An illegal stunt show on the 15 Freeway turned into a fatal Temescal Valley motorcycle accident on July 16. Close to 50 members of the Ruthless Ryderz, a Southern California biker group, were involved with impeding traffic to make space for stunts.
The 28-year old male victim was a Garden Grove resident. He reportedly attempted to stand on the seat of his bike, a 2014 Kawasaki motorcycle, as it was moving northbound on the freeway in Corona, California. The bike became unstable, and the victim fell to the freeway head first, suffering major trauma despite his helmet. He was evacuated to Corona Regional Medical Center, where he would die of his injuries. No other vehicles were reported involved in the accident. Traffic, already slowed down by the riders for the stunt show, was snarled for miles.
Temescal Valley motorcycle accident an example of a growing problem
Motorcycle clubs and long-standing motorcycle gangs have attracted the attention of federal and state law enforcement. The accident on the 15 Freeway did not involve other vehicles, confined to one unfortunate victim. This is not always the case.
In October of 2016, two motorcycle side shows in San Francisco occurred while the Blue Angels wrapped up a performance in the Bay Area. Involving hundreds of motorcyclists, traffic on both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges was affected. Eyewitnesses claim multiple riders had minor accidents. Most riders got away, and were difficult if not impossible to identify thanks to helmets and a lack of license plates.
One rider was less lucky, crashing his bike into multiple vehicles on the Bay Bridge before dropping the bike to the ground. The bike then burst into flames as the rider fled the scene. He would be caught by law enforcement shortly afterwards.
California law enforcement bracing for more, and worse
California has a motorcycle culture, and it’s never going away. The lure of the open road can’t be denied, and the state has many beautiful motorcycle rides to experience. However, as the Temescal Valley motorcycle accident shows, younger riders are seeking more than just a pretty vista.
Clashes between motocyclists and other motorists have led to serious road rage-induced accidents. Anywhere you look online, there are countless anecdotal stories about how cars have cut off motorcycles, and vice-versa. Now factor in thrill-seekers doing stunts on the freeways of the state, the potential for fatal accidents appears to sky rocket. The victims stand to not only be the stunt performer on the bike, or the vehicles swerving to avoid them. It’s the people in the other lanes, seemingly far enough away from the spectacle to be safe. That is, safe until a motorcycle or another vehicle crashes into them.
For now, the spontaneous nature of sideshows like the one in Temescal Valley, and in the greater San Francisco area, continues to frustrate law enforcement. The CHP can’t be everywhere at once. In the minutes that pass after a 911 call, motorcycles can flee the scene. For now, there does not appear to be a good solution beyond warning the public against unsafe driving and motorbiking.