Arizona Bike Week is one of the fastest-growing motorcycle rallies in the world, buoyed by the beautiful desert scenery here and the ever-expanding roster of entertainment. Unfortunately, though, the event also saw a number of disturbing motorcycle accidents this year.
The latest of those came during a charity ride, of all things. The Arizona Republic reports that 52-year-old Al Barela and his 37-year-old wife, Samantha, were riding in Bike Week’s charity torch ride, which supports the Special Olympics, in late March. Al was driving the bike when he accidentally ran a red light and struck a car in the intersection.
The car’s occupants were fine, but Al and Samantha were both ejected and critically injured. They were rushed to the hospital, where they later died.
Scottsdale Police report that there were at least seven traffic accidents connected with Arizona Bike Week this year alone.
Our hearts go out to the Barela family as they mourn such an unexpected loss. The fact that Al and Samantha were engaged in an act of charity makes their loss all the more tragic.
Their story reminds us just how vulnerable motorcycle drivers and their passengers are. Regardless of who’s at fault, Arizona motorcycle accidents are frequently characterized by catastrophic injury or death.
That’s why motorcycle safety is so important, and we hope to see Arizona Bike Week put even greater emphasis on proper precautions in the future. With a renewed commitment to safety, we could see the traffic accident rate decline in future years, even as the event becomes increasingly popular. The lives of our bikers depend on it.