Veterans make up a large percentage of the motorcycle community nationwide, and Colorado is no exception. Values like independence, freedom and adventure create common ground between service members and motorcyclists.
Most people returning from deployment are 19 to 25 years old, armed with combat pay for whatever their heart desires. After years of excitement and constant stimulation in combat zones, soldiers can become restless once they return to civilian life. They seek out adventure, and motorcycles can help provide that thrill.
Service members tend to buy small speedy sport bikes that can go more than 120 mph, excited by the prospect of speed, but purchasing a bike is not the same as knowing how to ride it. Without the right experience or training, sport bikes can turn deadly for new riders.
The mechanics of a new bike are important, but new riders need more than that to be safe on the road. Techniques for encountering reckless drivers, proper etiquette for turning and emergency procedures are all aspects of motorcycle safety that could save lives.
The Department of Defense (DOD) expects military motorcycle deaths to increase 20 percent in 2014. The need for speed coupled with the lack of training are always important factors, but the DOD has no idea what caused the most recent jump in numbers.
To combat the rising death toll, the Marine Corps is disciplining service members caught riding without a motorcycle endorsement. Marines have always had the option of basic motorcycle safety training on base, but now the Marine Corps is adding additional training for super sport bikes, to teach riders how to handle the increased power.
In April 2014, a member of the 460th Space Communications Squadron was killed in a hit-and-run accident when a van rear-ended his motorcycle. The driver fled on foot but police apprehended the man shortly thereafter, charging him with DWI, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The percentage of motorcyclists who are also veterans should only encourage drivers to treat them with caution and respect. These men and women have risked their lives to defend this country, they should be able to ride their choice of motorcycle safely at home.
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Metier Law Firm is an avid supporter of our military and the Colorado motorcycle community. The death of this Buckley airman is tragic, but the worst fact is that it could have been avoided.
[Did You Know: More than 15 percent of soldiers in the army ride motorcycles.]
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