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April 17, 2017 1:22 pm

Officials Working to Prevent Copycats After Daredevil Stunt on 60 Freeway

motorbikeA daredevil motorcycle stunt over a Riverside County freeway in early March has prompted officials to make sure it was a one-time event. Heavy machinery, boulders, and tree trunks were all employed to ensure the dirt ramp used for the stunt couldn’t be used again by any copycats.

An expertly edited video of the stunt that went viral on Instagram is what tipped off CalTrans officials. After viewing the video, which was filmed from five different angles, it didn’t take long for officials to pinpoint the location of the stunt. The giant dirt ramp was all the evidence they needed.

“We want to impress upon people that this was a dangerous stunt and somebody could have lost their life on that highway,” said Terri Kasinga, a CalTrans public information officer. With this type of risk, what motivates people to attempt such ill-advised actions? Perhaps it is the desire for fame. Perhaps it is financial. Consumer debt in the U.S. reached $3.4 trillion in May 2015. Many see YouTube exposure as a path out of debt.

While nobody was hurt, Kasinga and other CalTrans officials are stressing that the situation could have been much worse. Any one of the drivers on the road at that time, or the motorcyclist himself, could have lost their lives during that stunt. These risks put stress on our system in many different ways. The most obvious costs are hospital bills. Additionally, traffic stoppages in this part of the country have a very high cost of productivity. Worker’s compensation pays 100% of medical costs for an injured worker if they are on the job, which could also be a factor here.

Kyle Katsandris, a 24-year-old motocross enthusiast from San Clemente, was allegedly the cyclist behind the stunt was probably not concerned with the possible down-sides. Mike French, a friend of his, said Katsandris was part of a small group of free-riding motorcyclists that typically practiced in areas such as the Timoteo Badlands, where the stunt was performed.

French explained that while he was witness to other stunts performed by Katsandris in areas where biking is allowed, he wasn’t involved in the freeway jump. But he doubts whether or not his friend was the one who performed the stunt. Katsandris, although known to participate in free-riding, works as a salesperson for a tool company.

Katsandris is a young man, but performing stunts and being without a will, even if he is under the age of 40 may not be the smartest idea. According to French, however, Katsandris’s IQ is “through the roof.”

“He is a very intelligent man,” French said. “I really have trouble thinking he jumped that jump and posted it online if it is as illegal as it seems.”
In addition, nobody called 911 to report the stunt after it happened. Officials say even misdemeanor charges may be difficult to dole out, as the driver’s face was obscured by the helmet they were wearing.

“If anybody is caught doing it [again], they will be prosecuted,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Costelow.


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