Both the U.S. Army and Marine
Corps have been having a growing problem with motorcycle accidents, outside of
combat. Over ten percent of army and marine personnel own a motorcycle, and
that number has increased rapidly since the invasion of Iraq.
for all this is the large amount of money many troops find themselves with when
they come back from Iraq or Afghanistan. In combat zones, there aren't too many
things you can spend your money on. Then there's the extra pay for being there.
It adds up. If the trooper isn't married (and about half are not) many arrive
back home with up to $50,000, or more, in ready cash. This leads to temptation,
and that temptationoften takes the form
of a hot new bike. Many troops return jacked up on combat and all the fast road
movement they experienced in Iraq or Afghanistan.
93 militaryarmy personnel were killed
in automotive accidents. Most of these were soldiers, while 19 were marines.
While the military has been able to reduce automobile accidents,motorcycle deaths keep climbing.
increase in motorcycle owners, came in increase in owners groups. There are now
nearly a hundred motorcycle clubs for army and marine bike owners. Attempts are
being made to use these clubs as a way to get the message out on the need for
safer riding. The marines have also made it mandatory for everyone to register
their bike with their commander. In other words, every battalion commander has
a list of marines who own bikes, and is expected to make sure these young
maniacs get safety training. Another problem is that, higher gas prices have
encouraged bike owners to use them year round, instead of just during the
Summer. In those parts of the country with freezing Winters, that means
increased accident potential because of the ice and shorter daylight hours.
have also used those big paydays to buy SUVs and small trucks. The accidents
for those are also up, but not nearly as much as for motorcycles. While
pounding away, as only the military can, on safe driving, the brass have also
realized that they have to zero in on the twelve percent of the troops that
have bikes, and convince them to concentrate more on safety.