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US Coast Guard Motorcycle Attorney

Semper Paratus!

The Coast Guard motto is "Semper Paratus", which is Latin for "Always Ready" or "Always Prepared". Although technically not part of the U.S. military, the Coast Guard models its drill after the U.S. Marines to a large degree, producing some of the toughest, hardest and well trainsed CG personel in history.   The USCG operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and its command is often transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President or U.S. Congress during times of war and was heavily used in World Wr II. These men and women need to get around quickly and efficiently. Motorcycles are an increasingly popular mode of transportation in America, their registration numbers increasing annually.  The popularity of motorcycles is likewise increasing for our military men and women, including the Coast Guard, even more so than for civilians.  In fact, in 2009 ridership for civilians was estimated at 4 percent, while that estimated for military services was 10 percent.

Motorcycle Fatalities and the Military and Coast Guard

Unfortunately, motorcycles also have a high injury and fatality rate for the people in military service.  It was estimated in 2008 that 50 percent of all Coast Guard vehicular fatalities involved a motorcycle, even though only 10 percent of members rode.  The Coast Guard estimated that for that year the fatality rate for motorcyclists was ten times higher than for automobiles.  Age and experience make no difference; while there were more young people that perished, there were also senior officers.

Coast Guard Personnel Motorcycle Requirements

In order to help ensure the safety of its own, motorcyclists are given rules and regulations to follow when on Coast Guard bases such as the ISC Alameda and TRACEN Petaluma bases in California. 

Helmet and Other Rider-Wear Requirements for the Coast Guard

In July of 2009, a General Order was issued stating that every military member either driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle is required to wear an approved helmet.  For the Coast Guard, the helmets must be DOT or Snell Foundation approved.   For Coast Guard members, this is required whether on or off –duty no matter the local, less-restrictive legislation.

In fact, if any civilian and military motorcycle or road-rule conflict, the more stringent of the two is implemented.  The Coast Guard takes the safety of their men and women seriously and will take action through military justice if it the safety rule is ignored.

The Coast Guard also requires that motorcyclists wear appropriate clothing and other equipment when operating a motorcycle including gloves, eye protection, long sleeves, long pants, and over-the-ankle footwear.  While Coast Guard motorcyclists are no longer required to wear reflective or brightly colored vests or other clothing to enhance visibility, they do encourage the practice for safety’s sake.

Motorcyclist Training Requirements for the Coast Guard

Motorcyclists are not only required to protect themselves with equipment, but also with education as training is required for registration decals on the Coast Guard bases in Petaluma and Alameda and is highly recommended for those who aren’t even seeking an on-base registration decal or parking.  The Coast Guard requirements for such training are strong, usually referring to the training standards of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).  For example, the Coast Guard requirements for training include several beginner and experienced rider courses, including the “Riding and Street Skills” and “Basic Rider” courses for beginner riders, and the “Experienced Rider” course for those who have been on a motorcycle.  The training must be one of the following sources:

•    Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)
•    One of the Military branches
•    State department of motor vehicle or state public safety 
•    Safety institutions
•    Qualified private providers meeting the criterion of MSF courses
•    Colleges, universities, or community colleges
•    Motorcycle manufacturers, dealerships, or clubs
•    Coast Guard instructors

Thankfully, costs for training can often be recovered in part or eventually in full by some institutions.  For example, most insurance companies will give up to a 15 percent discount on motorcycle insurance premiums if proof of training is provided.  Over a two year period, the training may pay for itself in premiums, and definitely will in safety.  Many manufacturers and dealerships will also provide discounts for accessories and equipment if the rider shows that they have completed a motorcycle safety course.

Coast Guard Motorcycle Registration and Parking Decals

In addition to proof of a completed safety course, a motorcyclist seeking a registration and parking decal for Coast Guard bases must provide proper license endorsement and registration as well as proof of insurance.  The rule for registration decals on the Coast Guard bases also applies to civilian personnel seeking the decal and parking on the bases.

Keeping Coast Guard Motorcyclists Safe

The Coast Guard is proud of its men and women, expecting motorcycle safety, both physical and mental, at all times.  When on a base in California, such as Alameda or Petaluma, be sure to know the current regulations and respect them.  If there is a Coast Guard Motorcycle accident lawyer, and you or your loved one is injured due to the negligence of another, Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Firm can help.  Michael Ehline is not only a proud Marine, but also is a motorcyclists and he understands the lifestyle of both the military and a biker.  Ehline Law Firm PC’s offices are conveniently located throughout California, including Santa Rosa near to Petaluma, and Oakland near Alameda.  Please call 1-888-400-9721 today.

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