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Old 02-28-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
dolomoto OP
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GI's and motorcycle crashes...

There's always been quite a bit of attention from the brass about off-duty mishaps but lately (this last year or so) things have gotten to the point where some guys with stars on their shoulders want to ban riding motorcycles outright.

That is not only unreasonable but wouldn't make it pass the JAG (I think).

I'd rather this thread not be filled with info about your crash or anothers unless you can make it relevant to this:

What can the military leadership do to decrease the number and severity of motorcycle crashes (which are different from accidents)?

I don't think an orange vest has anything to do with crash reduction. Military members are supposed to complete an approved training course (currently MSF BRC or ERC--but we only have to take it once). Briefings usually go in one porthole and out another-besides most "briefings" are more about preachin' than teachin'.

So, what does the collective think?
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
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It's bullshit

is what I think.
They got a lot of damn gall to tell a man he can't ride a M/C because it's to dangerous, yet send him out where folks are shooting at him. WTF!
I also think if there man enough to join the military, they're man enough to have a cold beer after hrs. 21 or not.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:51 PM   #3
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it's been a few years since i was under milatary rule. but as you know, them guys with stars sorta rule the base. i bet if they decreed it, the bikes would be gone. jag or no jag! if they'r at all enlightened, they'll at least have a open hearing. you better be prepaired to state a compelling case! as you already know the satistics are against you, so i'd advise you to steer clear of them as an argument.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_gr8t_waldo
it's been a few years since i was under milatary rule. but as you know, them guys with stars sorta rule the base. i bet if they decreed it, the bikes would be gone. jag or no jag! if they'r at all enlightened, they'll at least have a open hearing. you better be prepaired to state a compelling case! as you already know the satistics are against you, so i'd advise you to steer clear of them as an argument.
Actually, I've been asked what I would do if I were in charge. I have the rare opportunity to have a "blank slate" from higher HQ about starting not only a motorcycle program but one that reduces crashes.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:02 PM   #5
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Having spent time in uniform

It's your typical knee jerk reaction to Joes and Jar-heads getting too much money in their pockets and too little sense in their heads. The same is true for cars, as bikes.

Young troops with time on their hands and a few beers too many in their belly and they get stupid.

So the brass takes what action to protect them.

MSG ret.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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I think the military is within its right to protect its most important investment aka its human resources. War is dangerous and can get you injured or killed....and that's with comprehensive and intensive training.

Most young G.I.s need to come to the realization and resignation that the military OWNS them for the duration and they should do as they say, when they say and how they say in spite of the dangers and trauma of war. NO ONE forced them to join and NO WHINING ALLOWED.

Ok...so what could be done to mitigate the inherent dangers of motorcycling for our heroes?

1) Have MWR (is it still called that?) set up track days with the many venues available thoughout the United States and overseas at a discount for its military members so that they (hopefully) learn to keep the speed on the track, not on the streets.

2) Mandate that the motorcycling G.I attend intermediate and advanced MSF courses within a certain amount of time to help with skills and prove to upper management that they ARE responsible riders (or at least that what we hope they become).

Young testosterone is not the easiest thing to reel in. Remember...THEY OWN YOU. You could take your chances and defiantly ride as you please, but is it really worth it? Insubordination lands you in the brig and possibly a dishonorable discharge. I do hope, however, that the upper management doesn't make riding motorcycles an illegal activity for its hard-chargin' members. I want our heroes to enjoy what we in the civilian world take for granted...they deserve it, but I don't want our troops getting hurt or dying because of poor training and irresponsible riding attitudes and techniques....and that includes my young adult nephews in the Army and the AirForce with their Gixxers.

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Old 02-29-2008, 04:21 AM   #7
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I think that one of the simplest ways to reduce the number and severity of accidents would be to impose a horsepower limit on the bikes a soldier can ride during his first two years after he gets his motorcycle licence, lets say 50hp or less.

Here in Germany we have a tiered licence system that restricts newbies to a 34hp bike during their first two years, and with very good reason. Plus, such a ruling would discourage newbies from the oh-so-popular sportbikes that are even harder to ride than a standard or cruiser of equal horsepower.

Ideally, such a restriction would steer the young soldiers towards bikes like the 250 or 500 Ninja, the Suzi GS 500, a dualsport thumper, or the Honda CBF 500 or 600 (not sure whether they´re available in the US), ideal beginnerbikes, proven over many years.

P.S. I´d also make proper protective clothing absolutely mandatory - full face helmet, protective jacket and trousers, sturdy boots, leather gloves.

P.P.S. And you might think about making some REAL training mandatory and available for the soldiers. The BRC may be the best thing available in the US, but compared to the training riders in Germany are required to undergo for their licence it is pretty much a joke, judging from all I´ve heard and read about it.

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Old 02-29-2008, 06:01 AM   #8
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Not sure if you could implement this, but I think you could:
if soldiers get more than one moving violation (speeding, running red light, etc.), on or off base, there motorcycle priveleges are suspended for some period. Reach another threshold and they're revoked permanently. Maybe this would help keep the more aggressive/less careful riders off the road for a while, hopefully teach them to be more careful.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:50 AM   #9
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The base has identified this as a problem too. They have sponsored MC training and awareness programs for all levels of rider's. The guy's I work with have a positive impression of the program. Not the only answer but this is helpful and something positive being done by the senior's.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter
Not sure if you could implement this, but I think you could:
if soldiers get more than one moving violation (speeding, running red light, etc.), on or off base, there motorcycle priveleges are suspended for some period. Reach another threshold and they're revoked permanently. Maybe this would help keep the more aggressive/less careful riders off the road for a while, hopefully teach them to be more careful.


Okay I'm military and this is the first 1/2 way reasonable idea I've read yet. Taking away the right to ride motorcycles is not the answer. People would get in more trouble riding when they are not suppose to, myself included. I'm in Iraq right now and I cant wait to go riding again. Why would you take that away from us?

Motorcycles Too Dangerous? Have you been to Iraq lately?

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Old 02-29-2008, 07:59 AM   #11
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The problem as I see it is not the skills taught at the courses, but the mental maturity of the individual. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a rider stop just outside the base (s), take off their helmet and reflective vest and BDU shirt, and cruise home. Coming into work is a laugh too. They all stop about a block away, put on all the gear and ride in. That mentality is what kills a "rider". It's not cool to ride with a helmet and visual aides.
I retired some 5 years ago. I rode on and off base for years with reflective jackets and always a helmet. I no longer ride on the base, or go there at all if I can help it now a days. They have that knee jerk reaction to everything that I find too controlling and restrictive. But it is the military. You are not an individual, but part of a team collective. You are now the property of the US government and they will protect you - even if it means killing you with oppressive regulations, and what many see as suspension of your rights. You have the right to kill yourself slowly with cigarettes. But you have to wait until 21 to drink yourself to death. Just a matter of time. The military will get it's monies worth out of you.
Again, mental maturity makes or breaks a rider, the military can't write a policy on that or regulate how and when a person gains it. We all had our wild oats to sow. Us "older" guys are here because we grew up. Except for the occasional wheelie here and their.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:58 AM   #12
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Old boy network

While I was in, I saw what I believed to be a general push to discourage riding. Several base commanders put pressure on the MPs to crack down extra-hard on anything with less than four wheels. I once got pulled over for improper lane change because my bike leaned when I moved left...of course, I also got pulled over for speeding on my bicycle.
When someone in command had a bike, the pressure amazingly came off riders. Any safety gear is required to leave your body the moment you are off the bike, because it is no longer PPE and you are then out of uniform. I saw lower ranks comply with no trouble, but the SgtMajor couldn't be bothered to remove his jacket before stepping to the ATM, or walking into work. The bad example from senior leadership tends to increase negative attention from commands. Being able to shame a man that used to outrank you by five grades for being assed-up is the best part of being out of the Corps. I can shave and instantly be twice as fit for duty as most fucks my age, goddamn happy to be on this side of the razor.
The most assed-up battle I had to fight was over gear. Base order was written to require a reflective safety vest, stripes of a certain width, coverage, etc..but higher order was written "reflective upper garment"
I had to present it with day/night pictures to a base CO before they stopped hassling me for wearing a reflective jacket instead of some cheesy vest over cammies (They also rewrote the order). The idea that I could be safer wearing a camouflage jacket insted of armor, bright color, and reflector tape just shows how regulations can be written without regard to sense.
The real irony is that the same kids they try to keep off high-power bikes are allowed to drop their entire paycheck on cars they are much more likely to drive while tired or drunk, killing passengers or other drivers.
Bike rodeos and training seminars would be great for anyone, but I think it's a first step toward acceptance and lower injury rate.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:27 AM   #13
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Its been 20 years since I enlisted, and not much has changed. Young folk in uniform will buy new sickle after deployment/getting the signing bonus, drink and crash. I like the idea of license suspension or article 15 for continued problems. Better yet, ban them from riding on post, that would send a message

remember that destruction of govt property is the crime here, and should be pursued. Putting the GIs on airheads might help too.

When i was in i would cruise the post in t-shirts and flip flops, but then regs kicked in after a few others crashed, and full gear including gloves, boots and reflective vest were then required. Part of the reason I got out.

We did have one guy on a 1000 interceptor get caught doin 145 outsdie ft campbell. Got called out in formation and berated but no suspension. Ticket was about 1 months pay ($500) and top had to bail him out

You'll never stop the young 'uns from killin themseves, military or not.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:49 AM   #14
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maybe something like this would sort out the wheat from the chaff. each base pick a number of licensend riders they wil allow on base. a real number something like 85>90% of the number they allow on base now(for this part the stars can take the heat as most comanders should). the licenses are awarded on the basices of rider knowledge and riding skill. then only the better equipemed riders will get covented driving priveleges on base. for, what..two years?( they'll probably be the more able ones who'll drive sanely) the loosers will be driven to improve riding skills, and knowledge..after being ribbed by their riding borthers for failing. thoes who have to park their bikes outside the base will either make the grade, or get tired of walking past the mps and then getting on their bikes. BTW i think you're wrong about the orange vest..being seen goes a long way in accident avoidance. not a perfect stratigy, but one element .
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:25 AM   #15
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Speaking as an active duty guy, I think we're still a lot better at rule-making than we are at training. Many rules are not made to actually change a situation or problem, but rather to "CYOA" and have a rule on the books in case a problem develops.

Also, in my experience, the majority of service members involved in serious motorcycle accidents has been an ATGATT problem. Two soldiers needlessly lost their lives at my last installation - one fell off his bike at low speed in his cul-de-sac, and another guy got rear-ended by a car while turing onto his own street. Neither were wearing helmets.

What the brass doesn't understand sometimes is that there is actually very little you can do to prevent young people from doing reckless, ill-advised things. Good leadership is basically the only treatment for stupidity, its not a direct one, and it is unfortunately difficult to come by.
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