Semper Ride: Marines finally get motorcycle safety

Dailies -


Semper_Ride.jpgPhoto: WWII in Color

Never has motorcycle safety looked so good. More US Marines were killed on motorcycles last year than in combat. Since the Corps invests millions of dollars in training each soldier and is currently facing recruitment difficulties and budget shortfalls, it considers this unacceptable. The solution is clearly to make Marines safer when they ride. One part of that is the recently implemented advanced motorcycle training courses, the other appears to an educational film: “Semper Ride.”

The level of honest, intelligent discussion, exciting action, realistic
situations, production values and shear maturity evident in this
trailer is simply shocking. Traditional safety messages tend to be incredibly simplistic and outdated.

Learn on a dirt bike first? Always wear leathers on a sportsbike?
Sportsbikes aren’t designed to be fully exploited on the road? Wow,
real advice for real riders.

The Marines are currently rolling this film out at bases across the US
in combination with a live stunt show, displays from motorcycle
manufacturers and safety gear makers. It’s going to save lives.

Semper Ride via Bikes in the Fast Lane

  • dave

    seems a bit smarter than the last directive about “base vests”

  • s0crates82


    I’m hoping that after seeing this, I’ll see less squidly t-shirt, shorts, and flipflop riders around soCal. Probably not, though.

    Hell – they should show this in high schools.

  • carlos

    I wish they had this with the USAF, not just the Marines. If I remember, DOD directives make you have a MSF course completed before you can drive a motorcycle onto a DOD installation. Still, the MSF courses are really basic and for lack of a better word, lame.

    • Wes Siler

      All of Europe and most other countries in the world have some form of tiered license while France a couple other countries have outright power limits on any motorcycle (100bhp).

      For example, in England where I first got my license, I could ride a 50cc at 16 (a year before I could drive a car), a 12.5bhp 125cc at 17 with Learner plates, then, once I passed my test I was restricted to a maximum of 33bhp (any engine size) for 2 years, then anything.

      Also, most other countries have insurers that refuse to insure new riders on anything over 500cc and won’t give you a policy on a liter bike until you’re 25 and have at least five year’s experience.

      It’d be nice to see the Motorcycle Industry enact something similar but voluntary here.

  • aeolus

    The MSF course is for rank beginners really and while they do offer an advanced course I have no knowledge of what it consists of. The central problem is the current sport bikes are way too powerful for anyone but the mature expert but are sold to anyone with the readies.Not helpful are the blogsters that caterwaul if the newest offering is not the most powerful yet. Other than restrictive licencing which is unlikely, I see no solution.The film points toward off road which is the safest and might be encouraged with off duty competitive events on the base training grounds.

  • carlos

    Do some countries in Europe have regulations for limiting bike power to license experience/years riding? I think I read this somewhere…

  • matthew

    Too bad the available off-base, off-road riding is going the way of the dodo. I want to see this film in its entirety. I also want to see it in schools and readily available on Netflix.

  • mototom

    Carlos, I believe the UK might be one of several countries that has tiered licensing based on age and possibly other factors.

  • Matt

    When I was in the Marines they just showed us slideshows of the aftermath of semis merging into motorcycles with stupid captions like “Is that a kidney?” under photo’s of bloody purple brown blobs on the pavement. The photo that made me terrified of wearing anything less than full face helmets was of a guy who appeared to be alive but looked like he had his nose ground back a few inches and his jaw ripped off. That was long before I got a motorcycle and it kept me from even wanting one for quite a while. This seems like a much more reasonable method.

  • Mr Belding

    Top notch concept and video.

    Love Keith Code, twist of the wrist is a fantastic book, if a little hard to absorb.

  • Cynic

    Love the fact that they’re making an effort. My younger brother in-law is a Marine, and rides a motorcycle with his buddies. I had a chance to hang out with them this past weekend, and it was sad to see how little they think about how dangerous it is to ride a motorcycle. Things like not wearing gear, and not riding drunk, real basics in my mind, were common stories.
    Hopefully some of my stories of crashing pretty hard and getting up again because of gear got through to them.

  • dave

    “The photo that made me terrified of wearing anything less than full face helmets was of a guy who appeared to be alive but looked like he had his nose ground back a few inches and his jaw ripped off. That was long before I got a motorcycle and it kept me from even wanting one for quite a while. This seems like a much more reasonable method.”

    So how long before you bought a bike did you wear a full face helmet?


  • v

    this is motorcycle porn,the production level is absolutely awesome. if the guy riding uphill at 3:22 doesn’t make you want to go buy a dirt bike than nothing will
    i also liked the fact that they did not imply(like every other moto safety video does) that sportsbikes are death on wheels,when handled properly a sportbike is just as safe as any other motorcycle,if not safest in principle at least(best brakes,best handling) but it’s like using a view camera compared to a digicam…there is no room for error

    any idea if the full movie would be released to the public?i sure would like to watch that and pass it along

  • TonyS

    I got my moto license in Switzerland. The road test was crazy hard that most people have to rent Enduro type bikes to get thru the slow speed part. Then they give you an walkie talkie ear piece thing to wear in your helmet so that they can give you directions while driving behind you in a cop car out on open roads for like 45 minutes. Nerve racking to say the least.
    In the state you can do the road test on a fucking Vespa and go out and buy a Desmosedici. Crazy.

  • Dan

    I had trouble hearing one of the interviewees – does he say that the off-road portion takes place in the dunes at Glamis, CA?

    Also, anyone ever been there personally?

  • carlos

    personally love the Keith Code explanations. His Twist of the Wrist videos seemed a little dated when i watched the DVD last year. Would love too see if he could do a refreshere and updated video of his course.

  • meatspion

    tiered licensing is for nanny states.

    are fatalities that much lower in countries using them?

  • Ajlouny

    Just the other day we went on a ride through a windy mountain road and about 90% of the motorcyclists were not dressed for a wreck. I know when you get your permit as a new rider, you need to take a written test, and when you get your endorsement, you take a riding test….but is that enough. I also think that there should be a class with a really good video that shows you the dangers of not being prepared for the worst.

  • David Hudacsko

    Any of the people that left comments, feel free to email me at and I will answer all that I can.

    Dave H.
    Semper Ride Event Management/ Prod. Mgt.

  • alessandro

    Good going
    Americans rock and believe it or not there are
    Canadian that support you and all your missions.
    2008 GSX 1000R