AUXILIARY LANDING FIELD BOGUE, N.C. --
In 2008 the Marine Corps lost a staggering 25 Marines from across all ranks due to fatal accidents involving motorcycles, according to Camp Lejeune safety officials.
After introducing an extensive safety campaign, which included formal education enhanced with experience-building rides, and mandating membership in motorcycle safety clubs to all service members who own motorcycles, the MCI East and II Marine Expeditionary Force saw a steep decrease in fatalities, said Stanley Dutko, director of safety for Marine Corps Installations East and Camp Lejeune.
Marines and sailors from Camp Lejeune took part throughout the day in one more step toward increasing their awareness on motorcycle education while having a good time during the Advanced Rider Track Day at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field, Bogue Field, N.C., May 6.
The event’s focus was held to test participants’ riding knowledge and assist them in improving their skills. It was held just in time as the weather is warming up and more riders tend to hit the road during the busier traffic season.
Lonnie J. Etter, a motorcycle coach from the California Bike Track School, was the lead coach at the event. He has extensive experience teaching advanced riding techniques to bike-riders, including service members around the world.
“Motorcyclists should keep in mind that no matter how often or how long they've been riding, there is always room to learn something,” Etter said. “Every rider should know the limits of their abilities and not attempt to exceed them.”
New training in traffic situations in the Advanced Techniques course is required by the Marine Corps. Intensive maneuvering drills, like making short stops and maneuvering around obstacles, are included among other classes to keep expanding motorcyclists' learning experiences and help them maintain situational awareness.
“These courses are reinforcing their knowledge and confidence on how to react in any situation,” Etter continued. “We try to teach them from our experiences in the past by showing them a variety of scenarios in a controlled environment.”
Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations East, was in attendance to show support for the Marine Corps’ motorcycle safety efforts and his fellow Marines and sailors.
“I am pleased about the response from the participants toward this training,” he said. “This is strictly necessary to prevent accidents and to keep the Marines and sailors mission-ready.”
During the course the participants are expected to develop more confidence in their riding skills. Course instructors emphasized how critical it was for riders to fully understand and master the techniques they learned during the course in order to effectively employ them during their day-to-day riding.
“We don’t want to lose another Marine,” said Jensen. “This training will keep being enforced to prevent accidents that can take the Marines and sailors out of the fight.”
It is every individual’s responsibility to prevent accidents, and to pay attention on the road while riding. Events like the Advanced Rider Track Day help communicate that safety precautions are essential and defensive driving is vital when it comes to operating motorcycles.