The Marine Corps announced that it significantly reduced the number of fatal motorcycle accidents involving Marines in 2009. In 2008, the Marines reported a record high of 25 deadly motorcycle crashes. They year before, the Marine Corps 19 Marines were killed in motorcycle wrecks. However, in 2009, the total number of Marines who lost their life was reduced to only 14–a reduction of more than 40%.
San Diego has three Marine bases–Camp Pandleton, Miramar Air Station, and the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. Camp Pendleton and MCAS Miramar accounted for 4 deaths each during 2009. In 2008, 9 Camp Pendleton Marines and 2 MCAS Miramar Marines were killed due to motorcycle accidents. No data was released for MCRD San Diego.
In the wake of the rising Marine casualties from motorcycle crashes, the USMC hired contractor Cape Fox Professional Services to provide suitable training programs to Marines in motorcycle riding and safety. In the past five years, the number of Marine motorcycle fatalities has constantly increased from 13 in 2005, to 16 in 2006, 19 in 2007, 25 in 2008, before significantly reducing to 14 in 2009. Citing the significant drop as a success of Cape Fox Professional Services, Washington has renewed their contract for the 2010 fiscal year. The Marine Corps will soon also launch an interactive website, SemperRide.com, where professionals featured in $500,000 safety movie, Semper Ride, can be contacted by Marine motorcyclists.
Our office celebrates and appreciates the effort of our local San Diego Marine community to be safe motorcyclists and hope that the new safety program will continue to reduce the number of motorcycle accident fatalities. However, two issues are still concerning. First, 14 Marines were killed due to motorcycle accidents–which is still far too many to have lost their lives. Second, 8 out of the 14 fatal motorcycle wrecks involved San Diego based Marines–that is nearly 60% of all Marine motorcycle deaths occurring in San Diego! Our office supports the Marines and their mission and recognizes the risk and sacrifice they make when they put themselves in harms’ way defending our country. It is therefore tragic when Marines unnecessarily lose their lives in motorcycle accidents that can be avoided.