Following the fatal accident that killed Joi Harris in Vancouver, many industry professionals are left wondering why Harris was put in that position. Harris, an acclaimed road racer, had zero experience doing stunts for films. Stunt coordinators and drivers alike are left baffled and in shock over her tragic death. Some were critical of the decision to let Harris attempt the stunt. Conrad Palmisano, a film stunt coordinator with 47 years of expertise in the industry, said, “she rode 300cc cycles. The one she crashed on was 900cc motorcycle – much bigger, more powerful.”
The fact of the matter is that nobody knows if she was qualified enough to safely repeat the stunt, but that is the concerning thought. Melissa Stubbs, a stunt driver with over 200 movie credits to her name, was passed over to allow Harris to perform the helmet-less stunt. Steve Kelso, a stunt driver in famous movies such as Captain America Civil War and 40-year stunt specialist was thinking similarly when then the news broke. When looking at Harris’ experience, he said, “There’s no comparison. The two don’t really mix. Being a professional motorcycle rider is only half the job, the other half is knowing all the parameters and the art of making movies.”
At the end of the day, this accident serves as a reminder to us all. Even though we may feel comfortable riding in many circumstances, we must remember where our limitations lie. Riding defensively, riding with full awareness of your surroundings and anticipating other motorists actions can help keep California and U.S. motorcyclists safe on our highways and byways.