Returning to civilian life after military service is challenging. Veterans find healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with the changes and stress, from drinking to professional therapy. One common choice of relief is riding a motorcycle. The combination of being outdoors and enjoying a relaxing ride or adrenaline rush helps calm the turmoil inside. Some veterans find support with each other by forming motorcycle clubs.
Unfortunately, this method of stress management comes with a high risk of injury and fatality. Motorcycle riding is already dangerous enough, but the risk seems to be higher for veterans. Although deaths from motor vehicle accidents have declined for this group, motorcycle accidents are increasingly a contributing factor, reports U.S. Medicine.
Those most at risk are young, single males with only a high school education. This demographic is most likely to drive recklessly or while intoxicated. The risky maneuvers are from more than just being a wild and carefree young man. Such driving was necessary in the field, says the Washington Post. Furthermore, the PTSD veterans experience upon return leads to more aggression behind the wheel.
Due to these underlying issues, traditional safety steps for riding a motorcycle are not enough to stop this troubling trend. Of course, things like wearing a helmet and going the speed limit are beneficial and should be top priority while on the road. However, the real solution lies in helping servicemembers in the transition from active duty to regular life to reduce the factors of aggressive and drunk driving and the need to engage in risky activities as a coping mechanism.
Accidents and injuries
Not all accidents are the bikers’ fault. Motorists are often responsible for distracted and negligent driving around motorcycles, leading to severe injuries for the rider. Veterans expect such dangers while on duty, not on the road back home. Even those who have not been in military service for decades are at risk, and their increased age makes serious injury likelier as well. Part of honoring those who have defended this country is driving safely on the road to avoid causing accidents.