There have been 12 motorcycle crashes in the Navy, as of February 15th, of fiscal year 2006 resulting in nine fatalities, with five being the ceiling set for the entire year. Eleven of the 12 persons involved in the accidents were junior enlisted, or junior officers. Nine were riding "sport bikes" one was a V-Rod, which is one of Harley Davidson's versions of a "sport bike," one 883 Sportster, which is an entry-level bike for beginning riders: one Ultra Classic, which is a cruiser. See a pattern? For those of you not familiar with motorcycles, let me explain. Safety studies for helmet laws and motorcycle deaths or injuries never separate the types of motorcycles. For instance, sport bikes are light and fast. They are usually purchased and ridden by junior, young, inexperienced riders. They are designed for speed and to corner quickly, a recipe for death on our highways. A V-Rod is a bigger, more expensive, sport bike. Slightly older and more experienced riders often purchase it. An 883 Sportster is affordable and usually purchased by a wide range of beginning riders. An Ultra Classic is a touring bike. It is a very expensive, heavy bike, made for the long haul and usually purchased by older, more experienced riders.
Looking at this snapshot data, the determination could be made that junior, young, inexperienced riders account for almost 90 percent of all motorcycle accidents. One can see that sport bikes account for almost 90 percent of motorcycle accidents. No matter how the data are interpreted, our young riders are not getting the message that Navy leaders have been delivering during GMT and mentoring sessions. It seems that the younger and less experienced riders are feeling invincible! A wheelie here, and a front brake stop and hop there does not make one a pro.
I've heard it time and time again, "We're sick of motorcycle safety training." However, I know from personal experience, the message is not reaching all riders. Crotch Rockets, Rice Burners, Racing Bikes, I don't care what you call them; the people that ride them are dying. OBEY THE LAW!!! Stop speeding, stop popping wheelies, stop showing off, and listen to your much wiser and older chiefs and senior personnel.
Motorcycles are not in this alone. PMV accidents have skyrocketed at an unprecedented level. There have been 34 fatalities this fiscal year already, with 29 being our ceiling based on the SECDEF 75% mishap reduction challenge (motorcycle fatalities included). Traditional factors, such as drunk driving and fatigue, continue to contribute to fatalities. Another contributing factor to these fatal statistics is the use of cell phones. 2CFR634.25/dated 01JUL2005, prohibits use of non-hands free cell phones while operating any motor vehicle (private or government) onboard DOD installations.
CNRMAINST 2060.1 dated 20APR2005 prohibits the use of cell phones at any time on or off installation while operating a government vehicle without a hands free device. In the midlant region, a violation will cost you $50. Put down the cell phone and drive! We have already exceeded our maximum ceiling for Class "A" mishaps this fiscal year despite the SECDEF 75% reduction challenge. Not a good way to start a new fiscal year.
FY04 FY05 FY06 PMV Fatalities 14 22 30 Motorcycle Fatalities 4 9 9 Off-Duty/Race Fatalities 6 5 5 Note: Table made from bar graph.
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|Date:||Oct 1, 2005|
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