Leathernecks Learn Limits

Marines practice safe riding

With motorcycle season quickly approaching, one has to wonder: out of the one and a half million licensed riders in California, how many will be involved in accidents?

The number of deaths tied to motorcycle accidents in the state has jumped from 200 in 1998 to 564 deaths in 2008, according to the California Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Military personnel were among the victims.

In 2008, a record number of Marines, 24, died on motorcycles between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2008, according to the North County Times. Of those, 22 died on the powerful, lightweight sport bikes, Marine safety officials told the paper.

Because of those statistics, the U.S. Marine Corps and the California Highway Patrol partnered as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May to sponsor a training course at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Friday.

Across the state the number of vehicle accidents overall has dropped 20 percent, but motorcycle accidents have increased according to Chris Cochran, Assistant Director of the California Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The hope is that programs like this will help motorcycle riders drive safely.

The CHP, in an attempt to promote safer riding, had issued 45 percent more tickets, for speeding as a way to crackdown, according to Cochran.

Riders should get trained and licensed, as well as wear proper gear at all time—that includes a helmet that is certified for this use, according to Robert Gladden, Director of Program Administration for Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).

Gladden also urged riders not to drink and ride, to ride within their limit, as well as take the “experienced rider” course, just to brush up on the basic course and learn more.

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