Every active duty member who owns a motorcycle has been given the same safety brief, yet accidents and even fatalities continue to be an issue among ranks.
Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s Motorcycle Mentorship Program (MMP) not only aims to create more self-aware riders, but build a network of skilled motorcyclists for newer riders to learn from outside of a safety brief.
“It is one thing to talk in a classroom setting about things that can go wrong on a ride, or what we should be paying attention to,” said HM1 Michael Hitefield, president, MMP. “It is completely different to ride 100 miles with regular breaks to discuss the previous miles and what was noticed and how we reacted.”
Hitefield explained that 80% of motorcycle fatalities are caused by inattention to the environment by the rider.
The MMP aims to get riders, new and experienced, out on the roads to learn by doing.
Even as an experienced rider, Hitefield explained the MMP has instilled new risk management skills to his riding abilities.
“Have you ever paid attention to whether the lids were open or closed on the trash cans by the road? Whether the mail box flags were up or down? If there are clusters of adults on the curb at intersections waiting for their kids? Sand in the apex of a turn?” Hitefield said. “After developing observation skills that increase awareness, the next step is to determine a course of action to reduce the risk imposed by these factors. Both of these things are developed by being on a motorcycle, experiencing the event, discussing it and doing it again.”
Monthly meetings encourage conversations about managing risks during rides, as well as creating connections among military riders.
Bi-monthly rides blend these things together, showing members local riding destinations.
“I know it can be intimidating to be a new rider on a group ride. We keep our rides and our meetings informal and welcoming. We stress safety above all else on a ride, and we care more about riding well than we do about looking cool,” Hitefield said.
Anyone with an interest in motorcycles is welcome to join the group.
The next ride is planned for the month of December.
For more information about the group, contact Hitefield at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org, HM1 Brown at Darrell.email@example.com, HMC Colon at Roberto.firstname.lastname@example.org or CSCS Hartley at email@example.com.