The Wall Of Death Daredevils of Coney Island And Other Biker Daredevils– Motorcycle Lawyer News
For as long as there have been motorcycles there have been men and women who have dared to push the envelope of safety, physics, and common sense…enter the motorcycle daredevil. According to Random House the origin of the word daredevil dates back to 1785, and while the motorcycle was hundreds of years away from being invented there are accounts daring young men in Mostar, Bosnia willing to defy death by jumping from Stari Most bridge into the river Neretva below in order to gain respect and food from local villagers.
As early as 1911the motordrome in Coney Island featured the wall of death with motorcycle mad men pushing the limits of speed and safety atop tricked out Indian, BSA, and Harley Davidson motorcycles. There were a variety of acts that included high-speed acrobatics and even one stunt that had a lion in a special sidecar attached to a souped up race car. By 1915 there were over 100 wall of death attractions traveling with carnivals across the U.S.
In 1912 the Ringling bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus were entertaining crowds with the cage of death, a 16-foot wide steel globe invented by Joaquin Urias. Soon after the one of a kind motorcycle act rocketed the Urias family to fame and to this day they still entertain and captivate audiences around the world. On a historical note, there have only been 3 performance related deaths recorded.
As the motorcycle became more popular and more powerful these two-wheeled madmen further pushed the limits as they competed for the crowds and the name of top motorcycle daredevil.
With the television helping to advertise motorcycle daredevil attractions, the mid 1960’s belonged to none other than Evel Knievel who made record-breaking motorcycle jumps, but it wasn’t until his infamous 1967 jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace where he cheated death and was crowned the instant “king” of the motorcycle daredevils. The failed jump left him with numerous life threatening injuries and in coma for 29 days. There were many other stunt riders that came before and after Evel Knievel, but none of them had the raw unrehearsed ability to captivate an audience like Evel did.
In Posthumous recognition, on July 10, 2010 the Harley Davidson Museum opened a special exhibit entitled “True Evel”. With Harley Davidson motorcycles and Kelly Knievel, Evel’s oldest son working together the exhibit displayed memorabilia from the king of the daredevils including Evel’s “Shark Jump” Harley-Davidson XR-750, the X-2 Skycycle, his Blue jumpsuit, and his trademark “red, white and blue” jumpsuit with his helmet and walking stick.
Of all of these daring and fearless motorcycle daredevils, the question was undoubtedly asked: Why do you do it? While the answers vary, “I knew I could draw a big crowd by jumping over weird stuff” Said Knievel, and “I am a guy who is first of all a businessman,” he said. “I’m not a stunt man. I’m not a daredevil. I’m” — he paused — “I’m an explorer.”
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