|HOME | PRESS | SPONSORSHIP | JOIN OUR TEAM ||
April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Safety Center reminds service members about the importance of motorcycle safety as more riders take advantage of the warmer weather.
Most riders have learned that training saves lives and have benefitted from the free courses offered by the military.
However, not everyone knows that training also saves money. In an effort to help the Navy and Marine Corps reduce fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes, many insurance companies offer discounts to riders who complete a motorcycle training course.
"Most insurance companies provide a 10 percent discount to people who have taken the Basic Rider Course," said Don Borkoski, the motorcycle manager at the Naval Safety Center.
The issue of training garnered a lot of attention in fiscal year 2008, when 33 Sailors and 25 Marines were killed on motorcycles. Most of those service members died on sportbikes. That is why the Naval Safety Center worked with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to create the Military Sportbike Rider Course, (MSRC) which began training students in June of 2008. The emphasis on training – and training targeted to sportbike riders in particular – paid off. In fiscal year 2009, 13 Sailors and 14 Marines died on motorcycles. This is still too many, but a big improvement nonetheless.
Some insurance companies now offer an additional five percent discount to riders who have taken the MSRC. They offer the discount as an incentive to get Sailors and Marines to take the training that could save their lives and reduce the likelihood of an accident, Borkoski said. That makes it a win for riders, who are getting into fewer accidents, and a win for the insurance companies, who are paying out fewer claims.
However, Borkoski said these discounts may expire after two or three years.
"That's something a lot of people don't know," he said. "But if you retake the training, you get to keep the discount, and in most cases, it just takes a phone call to the agency."
This is in line with the Navy's requirement for follow-on training every three years, a policy that acknowledges the fact that riding skills are perishable.
When it comes to insurance, discounts aren't the only thing Sailors and Marines don't know about, Borkoski said. He said he's seen plenty of cases where someone buys a new motorcycle, only to find out after the fact that he or she can't afford the insurance.
"If you're buying a new motorcycle, shop for insurance first," he said. "In some cases, the insurance payment is more than the bike payment, and if you're not ready, that can be a shock."
He said that insurance premiums are typically tied to engine size and the type of motorcycle. Typically, sportbikes cost more to insure than cruises, because of the higher number of claims and the cost of each claim.
"If you drop a sportbike, even at five or 10 miles per hour, you're looking at a minimum of three to $4,000 in damages," Borkoski said.
He recommends Sailors and Marines do research before buying and insuring motorcycles.
"Decide what kind of bike you think you want and then call the insurance company before you do anything else," he said. "Make sure to ask about what discounts they offer and then get trained."
For more information about motorcycle safety, visit www.safetycenter.navy.mil.