Traveling down a highway at 70 mph is arguably less dangerous in an automobile equipped with seatbelts and airbags, as opposed to driving a motorcycle with no shell of protection. Due to this fact, motorcycle accidents typically result in serious injuries or fatalities. And it seems those in the military have a notably higher rate of motorcycle crashes than civilians.
Sadly, fatal accidents involving military members have been occurring all too frequently in North Carolina over the past few years. Just last month, a 22-year-old Marine died after he crashed his motorcycle in Wilmington.
So why do those in the military seem to be more at risk of being involved in a serious or fatal motorcycle crash?
One reason may be a propensity for seeking thrills. A Rand Corporation study found that 46 percent of military members tested as “highly impulsive,” compared to only 7 percent of civilians tested in the study. Also, nearly 80 percent of military members admitted to actively participating in activities in order to experience more excitement. Only 27 percent of civilians admitted to this type of behavior.
Demographics might also be a factor, researchers noted, considering the number of young males in the military. Younger men might be more reckless and inexperienced when they first purchase and ride a motorcycle.
With notably higher rates of motorcycle accidents occurring near military bases in North Carolina, concerns have been raised both by the military and local law enforcement agencies. The military has enacted a policy that requires men and women in the service to take a motorcycle safety course if they choose to own and operate a motorcycle. The course is identical to the one required by the state of North Carolina for all motorcycle drivers under the age of 18. The course must be taken within 60 days of purchasing a motorcycle, and it teaches riders basic skills such as steering, turning and braking safely.
State troopers in North Carolina are also on guard for the safety of motorcycle riders near military bases. One state trooper noted areas near military bases are “hot spots” for motorcycle accidents and are gaining more attention from police working to ensure the safety of all on the road.
Source: Star News, “Military focuses on reducing motorcycle deaths of servicemen,” Adam Wagner, Dec. 5, 2012