GI's and motorcycle crashes...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by dolomoto, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,687
    Location:
    Gen. Oglethorpe's 1733 folly
    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?
    #1
  2. DirtyOldMan

    DirtyOldMan Long timer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,932
    Location:
    Banjoland
    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.
    #2
  3. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,173
    Location:
    tacoma warshington
    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.
    #3
  4. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,687
    Location:
    Gen. Oglethorpe's 1733 folly
    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.
    #4
  5. Pharwaylok

    Pharwaylok Sing me Spanish Techno...

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    Almost Heaven
    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.
    #5
  6. dogtired

    dogtired SECRET ASIAN-MAN

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    SoCal
    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.

    -dogtired
    USAF 1974-1980
    My 1st motorcycle was a '75 Z-1B :D
    #6
  7. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,086
    Location:
    Erding, Germany
    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.
    #7
  8. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    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.
    #8
  9. John Havilah

    John Havilah Stepped in Cow Sh&t

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Gone
    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.
    #9
  10. TRB

    TRB Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Mississippi


    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?
    #10
  11. Bugnut

    Bugnut Dude

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Blue Hair Central
    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. :evil
    My .02 - YMMV
    Mike
    #11
  12. ArcticDevil

    ArcticDevil Unregistered Jedi

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    420
    Location:
    Wenatchee, WA
    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.
    #12
  13. eric2

    eric2 ®egister this:

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,812
    Location:
    Austin
    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. :deal

    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 :nono

    You'll never stop the young 'uns from killin themseves, military or not.
    #13
  14. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,173
    Location:
    tacoma warshington
    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 .
    #14
  15. R1200JimC

    R1200JimC Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    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.
    #15
  16. Sir Not Appearing

    Sir Not Appearing That's no ordinary rabbit

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,118
    Location:
    Indiana: Motorcycle Hell
    I'm sure not every enlisted rider is a squid, but 99% of the guys around here that come home on leave are textbook squids. Well, except that they wear their boots instead of flipflops. If somehow they could try to keep them in proper gear, that might help. Those short haircuts can't provide much head protection.
    #16
  17. chrisjohn

    chrisjohn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    110
    How ironic the land of the free has so many inhabitants who are really against personal freedom.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    More soldiers, Marines, airmen, seamen are killed via EtOH than anything else. Close the Class VI? Don&#8217;t think so. If the individual wants to destroy their mind, body, and bank account that&#8217;s their business. Along this same line, automobiles are more dangerous statistically, but payments are a great way to keep lower enlisted coming back for more; thus there is never any attempt to restrict ownership.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Yes, military members voluntarily give up MANY of their rights and certainly are bound to follow orders, I detect former 1Sgts in some of the previous posts, but it does not follow that such obedience should be abused, which banning motorcycle riding clearly is.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    People must bare the consequences of their actions, it&#8217;s the only way we learn and grow. Some never do and that is okay. Aversion to accepting consequences is destroying <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region>. How did we as a nation move from acknowledging the individual as being sentient and capable of positive and negative actions to infantilization and needing protection from himself? Sometimes stupid can not be fixed. Individuals will do stupid things and die, it&#8217;s our nature.
    #17
  18. coffeebean

    coffeebean Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    SoCal
    about 90% of the people i help are on sport bikes and almost all of them are military and new riders. less than 3 months on a crotch rocket. fortunately all of the military riders ive been on had a full face helmet and at least a jacket on. doesnt always help but most of the time it does.

    the san diego news said that penalton is requiring riders to go through some sort of motorcycle training. they implied that the class was more advanced than the basic how to drive a bike around a parking lot.

    i'm not sure what the solution is. like my basic motorcycle class instructor said "you are all certified to ride a motorcycle around a parking lot, have fun and be safe". i dont see a class like that making these kids any more aware of the fact that they are not superman. good luck figuring it out. call penalton and see what they are doing.

    dave
    #18
  19. dogtired

    dogtired SECRET ASIAN-MAN

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    SoCal
    The military personnel are trained to do their job in Iraq and they do it well. Most don't get nearly the quality or quantity of training it takes to be a competent and responsible motorcyclist...military AND civilians. War and motorcycling are both inherently dangerous things that can hurt you, but the two should not be in the same equation.
    #19
  20. janliness

    janliness Battery Discharger

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I lived on/worked at military installations all my life, and have not been enlisted. I think it's good to have some rules, such as an MSF course and be required to wear some proper gear (helmet, boots, reflective) simply to have some idea of what's good behavior. Of course, this is sorta like most quandries with youngsters -- they may decide to not follow a good example! At some point it is the responsibility of the overseers to provide a good example.

    I'll leave enforcement out of this! :D

    That said, I've seen everything weird with enforcement. My current workplace is on a base where the speed limit is 25mph max and has two paved roads. I've had:
    - stopped for *leaving* the base without my reflective vest
    - stopped for admiring the bike :thumbup
    - stopped and not allowed entry because I was not carrying my MSF card (even though I have a CO motorcycle "M" on my license!)
    - a buddy stopped for not wearing a reflective vest -- his jacket was at least 1/3 highly reflective tape/logos!

    later,
    jan
    #20