Semper Ride promotes safety to USMC

Motorcycle industry supports military rider safety

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jul. 23, 2009
The statistics have been well publicized but remain sobering. The Department of Defence reported 124 motorcycle fatalities between Oct. 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2008. Over that span, 25 U.S. Marines died in motorcycle accidents. Over the same period, 22 Marines died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Members of the United States Armed Forces risk their lives around the world and find themselves in greater risk at home riding a motorcycle.

The Armed Forces have taken steps to promote motorcycle safety, and the industry has joined the effort. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has developed a special version of their RiderCourse program for the U.S. Military. In May, former World Champion Kevin Schwantz addressed members of all five branches of the Armed Forces at the Pentagon.

Yamaha has been running advertisements promoting proper motorcycle rider training for members of the U.S. Military since March.

“We are very pleased that the growth and popularity of motorcycling in recent years is particularly evident amongst the men and women of our Military,” says Bob Starr, general manager of motorsports communications, “but unfortunately the level of training some members are receiving is not at the same rate as they would receive to operate some military equipment.”

Yamaha is also supporting “Semper Ride”, a film for members of the United States Marine Corps. Produced by the One Eyed Bird, the company behind Fuel TV’s “Great Ride Open” series, the film features top motorcycle athletes providing peer-to-peer, rider-to-rider messages about a variety of motorcycle riding disciplines. Riders representing several manufactures including James Stewart, Ben Bostrom, Ronnie Renner, Myles Richmond, Tommy Clowers, Jeremy McGrath, Keith Code, Chris McNeil, Jason Britton, Sara Price and Josh Herrin provided advice to Marines on safe riding.

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On June 25, “Semper Ride” was screened by 22,500 Marines stationed at MCB Camp Lejeune, MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS New River. An additional 3,000 Marines viewed the film at MCAS Miramar on May 25. At each screening, Marines got to learn more about motorcycle riding and safety from on-site exhibitor booths, took part in supervised test rides and watched live demonstrations by X-Games medalists.

“The Semper Ride Movie Premiere and Event was a huge success. The movie is nothing short of first class and the demos and displays were equally impressive. Every Marine I spoke to thoroughly enjoyed today’s event, describing Semper Ride as the best safety film ever produced by the Marine Corps,” says Stan Dutko, Director of Safety, MCIEAST and Safety Manager, MCB Camp Lejeune. “This film and event have clearly made a significant impact on the attendees, and will likely resonate for some time.”

In an effort to save lives at home, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Executive Safety Board and the Marine Safety Office has begun focusing on motorcycle safety with a new approach in an effort to grab the attention of young Marines.

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