MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- More than 700 motorcycle enthusiasts took part in the Heroes Ride as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, May 3.
Assembling from Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Stations New River and Cherry Point as well as Ft. Bragg and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, service members and civilians rode through the streets of eastern North Carolina ending at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field, Bogue Field.
Motorcycle Safety Month originated in London, England in 2003. After the first year, it saw more than a 40 percent decrease in fatality rates. North Carolina was the first state to adopt it soon after.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 4,612 motorcycle fatalities in 2011, accounting for 14 percent of highway deaths that year.
To keep the roads aboard base safe and to keep Marines, sailors and civilians alive the safety administration provided a few tips.
Motorcycles are small and difficult to see, road users should be aware as judging their speed can be difficult. The administration emphasizes motorcycles need a full lane width while traveling on the road, also not to drive next to a motorcycle in the same lane.
Helmets are key to anyone getting behind the handle bars of a motorcycle. It is North Carolina law for all motorcyclists to wear Department of Transportation compliant helmets.
Service members of all ranks attended the event to show support and learn a few new tips to keep safe.
“Safety is great to keep the Marines who come home after surviving combat alive on the roads,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Domingo Torres Jr., maintenance administration chief with Marine Aircraft Group 29. “One great thing to keep them safe is the Basic Riders Course aboard base, especially now that it’s mandatory.”
Torres added after a few close calls, the things learned at the course have saved his life and made him much more aware while riding.
In 2011, more than 9,800 people were killed in accidents where the motorcycle operator had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
Keeping drunk drivers off the road is important and informing junior Marines about motorcycle safety will reduce any incidents on the streets.
“It’s always important to be safe on a motorcycle...you don’t want to become a statistic,” said Lance Cpl. Andres CorreaHernandez, an aircraft mechanic with Marine Aircraft Group 26. “One tip I can give new riders is to never ride outside their limit. Just because they’re in front of their friends, they don’t need to show off.”
Service members from across eastern N.C. rode their motorcycles to show support for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.