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Answers sought after fatal crash during popular dirt bike race

Thanks to the temperate weather, residents of the state of Florida are able to participate in many recreational activities during the winter months that are otherwise prohibited to those living in colder climates.

For instance, people are able to enjoy fishing, golf, swimming and, of course, motorcycle riding. In fact, the Florida Trail Riders, a statewide motorcycle enthusiasts group that organizes off-road races across the Sunshine State, currently counts over 2,500 people as members.

While there is no denying how exciting motorcycle riding can be, there is also no denying how it can rapidly turn tragic, even when riders are moving at relatively low speeds.

To illustrate, consider a recent motorcycle crash in Manatee County that took the life of a young boy under circumstances that law enforcement officials have called "a very, very tragic accident."

This past weekend, people from across the state gathered for the Buffalo Stampede Hare Scramble, an event featuring off-road races by people of all ages held on a closed circuit through woods and fields.

Officials indicate that during the race in the Peewee Division, which features riders between the ages of 5-8 riding dirt bikes no faster than a maximum of 20 miles-per-hour, a seven-year-old boy crashed into an adult volunteer riding a motorcycle.

While an official report has yet to be released, law enforcement believes that the young rider simply failed to see the volunteer rider who was crossing the track while searching for another race participant. They also believe that the boy, who was pronounced dead at an area hospital, suffered severe neck injuries due to the severity of the crash.

For their part, the Florida Trail Riders, which endorsed the event, has indicated that every hare scramble is undertaken with the utmost focus on safety. For instance, all riders are required to wear safety gear and every event is staffed by a crew of volunteers, at least one of whom is a paramedic.

"By and large, our families feel we have a very safe outlet for riding dirt bikes," said an official with the group. "It's a controlled atmosphere. It's probably safer than some other places where you could go racing dirt bikes on your own."

It remains to be seen whether this tragedy will lead to additional safety precautions on the part of race organizers or whether any sort of legal ramifications will result. Stay tuned for developments ...

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for justice in the event you suffered serious personal injuries or lost a loved one on a motorcycle accident.

Source: The Bradenton Herald, "Boy's Myakka motorcycle race death ruled 'accident'," Jason Bartolone, Feb. 11, 2014

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