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CNN Reports Out Of Quantico, Virginia: More Marines Die in Motorcycle Accidents Than In Iraq

Posted on May 15, 2016
CNN National News reported a scary trend for aggressive motorcycle drivers this week: in the last year, more Marines have died riding motorcycles than fighting in Iraq. Reporting out of Quantico, Virginia, CNN Pentagon reporter Larry Shaughnessy wrote that 25 Marines died on the roads due to bike accidents in the last 12 months, while 20 Marines have been killed engaging in combat in Iraq.

All but one of the motorcycle accidents involved sport motorcycles that, according to the Marine officials interviewed, can reach speeds well over 100 miles per hour. Numbers-wise, about 18,000 of the 200,000 Marines own and ride motorcycles.  Marine commanders are addressing the issue, according to Gen. James Amos, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. Amos told CNN that, "What we need to do to help our Marines survive on these sport bikes.  The Marines are very serious about it," he said.

To show they are serious, Marine officials will spend a half-day on Monday, November 3, focusing on the issue of motorcycle fatalities, injuries, and safety. The meeting will include Marine Corps commandant General James Conway and take place at the Marie base in Quantico, Virginia.

Other branches of the military have also reported a similar deadly trend in motorcycle accidents among their ranks – the Navy has recorded 33 deaths over the past year, a 65 percent jump. Although military officials are not sure what is causing the rise in crashes, they do know that it doesn’t have to do with age – although many assumed it was very young soldiers who were inexperienced on bikes, the statistics reveal that the average age was 25, with some victims being in their 40s. Some point to the fact that it is now popular for units to have motorcycle clubs, which may encourage more riders. Others mention the fact that riding often relaxes the stressed Marines.

The Marines now offer a sport bike training course, which over 300 men and women have now taken. Only three people who have attended the training have been involved in accidents. Any Marine caught riding a motorcycle without having attended the basic training course faces consequences.  Instead of discouraging sport bike riding altogether, they are encouraging training, safety, and smart choices.
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