Less than one week after an off-road racer lost control of his modified Ford Ranger and crashed into a crowd, killing 8 and seriously injuring 10 spectators, the federal agency responsible for managing the land on which the tragic accident occurred has issued a permit for another desert race, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“As a recreational activity, off roading is already extremely dangerous and mired in significant litigation,” noted an Orange County injury lawyer. “Turning it into a spectacle involving hundreds of people only amplifies the risks.”
In response to media and public criticism for allowing another desert race so soon, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) explained that it had thoroughly reviewed the safety rules outlined in the permit with the promoters of the upcoming race, the American Motorcycle Association-rules that hopefully will be followed this time.
The promoters of the fatal August 14th desert race, Mojave Desert Racing of El Monte, were also issued a permit requiring them to keep off-road racers more than 50 feet away from the crowd. Not only did the promoters neglect to comply with this stipulation, the BLM failed to enforce it. Spectators stood just a few feet from the racecourse. According to the California Highway Patrol, the Ford Ranger landed less than 10 feet from the racetrack. Had this rule been followed, or at least enforced, this accident would not have occurred.
While the BLM has suspended Mojave Deseret Racing from putting on any more desert races until their investigation into the accident has been concluded, the agency will continue to issue permits to off-road racing organizations contingent on their safety records.
“The number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from accidents involving recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) has continued to escalate since their introduction to the commercial market in the 1990s,” explained an Orange County injury lawyer. “With over 245 million acres of BLM-managed land, one can only hope that desert racing does not become as prevalent as off roading.”
James Ballidis is an Orange County injury lawyer specializing in ROV and motorcycle accidents. For questions about your rights and options after an accident, feel free to call 866-981-5596.