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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

In Memory of Fallen Member

In Memory of Fallen Member

Motorcyclists embark on cross-country trip

 

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

 

Danielle Rivera, known as ‘Dani’ to those close to her, loved riding her 2016 Indian motorcycle. Coming from a family of passionate motorcyclists, it was no surprise that she was looking into joining a motorcycle club. She set out to accomplish this very goal—along with other rigorous academic pursuits—before tragically losing her life in October of 2016. Rivera was traveling eastbound on Stagecoach Road, according to a Killeen Police Department news release, when a 2013 Dodge Charger traveling westbound attempted to turn left into a Mickey’s Convenience Store, causing the motorcycle to collide with the Charger. Rivera was taken to Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights and subsequently airlifted to Baylor Scott & White Hospital. She succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased by Justice of the Peace J.W. Ivey at 9:47 p.m.

The loss of Rivera came as a devastating blow to not only her family, but to many of her friends as well. Now, the same motorcycle club she was looking into joining is riding cross-country in her memory. The Blaque Pearls MC is a motorcycle club based out of Killeen; Rivera was prospecting for a position in the group for some time before her death. She forged a strong bond with members, according to Del Izquierdo, a daughter of the club’s originator.

“Anytime we were together, she always made me laugh,” Izquierdo, known as ‘Dirty Bird’, said. “Her smile would light up an entire room. Dani’s death impacted me so much—she was the youngest rider in my mom’s club. We always talked about the cross-country rides we would go on.” In her absence, members of Blaque Pearls MC decided to bring a picture portrait of Rivera to accompany them on their trip across Interstate 49, eventually heading north towards Canada. Every time the group passes a new state line, they stop and pose at the city’s sign, holding the picture of Rivera.

“She was supposed to be here for this trip.” Izquierdo points out. “So instead, she’s accomplishing her first big ride through us. She rides with me every time I get on my bike. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Dani. But as long as we’re riding, she’ll be riding with us.”

Izquierdo says their road trip started on June 26. When the Evening Star got in touch with Izquierdo, they were nearing Oregon. Izquierdo says the goal of this trip is to not only enjoy the ride through different states, but to raise motorcycle safety awareness as well.

According to a National study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, motorcycle rider deaths were nearly 30 times more than drivers of other vehicles. The same study states that motorcycle riders aged below 40 years are 36 times more likely to be killed than other vehicle operators of the same age.

In the case of Rivera’s death, the driver of the 2013 Charger failed to yield to Rivera’s right-of-way. The phrase “look twice, save a life” holds that much more significance, as motorcyclists and other drivers must learn how to share the roads safely in order to prevent such tragic losses.

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