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when i was at fort stewart someone would always dump a bike when we got off a deployment, but we didn't lose too many. these guys have chingas of money coming back from combat zones, and buy the biggest baddest bikes that are out there.



it'd be nice to if the coimmanders would set up courses on post where soldiers and marines (and sailos and airmen) could have low or no cost track time, prehaps in conjunction with training beyond the standard msf fare. there may be some issues to work out, but it would surely beat burying these guys when the make it back from their tours.
 

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As it usually the case with this type of reporting, this story is sadly lacking in details that lend perspective.



Ex:

"According to safety records, nearly 350 troops have died on bikes since the 2001 terrorist attacks. That's compared to 259 killed while serving in Afghanistan."



350 out of how many troops/riders?



While I believe one death or injury is too many, this is sloppy reporting that uses a lack of information to put a sensational spin on reader perception.

 

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As an Airmen, motorcycle instructor and individual that happens to watch the news this article is completely bogus. As I recall the death toll is up to around 2k something (Afghanistan and Iraq). Granted they presented Afghanistan for their death toll numbers but why not pick someplace even lower like Korea. Technically we're still at war with Korea. Why not state something like 0 deaths in the current Korean conflict and 259 in motorcycle accidents. Maybe if there was one death they could state something like your 259 times more likely to die on a motorcycle than in the Korean War. Man that would be great. Just call me the spin master.



Now that my ranting has subsided... Whatever happend to personal responsibility. It's a requirement for anyone in the military to have the MSF beginer rider course (BRC) prior to operating a motorcycle. Certainly the course doesn't prepare a rider for the performance of a sportbike but it does give technique for becoming a safe rider on the street. I ride a sportbike myself and always encourage anyone with a sportbike to continue their education after they leave the class. I think of it this way. Would the Air Force let a pilot take out a jet fighter after getting their pilots license at the local airfield to fly a cessna? No, the performance perameters of a modern jet are way beyond the skill set required to fly a cessna and it requires more training. The MSF curriculum increases the odds of a new rider staying alive greatly but it is training that was developed far ahead of the performance of todays bikes. I'll step off my soapbox now. If you made it to the end of this thanks for reading.
 

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Amen to that.
The local NC paper ran this article (front page on Sunday, great) with 2 pictures of "motorcyclists". One was of a serviceman doing a stoppie on a Repsol replica Honda in minimal protective gear, the other of a serviceman and his girlfriend standing next to a group of sportbikes parked in front of a sports bar, "giving her a kiss before riding to the next bar" or something to that effect. Seems to me that while lack of training may be a major culprit in explaining the deaths, pure stupidity would be the overriding reason.
 

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What's lacking is proper debriefing once these guys get back. Maybe something should be set up to give these guys options as to where they put that combat pay. I would think a few examples of soldiers dying on motorcycles and vets begging in the streets would be a good start.
 

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Can we give the

I've come back off of a combat deployment as a Marine myself, and that was from a pretty mild war compared to what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. My experience is that these are young guys who have been pretty severely traumatized and are probably not getting the mental health screening/counseling/treatment they need and deserve for several reasons.

First, there's a culture of machismo that's always discouraged such treatment. If you need to see a shrink, then you're a pu$$y that can't hack it is the thinking of the military culture. I think this is slowly changing, but combat units -- who need it the most -- will be the last to change.

Second, there's the military's reticence to discover mental health issues that could cost the government money later on. A signifigant percentage of the guys who have seen combat will develop some kind of permanent limitation of daily functioning due to mental health issues. We're talking billions of dollars paid out of a VA system that for some reason the Republicans don't mind cutting funding to. Support our troops, at least until they're discharged, I guess is the thinking.

Finally, there's the natural resilience of youth. I was fine after the Gulf War until 1997, when I was driving a cab in San Francisco during Fleet Week. The Blue Angels buzzed Polk street and I had to stop the cab because I was shaking so badly. I'm fine now (mostly), but it's amazing how much trauma a young mind can withstand and still function...for a while.

So we have all these traumatized guys who think they're invincible buying high-powered sportbikes (and other kinds of motorcycles, and high-performance cars, too). After you get back from a war zone, you have a "I don't care what happens, I've already seen hell" kind of attitude that probably isn't the best one to have while wheelieing a GSXR-1000.

The MSF course is a good start (although if you read our story on it you'll see it doesn't really teach much about high-performance riding), but the bottom line is that we need to start treating PTSD and other issues in our service members proactively, not when it's too late. It'll save money and save lives in the long run. If Americans really did "support our troops", they'd be demanding increased funding for veteran's healthy care, not supporting a president and Congress who cut it.
 

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Re: Congrats

u know he did start a war for oil. since there's oil in motorcycles, he's to blame for all motorcycle accidents, and car accidents, and any child choking on a toy made of plastic. and he killed my dog!
 

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Re: Can we give the

I completely agree there's more to it than just giving these guys better lessons etc... I was addressing the issue of training specifically. True it goes much deeper than that. Having been raised by a father that recieved the bronze star twice and being in the military myself I understand the effect that post traumatic stress disorder can have. This is one of the toughest men I've ever seen but when it comes to the sort of trauma that these vets go through it doesn't matter how physically tough you are or how strong your sense of denial is. It will get to you sooner or later as Gabe stated. As to the person that wrote some nonsense about this being convoluted logic... I'm glad that others are willing to take a stand in order for you to live in a dream world where ideals and denial overcome reality so that you can live comfortably.
 

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Re: Can we give the

As a veteran of the war in Asscrackistan, I can vouch firsthand for everything said in Gabe's post. One very direct cause of this problem is the way you learn to drive over there. Simply put, you haul ass and take risks when driving in a CZ. Every day. Because the risk of an accident seems less than the risk of ambush or IED. You get used to being in a hyper state of aggression when you are driving. Then, when your tour is up, you may be back at Ft. Living Room within a week of being in the CZ. Well, guess what, you don't just immediately go back to driving like a sheep. You have developed new habits and, new brain chemistry which doesn't just dissipate overnight, or over months even. So, yeah, you drive like a nut. This isn't just about kids being stupid. It is very much about people of all ages coming home from some nasty stuff and not being given the time, nor the tools to deal with it appropriately. This has been the case after every war, but it is a worse shame now because we know better. And yes, it is a real crime we have a Commander in Chief who thinks that money for veterans benefits is an impediment to fighting the war on terror. A war which has now morphed into a war for oil, leveraged our economy to the hilt while pissing money away, and been given religious overtones that are a bit too reminiscent of the crusades for this soldier's liking. Thank you for your time.
 
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