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http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Midwest/08/25/daredevil.motorcyclists.ap/index.html

Stunt motorcyclists blamed in serious accident
Wreck forces SUV off road, injures five people
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 Posted: 6:45 AM EDT (1045 GMT)


ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Authorities are searching for a pack of highway stunt motorcyclists blamed for a wreck that seriously hurt five people in a sport utility vehicle.

A handful of motorcyclists were on Highway 364 Saturday when they changed lanes and cut off a Ford Explorer, forcing that vehicle to swerve to the right and hit a Chevrolet Suburban.

The Suburban tumbled down an embankment, ejecting most of its eight occupants. Five people in that vehicle were seriously injured; the other three sustained lesser harm. Only one was wearing a seat belt.

"There's a common misconception that if motorcyclists are in an accident, they're going to only hurt themselves. This proved that wrong," Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Geier said Tuesday. "Now the public is more aware that these types of stunts cause these accidents."

By some accounts, a chase vehicle was filming the motorcyclists.

Witnesses said the motorcyclists were "riding wheelies, showing off, doing stunts," with another vehicle following them, Patrol Cpl. Jeff Myers said. He called the antics "total disregard for the safety of others."

In many cases, "extreme motorcyclists" -- thrill-seekers who pop wheelies while pushing their machines to the max, at times over 100 mph -- film their exploits for display, at times for online sale.

Nationwide fatalities increase
Safety advocates are quick to point out that motorcycling is no game, with fatalities nationwide having risen every year since 1997. The number jumped from 2,116 in 1997 to 3,661 in 2003. It's not clear how many of those deaths were related to extreme motorcycling, said Judy Stone of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a Washington-based lobbying group funded by the insurance industry.

During a three-hour drive home last weekend from Pennsylvania, she said she saw motorcyclists "going so fast, weaving in and out of traffic. It was so outrageous. They had to be going 80, 90, 100 miles per hour."

"It's totally irresponsible and very dangerous," she said. "Clearly, you've seen the results of that."

In June 2003 near Omaha, Nebraska, 34-year-old John Reid Jr. was standing on a road videotaping motorcyclists performing stunts and racing when he was run over and killed by motorcyclist Michael Wilkes. Investigators said Wilkes was driving as fast as 150 mph; he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor motor-vehicle homicide, a charge reduced from a felony.

In Arizona, things got so bad that law enforcers in 2002 created a task force targeting sport bike riders that police and motorcyclists agreed were pushing the limits on that state's roads.

Sometimes, authorities said, packs of 10 or 15 sport motorcyclists have raced on Phoenix-area highways, terrifying other motorists. Often, one officer lamented, "their kick is to find cops, race by them, give them the middle finger salute or wave at the officer. They are out of sight in the blink of an eye."
 

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Hmmmmm, first time for me to ever hear of a bike coming out the winner in a wreck. The media is now going to jump all over this? Psshhhh, what about all the bikes that get cut off, ran off the road, hit, and with the end result useally death.

The media get on my nerves sometimes. Then again so do those who have no regard for life or the lives of others. All fun and games till someone gets their eye poked out.
 

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Why does a vehicle have to swerve to miss a motorcycle that cuts it off. Was the Explorer speeding, going too fast to apply pressure on that peddle on the left, you know the brakes. If a car cuts me off, and I am in my car, a tap on the brakes is enough to slow and keep from rear ending them.

No I don't think stunting in traffic is right. It is very unsafe, but sounds like the bike is the safe one to stick all the blame on, to me.
 

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Wow, our laws are probably going to be changing within the next year or two....With all of these accidents we have been having locally, it wouldn't surprise me.

Shame on anybody who doesn't look out for another persons safety while in a vehicle.

Drive carefull!!!!!!!
 

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What the fuck? That's the worst article i've ever read. It's so one sided. Viscious packs of motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic at like 80 mph. What the fuck is that? Plus who the fuck rams into another car and kills people just because a motorcycle goes by.
 

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Damn....I feel bad for those that were hurt..whether they were riders or not. Sucks about the bad publicity, but stunting happens in every town that has a straight road (and in some without straight roads). In Topeka, the way we offset the bad publicity that we were getting for doing antics (yes...we do stupid stuff too...) was to take an active role to make sure that we were doing things that were also IMPROVING the attitude towards sportbike riders in the local area. About 20% of the riders in town are young kids or old men who are going to have one bike, crash it, and then go on to something else, but the rest of the gang are those who are in for the 'long haul', who will benefit from not letting each years bad situations become an overall feeling of "sportbikes = bad news".

The Topekasportriders.com group signed up to clean a 1 mile stretch of highway in a VERY high-visibility area of town, we do cleanup partys 4 times a year (go out on a sunday, ride to the spot, park the bikes on the side of the highway and do a cleanup, takes about an hour, then go to someones house and have a BBQ. it's a GREAT Sunday afternoon with the group.

The group is also very active in festiviteis around town. Christmas Parade, Easter Parade, the local Mexican Pride parade (most of the group aren't Mexican/American, but we all go anyways, it's a great time) and all of the "Charity" bike runs that the loal Harley Davidson group puts on, we attend and donate what we can. (Hint: The HD group parades usually have members of the Police Force in them...and just meeting them and letting them know you aren't a 'Meddling youngster' is a good thing come ticket time..even if it's not a cop you know, when the cops are talking and sportbike riders comes up, maybe the one you DID meet will hold up for you).

Anyways, yes, bad things can happen, and I feel horrible for the people (or, God-forbid, kids) that were hurt, and it's going to be horrible if the local police in these areas start cracking down on all sportbikes because of these incidents...but if you're in a group that is dedicated to being 'into' bikes for a few years, it may be beneficial to you to begin doing things that BENEFIT the look of sportbiking BEFORE something happens.....

The 'hopper
 
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