Courtesy // AMA Archives

100 years of AMA: The Motorcycle Patrol

By AMA Staff

Ahead of AMA’s 100th anniversary in 2026, we want to start sharing some of the moments that serve as the foundation of our legacy—those significant events that shaped AMA and Alberta, the small but noteworthy interactions that made a member’s day, as well as fascinating happenings that stand out in our storied history.

Since our start in 1926, AMA has always been there to advocate for safer roads. That’s why the first story we’re sharing is the story of AMA’s Motorcycle Patrol, one of the organization’s initial efforts to help Albertans stranded on the roads. But this is just one small moment from AMA’s (nearly) 100-year legacy of Albertans helping Albertans, of being there to protect what matters most.

Highway Rescue on Two Wheels

When you think of AMA, one of the first things that comes to mind may be a tow truck arriving to help when you’re stranded. And that image has always been a part of AMA. In spring 1927, just one year after its formation, AMA offered its members and affiliates a list of six garages across the province that could send out repair trucks to help stranded motorists. That early roadside assistance service worked the way it still works today—an AMA service operator would get the stalled car running or tow it back to the nearest AMA-associated garage for repairs.

But it was a decade later, in 1937, when AMA launched one of its more unique services that would have caught the eyes of Alberta motorists as they explored the province’s highways—the AMA Motorcycle Patrol.

The concept of the AMA Motorcycle Patrol was straightforward. Motorcycle riders would travel Alberta highways during the summer months and offer help and safety warnings to drivers. In the ‘30s, getting assistance on Alberta’s roads could prove difficult. There was little opportunity to make a phone call if you got stranded in a remote area. The AMA Motorycle Patrol was the answer, not only to those communication issues but also to concerns over vehicle maintenance and reliable highways. Launching the patrol supported AMA’s overall commitment to better public safety, a commitment that remains to this day.

The first AMA highway patroller was George Taylor, who used his own Harley-Davidson for the job and received a salary of $40 a month, along with a gas and oil allowance. When the program launched, one of the most common issues being flagged to Alberta motorists by the patrol was cars not maintaining their taillights. In those days, lights tended to break due to the rattling they suffered, thanks to Alberta’s poor roads.

The AMA Motorcycle Patrol program continued until it was paused in 1941, during the Second World War, before being reinstated six years later. However, it was a short return; during its final run, the program ended in 1953.

AMA’s emergency road service was then expanded to meet the needs of a rapidly growing membership. Today, AMA’s Roadside Assistance network helps save divers at the roadside every 67 seconds, and our operators tow 200,000 vehicles each year.