Marines who own or intend to purchase a motorcycle have some new requirements, according to a new All-Marine message released Thursday.
The new requirements outlined in ALMAR 014/08 come just six months after the Marine Corps suffered its worst year for motorcycle fatalities since recording statistics began 10 years ago.
In an effort to reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities, riders are now required to notify their commands prior to purchasing a motorcycle. The requirement, according to the ALMAR, will ensure the Marine is aware of the responsibilities associated with owning a bike, to include registration, training, and personal protective equipment.
Furthermore, any Marine who currently owns a motorcycle must notify the command by Monday, regardless of whether or not the Marine rides on base, according to the ALMAR.
"This is not intended to be another restriction on motorcycle riders," said safety division director Col. James D. Grace. "This requirement is intended to notify the unit . . . and ensure (a) Marine or sailor has or receives the appropriate training."
In addition to notifying unit commanders, Marines who own or intend to purchase a motorcycle will be required to register their bikes at the provost marshal’s office. Marines must also maintain a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.
Marine Corps Order 5100.19E, Marine Corps Traffic Safety Program, also referred to as the Drive Safe Program, already requires Marines to complete a motorcycle safety course prior to operating a motorcycle on a military installation. The new ALMAR works in conjunction with the order as an additional safety measure to further include Marines who do not ride on base as well, according to safety division officials.
Marines who do not possess all required documents will be prohibited from riding a motorcycle. Violations of the Marine Corps order or the ALMAR are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the ALMAR.
The goal of the new restrictions, aside from saving lives, is to ensure commanders can identify motorcycle riders within their respective commands, according to Peter J. Hill, ground safety engineer. The current order clearly states requirements for motorcycle riders, but now there is a requirement for identifying those riders as well, he added.
According to Hill, motorcycle owners should reference both the ALMAR and the Marine Corps Order to ensure all requirements are being followed. Hill also noted that MCO 5100.19E is currently being updated.
In addition to the new motorcycle requirements, ALMAR 014/08 also addressed mandatory seat belt use in motor vehicles.
According to Headquarters Marine Corps Safety Division, there have been eight motorcycle and 24 motor-vehicle fatalities since the beginning of the new fiscal year in October 2007.
ALMAR 014/08 PRIVATE MOTOR VEHICLE AND MOTORCYCLE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS