike caused
him to lose control. He
laid the bike down in
the attempt to reduce
damage to it and injuries
to himself; however,
he broke his ankle
during the process. The
Soldier didn’t properly
inspect his bike before
riding. If he had, he
could’ve seen the
mechanical problem and
prevented the accident.
He was wearing his
helmet and PPE.
• A Soldier on
a motorcycle was
approaching a crosswalk
when a truck illegally
turned in front of him.
The Soldier attempted
to avoid hitting the
truck, but the truck
was too close. The
ImpaX is published by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, Bldg. 4905, 5th Avenue, Fort Rucker, AL 36362-5363. Information is for accident prevention purposes only and is specifically prohibited for use for punitive purposes or matters of liability, litigation, or competition. Address questions about content to DSN
558-2688 (334-255-2688). To submit information for publication, use FAX 334-255-9044 (Mr. Bob Van Elsberg) or e-mail Address
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• After conducting an
off-post PT run with his
team, a Soldier exited
the parking lot on his
motorcycle and made
a left turn. The Soldier
had gone between 200
and 300 meters when his
motorcycle lost traction
in a turn and began to
fishtail. The Soldier lost
control, struck the curb
and was thrown over
the handlebars, landing
a few feet from the
road. Officers from the
highway patrol and police
department arrived
at the scene, and the
rider was transported
by ambulance to a
hospital. The rider
sustained several rib
fractures, a contusion
to the left shoulder and
abrasions to his left knee
and leg. The Soldier
was an experienced
rider and was wearing
his helmet and PPE.
• A Soldier was riding
his motorcycle in the
right lane of a four-lane
road when a vehicle from
his left cut in front of
him and stopped to turn
into a parking lot. The
Soldier couldn’t avoid
the stopped vehicle and
locked his brakes, which
caused him to be flipped
over the front of his
motorcycle, which then
landed on him. Although
required by Army and
post regulations, the
Soldier was not wearing
a helmet because the
state where he was
riding did not require
helmet use. His injuries
included a fractured left
wrist, pulled ligaments
in his right hand, a
fractured left ankle and
abrasions along his legs,
left arm and shoulder.
The Soldier had
owned the motorcycle
for approximately
three weeks and
had a motorcycle
license. However, he
neither completed
the required MSF
training nor informed
his chain of command
he had a motorcycle.
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• During the unit’s
organizational day, a
Soldier was observed
by her company
commander trying
to ride her off-road
motorcycle in an area
that wasn’t designated
for off-road use. The
Soldier was told to park
her bike, which she
did. At the end of the
organizational day when
everyone was released,
the Soldier attempted
to ride her bike slowly
through a grass area and
then load it onto a truck.
During the process, her
rear tire hit a hole and
she lost control and fell
onto her left side. The
Soldier wasn’t wearing
the proper footwear
and chipped a bone
in her ankle. She was
immediately taken to
a hospital for X-rays
and additional medical
attention. The Soldier’s
injuries caused her
to be hospitalized for
eight days and placed
on restricted duty for
approximately 60 days.
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motorcycle hit the truck
and bounced back,
throwing the Soldier to
the ground and breaking
both his shoulders, as
well as his left arm. The
Soldier was transported
to a medical clinic
for treatment and
underwent surgery to
repair his broken arm.
The Soldier was wearing
a DOT-approved helmet,
reflective vest, leather
gloves and his Army
Combat Uniform. The
Soldier possessed a
motorcycle license and
had completed the
MSF’s Experienced
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