Anyone who drives on Route 264 in Virginia Beach and Norfolk knows about the prevalence of motorcycles, many of them sport bikes operated by young Navy personnel. Some sport bike models can reach a top speed of 200 mph. Motorcycle accidents, not surprisingly, almost always result in serious injury or death to the motorcyclist when an automobile or truck is involved in the collision.
Since October of last year, 32 sailors and Marines worldwide have died on motorcycles. Thirty of those killed were riding sport bikes. In 2006, about 2/3 of Navy motorcycle deaths and nearly 80% of Marine motorcycle deaths were on sport bikes. The Navy is seeking to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents with its institution of a new program with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
The one-day Military Sport Bike Rider Course debuted at the beginning of June in Norfolk, Virginia; San Diego, California; and Mayport, Florida, as well as in Japan and Europe. The Navy hopes to train 12,500 Navy and Marine sport bike riders by the end of this riding season. The Navy has made the program mandatory for any service personnel who own a sports bike. Navy personnel were already required to take the general course for rider safety prior to the new program for sports bike riders. The Army has adopted similar training for its personnel.
The main two causes of death that sports bike riders face are loss of control during a turn and at intersections, where the unseen rider is struck by a car or truck. The course therefore focuses on the issues of proper handling and defensive driving, which is often necessary to evade a driver who has failed to see the motorcyclist.
The Navy should be commended for launching this program and hopefully it will reduce motorcycle fatalities in Virginia. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, the lawyers at Pierce & Thornton can help you. Give one of them a call for a free consultation on your case.