WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Motorcycle riders stationed in and around Washington got an opportunity to hone their skills, swap riding stories, and learn from professional riders May 7-8 at the fourth annual Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event.
The event's keynote speaker was Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). He commended the Navy and Marine Corps for their successes in motorcycle safety, noting that fatalities in fiscal year 2009 were down by 61 percent for Sailors and 44 percent for Marines.
"This was no fluke," he said. "It was due to committed leadership across the fleet and to riders like you who decided to close the gap between what the rules for responsible riding say, and what you actually do out there on the roads."
The motorcycle rodeo featured several screenings of the Marine Corps-funded feature film "Semper Ride" and demonstrations by several stunt riders. Athletes who appeared in the movie were on hand to sign autographs and speak to riders about motorcycle safety. Garcia said riders of all experience levels can learn from the stars of the film, who always wear the proper personal protective equipment, and who only ride fast in controlled environments, such as motorcycle racetracks.
"If you are one of those people who feel the need for speed, take a lesson from these guys and get to the track. That's where speed belongs - not out on the highway," Garcia said.
The Pentagon Motorcycle Safety Event also featured information from various Department of Defense agencies. Of particular note to Sailors is the new requirement that all motorcycle training be logged in the web-enabled Enterprise Safety Application Management System, or ESAMS, which can be accessed at www.navymotorcyclerider.com. Each service had motorcycle safety experts available to speak to riders and help ensure they comply with all training and PPE requirements.
Garcia said motorcycle safety events like this one at the Pentagon are happening all across the fleet, and that they serve an important purpose.
"As you well know, our resources are stretched thin," he said. "Many of you have been asked to do more with less. That's why the loss of even a single trained and ready Sailor or Marine is so tragic. These are preventable losses, and we can't afford them. The American people are counting on each of you to ride smart."
For more news from Naval Safety Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsc/.