IMCOM employees ride through Texas countryside for Motorcycle Safety Day
May 17, 2011
- IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola organized a motorcycle safety ride through the Texas Hill Country Friday, May 13.
- Ciotola and motorcycle enthusiast T.J. Love briefed the riders on safety before they rode 100 miles along the Guadalupe River.
- "It's enjoyable, it's a great pastime, but if you let down your guard and lose your situational awareness you're going to lose every time."
Enduro enthusiasts from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command headquarters took to the open road through the Texas Hill Country Friday, May 13 for IMCOM's Motorcycle Safety Day.
Nineteen riders gathered at 9 a.m. to gear up and listen to a safety brief from Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola and Budget Analyst T.J. Love, who made sure all riders wore proper safety gear, including a helmet, eye protection, full-fingered gloves, full trousers and over-the-ankle boots. Love briefed the participants on hand signals and motorcycles safety guidelines, such as the "rule of big" when yielding to cars.
Participants fired up their motorcycles for a 100-mile scenic ride along the green waters of the Guadalupe River and up Highway 281. Judy Pukansky, a program analyst in the religious support office, led the group in a rotation formation that reduces rider anxiety. The group ended the trip with lunch at the Shadetree Saloon and Grill.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Army is focused on reducing injuries and fatalities from motorcycle accidents among military members. Longtime motorcycle rider Ciotola, who encouraged the safety ride, rides his bike to and from work every day but is well aware of the risk and adheres to strict safety measures.
"Motorcycle riding comes down to this: it's enjoyable, it's a great pastime and if you let down your guard and lose your situational awareness you're going to lose every time," he said, explaining that a motorcycle is no match against even a "suicidal squirrel," whereas a car simply hits the bump and drives on. "You have to be wrapped up in what you're doing, conscious of reality and everything going on around you."
Ciotola said he would like to conduct more rides in the future and that the event fostered camaraderie among the riders that translated from the road to the office.
"I'm proud of everyone that rode today; they subordinated themselves [to the lead rider], looked after everyone and conducted themselves as disciplined participants," he said."