Bikers upset with Scottsdale police after fatal motorcycle crash

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –
Two motorcyclists were killed during a charity ride through Scottsdale on Saturday. 

Police are pinning the blame on the bikers, saying they ran a red light, but other participants in the ride say Scottsdale Police are to blame for not stopping traffic.

The couple was from New Mexico and here in town for the big event.

Scottsdale police identified those killed in the accident Saturday as 52-year-old Al Barela and 37-year-old Samantha Barela.

They were part of roughly 1000 bikers riding from Mesa to Scottsdale, all in the name of charity. But after this tragedy, many bikers say they’ll never participate again.

Scottsdale police say a married couple riding a motorcycle died after colliding with a car at Frank Lloyd Wright and Thunderbird Road. 

Today, bikers are questioning why police didn’t close off the intersection for riders.

It was Mike Jackson’s 8th time participating in the torch ride when he says he came upon yesterday’s deadly accident.

“I know that ride,” says Jackson. “Nobody should have been coming through the intersections. It would almost be like having a parade and the police saying well that one intersection we decided to let people through.”

In a statement Scottsdale police say the couple went through a red light and they weren’t wearing helmets.

Police also say participants signed a waiver which states motorcycles shall be “operated safely and consistent with the laws of the state of Arizona…”

The statement is causing an outrage for many bikers today.

“Scottsdale police dropped the ball in my opinion and they wanted to quickly, quickly put it on the biker and say it wasn’t their fault,” says Jackson.

The torch ride, which benefits the Special Olympics, is advertised as a police-escorted ride. Jon Becker and Brenda Wyssbrod say police led them through every red light.

“Did he think that there was an officer there blocking traffic, probably,” said Becker.

“It’s heartbreaking,” says Wyssbrod. “We are out there to support a good cause and something like this shouldn’t happen.”

Many bikers in the valley say when it comes to spending biker dollars in Scottsdale, this is the end of the road. 

“We probably will not be doing any other rides in Scottsdale from here on out unless they make an apology and they step up and take responsibility,” Becker says.

Scottsdale police also say event organizers were advised to tell participants to stop at red lights if an officer wasn’t present.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Article source: http://www.fox10phoenix.com/story/28644348/2015/03/30/bikers-upset-with-scottsdale-police-after-yesterdays-fatal-motorcycle-crash