Open Season – TCLOCS and ATGATT Spells SECURITY


Welcome to the grand opening of this year’s motorcycling season. For non-cyclists, it’s hard to describe the feeling that comes over avid cyclists when the uninhibited sense of freedom washes over them, knowing they’ll be taking to the roads. Some will ride for pleasure, taking them to desired or dreamed places. Some will take their cruisers, sports cruisers or touring cruisers out on the road and travel to a vacation spot, a rally or to visit friends or family. Serious adventurers will load up their enduro, dual sport and adventure bikes and make history trekking on and off the roads to places few of us will travel. I’m in honor of our two-wheeled “brothers and sisters” who have taken their bikes around the world! There are some of us who will make our daily journeys on our trusty metal steeds, partially satisfying a hunger to ride. The fact is that the season is here and the world will see and hear our machines on our roads and paths.
All the euphoria aside, it’s also the season to remind our brothers and sisters on the road that we’ll be out there. I speak to the vast majority of our neighbors who travel in their cars, trucks, vans and the like who, for the most part, have a measure of protection by being surrounded by the metal cage that these vehicles provide. We humbly ask that you remember to pause in left turn lanes, center turn lanes, intersections, driveways, and expressway lanes to look for someone riding a motorcycle near them. . Don’t just look once, look twice. Don’t be in such a hurry that you forget to take at least 10 seconds to look both ways twice. Doing so is an investment in your safety and the safety of all motorcyclists on the roads this season. Make it a habit, you will save a life.
The safety association also involves all motorcyclists. We want non-motorcyclists to know us but it is our part to be responsible with this great privilege and freedom of riding a motorcycle. Safe and responsible driving is vital for everyone on the road and it starts with the motorcyclist. Yes, it starts with you and me. Motorcycle safety is a heart/mindset that is developed long before we speed up. It involves a commitment to simple goals every time we travel. It is a commitment that we will live responsibly, we will take care of ourselves, we will not fall into alcohol or drugs, nor will we be angry or with anything that can distract us from traveling safely on the roads, streets and highways. Information on motorcycle safety is readily available across the country through your local motorcycle dealer, state driver license agencies, motorcycle associations, and organizations such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-, which is sponsored by some of the major motorcycle manufacturers.
There needs to be a movement to ensure that motorcycle safety education begins while our youth are still in high school. In addition to our driver education programs, motorcycle safety should be added as a required module. Making MSF’s Basic Rider course an additional option during high school would also increase the spread of safety awareness for our children in their teens. It is in this age group that we see an increase in the use of sport bikes, some of the fastest machines on the road today.
Maintaining a safe driving profile for each of us is easy. For starters, here’s what you can do right now to increase your knowledge; go to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website and download the Basic Course Manual for Cyclists (BRC). You can’t print it, but you can save it to your hard drive and read it on your computer. It has excellent content for both beginners and experienced pilots. Motorcycle safety training is a must, not an option. Many of these courses are free or do not cost much. you can check local or state training resources on the respective websites or search for training sites through the MSF website.
MSF’s Basic Motorcycle Course (BRC) manual outlines two main safety topics that clearly explain motorcycle safety: ATGATT and TCLOCS.
“All The Gear All The Time” (also known as ATGATT) is a rider-focused part of the equation and is the riding mindset in which the rider commits to personal safety by ensuring they wear the proper gear at every trip, on every trip. regardless of distance or weather conditions. There are a plethora of types of gear on the market today (specifically: helmet/eye protection, jacket, gloves, pants, boots). You can get helmets for under $100 to over $500 depending on your budget or tastes. No matter what you choose, make sure it has the dual endorsement of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) (49CFR571.218) and the Snell Memorial Foundation, who extensively test helmets for crashworthiness. MSF courses require a DOT approved helmet as a minimum. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a helmet that didn’t have DOT and Snell endorsements due to the rigorous testing and research that has gone into those products.
When it comes to jackets, gloves, pants and boots, you will find a wide variety followed by mixed opinions from those who have bought them. The bottom line is that these items act as your outer skin, so choose wisely. You’ll find many options, from armored (reinforced with pads) to unshielded textile or leather. They must fully cover your arms, torso and legs and the boots must be at least booties or better. God forbid, but even a low-speed fall off the bike can cause serious injury. My stepdad was coming home from work, he slammed on the brakes because someone ran out in front of him. He was traveling about 35 mph with his sides down and his bike fell off. The bike skidded about 100 feet, it didn’t. The bike had few “insults”. One side of his body was bruised from head to toe, fractured shoulder/clavicle, wrist, fractured tibia/fibula and ankle. He was wearing a helmet, but no additional outer clothing. He was lucky. Fact: The right gear may not completely eliminate injuries, but it can save you a world of pain.
The BRC manual also describes the other side of the equation, the machine, called TCLOCS. The emphasis is on routine and preventive maintenance, specifically focusing on the pre-ride evaluation of your motorcycle. TCLOCS stands for:

T=Tires and wheels (pressure, tread quality/spokes, etc.)
C=Controls (cables, hoses, etc.)
L=Lights and electricity (do they work?)
O=Oils and other fluids (adequate levels)
Chassis (frame, bolts, suspension, etc.)
Side stand (integrity, automatic engine shut-off switch)
I have been almost 100% consistent with it and it takes me about 5 minutes (even checking tire pressure) before a ride. I also try to do a post ride check because things can change, bolts can come loose. The next time you see a biker worshiping his bike, don’t write it off as an obsession with materialism. No, it’s more of an obsession with security. Even routine motorcycle cleaning will reveal structural problems, cables that have come off, cracks in the hoses, and loose bolts, to name a few. Make TCLOCS a pre-trip ritual.
Benjamin Franklin received this insight through his lifetime of observing and working through some of the nation’s most difficult times. He rings true with motorcycling. It only takes a little effort at the beginning to avoid some very drastic consequences later on. It is a choice we all must make. Our commitment to pre-trip safety and responsible driving habits will not only save us. It will save the driver of the car or truck, as well as other motorcyclists. Yes, there are risks in motorcycling, but if you accept the risk and do your best to control the risks through proper and consistent safety checks, your next ride is very likely to be successful. Have a great and safe motorcycle season!
Helpful Links:
Motorcycle Safety Foundation –
Snell Memorial Foundation –

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