As the popularity of motorcycling and motorcycle registrations continues to rise among military service personnel, so does the number of fatal motorcycle crashes. That is why the Department of Defense (DoD) continues to seek out aggressive countermeasures in the campaign against two-wheel Private Motor Vehicle (PMV) mishaps among military personnel, and military sport bike riders in particular.
To that end, the DoD has engaged the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to conduct four focus groups for the Defense Safety Oversight Council (DSOC) PMV Task Force. The focus groups will take place at different locations across the United States in close proximity to military installations. The participants will represent the dominant motorcycling culture in the military that is statistically at highest risk, primarily sport bike riders.
Officers and commissioned personnel will be sampled separately to ensure that command structure perspectives are also considered. The initiative is being implemented through the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), operated by Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC).
"This initiative falls in line with the PMV Task Force’s strategic plan for the overall reduction of PMV mishaps across the Department of Defense," said Major General Fred Roggero, DSOC PMV Task Force Chair. "These focus groups have the potential to identify core issues, target initiatives and ultimately save lives."
In 2008, a small focus group was conducted by Al Hydeman, MSF’s director, research, design and development, with service members who were sport bike riders.
"That focus group was successful in identifying the habits, behaviors and attitudes inherent to this population," said MG Roggero.
The projected team for the new series of focus groups will be led by Hydeman, and will include MSF’s Director, Quality Assurance and Research, Dr. Sherry Williams and Quality Assurance Specialist, David Crouch. Building on the results from the 2008 effort, the MSF team will plan, coordinate and conduct the four focus groups in order to identify attitudes toward motorcycling and motorcycling peers, effectiveness of current countermeasures, barriers to change, and other relevant feedback.
"We’re honored to be part of the Department of Defense’s ongoing efforts to make motorcycle riding safer for military service personnel" said Hydeman. "Conducting focus groups is an effective way to get past the stereotypes and focus on core issues and solutions."
The project’s expected outcome is to provide guidance to the DoD in identifying the most effective means of reducing military motorcyclist fatalities and mishaps for all branches of the service – through technology, education, enforcement, and other areas as illuminated by focus group participants.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes rider safety through rider training systems, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF have been internationally recognized since 1973.