Motorcycles More Dangerous Than Combat

No surprise here:

More American troops have died on US roads in off-duty motorcycle accidents after they returned from Afghanistan than have been killed fighting there since September 11, 2001, safety records show.

Military commanders in north Carolina say the deaths are largely the result of boredom, bonus pay, and adrenalin to burn off after troops return from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nearly 350 troops have died on motorcycles since the 2001 terrorist attacks. That`s compared to 259 killed while serving in Afghanistan. Nearly 1,000 more troops have been injured on motorcycles.

I’m not certain if the figures still hold true, but at one time more members of the Canadian Forces acrobatic Snowbird team had been killed in road accidents than in airplane crashes. (Though, I suspect, like most , they tend to drive like they fly.)

In the course of my business I’ve had the pleasure of riding with a few customers and friends who race motorcycles. Oddly enough – or perhaps, not so – they’re among the most careful of street riders. Of course, a few high speed “get offs” on the track can have that effect on someone.

“When the doctor told me that he was dead, I told him that wasn’t acceptable, it just wasn’t acceptable,” said Andrea Strickland, 22, the widow of Mark Strickland. “I said, `He just got back from a war zone, and you’re going to tell me that he died doing something he loved?'”

Lt Gen James F Amos, commander of the Camp Lejeune-based II marine expeditionary force described the crashes in October as “a cold shot to the heart” and ordered a crackdown. The following month normal base operations were halted to focus on safety, particularly for motorcyclists.

Sounds like they could use a few track days.

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Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. LJD says:

    Time to up-armor their bikes…

  2. G A PHILLIPS says:

    How many of them had helms on, can you find out.

  3. LJD says:

    Presumably, all of them had helmets on, otherwise it likely would have voided their SGLI (Service Members Group Life Insurance).

    Further in addition to any State law, it is usually a matter of Base Policy, Command policy, etc.

    At Ft. Carson, Soldiers have to take and pass a motorcycle safety course before they are allowed to ride on post.

  4. Mario Mirarchi says:

    I am remember reading about a Special Forces A-Team commander during the Vietnam War who had to forbid his men from riding motorcycles before deployment to Vietnam because he lost several men to accidents.

  5. Just Me says:

    I remember reading an interview with a commander of a NH NG unit that was returning from Iraq. One of the comments made during the interview (think the question was along the lines of how hard it was to tell families of lost soldiers)part of his response was that he actually lost fewer troops while they were in Iraq, than over the course of a year here at home, because of car/motorcycle accidents. Of course his comments were specific to his unit, there are other units that have lost far more than this one.

    I also know that we have had three instances where a soldier returned from Iraq and died within a few weeks of returning in some type of accident-one of them was a close friend of a person I work with.