SAN DIEGO -- In an effort to raise motorcycle safety awareness and reduce motorcycle-related accidents, Marines and sailors with Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a group ride around San Diego County to help each other become better motorcycle riders, July 23.
Riders from all parts of the company were given the opportunity to ride 88 miles where the Marines and sailors took a pit-stop and sat down to talk about their motorcycles and individual riding habits. After their lunch break, the 13 riders returned to Camp Pendleton. For example, one Marine was given advice on cornering after a more experienced rider behind him noticed he was having a hard time.
“I like having the chance to mentor the newer riders who don’t have much experience on motorcycles and the road,” said Cpl. Harold W. Payne, small arms repair technician, Headquarters Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG.
One of the largest dangers to riders is themselves, according to Payne. Motorcycles very are different from cars when it comes to performance, ease of use and safety.
“A lot of people go out and buy a big bike when they’re inexperienced,” said Payne. “That’s how they get hurt.”
A Marine needs to be ready to deploy at all times, and a Marine injured on a motorcycle is a Marine who can’t fight, which is why regular motorcycle training is so important, and Headquarters Company holds rides quarterly.
“We like to recognize the younger riders in the company,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Armando D. Arias, religious program specialist, Headquarters Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG, “We like to bring out the experienced riders [so they can] share their knowledge.”
The experienced riders enjoy sharing their stories with each other. Some tell the others of close calls and their maneuvers to avoid crashing. Gunnery Sgt. Craig Ranney, motorcycle president, CLR-17, 1st MLG, had one of these close calls less than two months ago.
“As I was exiting into Fallbrook, I let a car in front of me in. I was hoping the van [behind me] would let me,” said Ranney, 37, from Akron Ohio. “However they didn’t, he just pulled into my rear tire, to which I had to jam on the throttle, and there was a car in front of me. In order not to hit the car I had no choice, I wound up not going down the actual exit ramp, but going 75 down the gravel on the side. Thanks to Marine Corps track training I knew to downshift and not jam on the brake, because braking would have locked my wheels and made me flip.”
The rides build camaraderie, according to Ranney. If nothing else, it helps bring together people from different parts of the company to enjoy a nice ride before they begin their weekend.
“They’re always asking me about the next ride, so I know they like these,” said Arias, 31, from San Diego, who organized the event.
Motorcycle safety is important because it is a very dangerous activity, and Marines need to stay alive to fight another day.
“We care about them and what they’re riding,” said Arias. “It’s like a brotherhood, everyone shares their experiences and we have a good time.”