LOS ANGELES (CBS) — There hadn’t been a fatality in the 28 year history of the “Love Ride.”
Bike enthusiast Jay Leno, the event’s grand marshal, quipped the event had become all too polite. To many, those comments seemed a bit insensitive in light of two fatalities about an hour later.
Cheering on the riders, Leno said, “Every year, [the organizer] says ‘Drive safe.’ I’m gonna say, ‘Don’t drive safe.’ I wanna see somebody go down. So it’ll be fun. I want it to be in front or behind me and see a whole row of bikes go down. Get drunk, fall off the road. We’ve all become too damn polite…we haven’t had one incident.”
About an hour later, he unfortunately got his wish for someone to go down. Clearly, he wasn’t wishing it would have the tragic results that it did.
Romarino Zeri, 51, of Los Angeles and Julie Cameron, 38, of Venice, were both killed when the motorcycle they were riding on slammed into a big rig on the Golden State (5) Freeway in Pacoima.
The pair was declared dead at the scene.
Many riders, recalling Leno’s sendoff, said he would probably feel bad for his joke — although no one is suggesting he could have known what was coming…especially given the ride’s stellar safety record.
More than 2,000 bikers participate in the ride — from Glendale to Castaic Lake — which raises money to benefit Autism Speaks.
Leno is an active participant in the ride and the charity has raised upwards of $13 million since it began.