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Military members and North Carolina motorcycle accidents

It takes a village, the saying goes, to raise a child. The same true of preventing motorcycle accidents. Improved safety requires much more efforts by the individual rider. Motorists, motorcycle makers, and safety agencies must also be involved.

A recent North Carolina motorcycle accident showed how much work to be done. A 22-year-year-old off-duty Marine hit a traffic island while riding his motorcycle in Wilmington. He was thrown from the cycle and killed.

This was not an isolated incident. Many other members of the U.S. Armed Forces have died in motorcycle wrecks as well in recent years. Indeed, the Department of Defense is so concerned about the problem that it began to require service members who want to own a motorcycle to take a safety course.

The number of motorcycle accidents involving military personnel has gone down slightly since the safety course requirement took effect in 2009. But is has not gone down enough; there are still too many motorcycle accident deaths.

No one has exact figures on motorcycle ownership among military service members. But it appears to be higher than among the general public, partly because so many service members are young men.

A study by the Rand Corporation also indicated that the military tends to attract members who are more impulsive than the civilian population as a whole. High willingness to take risks, in other words, is often part of a service member’s profile.

That willingness can of course be of great advantage in combat. When riding motorcycles off duty, however, it can be a problem. And North Carolina safety officials say they are aware of the issue, especially around military bases.

Source: “Military focuses on reducing motorcycle deaths of servicemen,” Star News Online, Adam Wagner, 12-5-12