NORTH FORK – Two groups of motorcycle riders out to raise money for their separate causes had their day interupted on Saturday when two of their numbers collided just south of North Fork.
Galen Kumataka, 59, of Fresno, was part of a group headed south out of town on Road 200, just past the Road 222 cutoff, when he lost control of his motorcycle, according to CHP.
Kumataka crossed over the center line, and directly into the path of Charles Albrecht, 68, also of Fresno, who was riding northbound with another group. Albrecht was unable to take evasive action, and the two bikes collided. Both riders were ejected from their Harley Davidson motorcycles and into the northbound lane. CHP says both were traveling at about 45 mph at the time of the collision.
Other members of the group stopped to render aid and set up a pop-up canopy in the roadway to shade the injured riders until help could arrive.
Engines 4260 and 4275 responded out of Rancheria Cal Fire Station, along with Bass Lake Engine 14 and Madera County Firefighters from Station 11 in North Fork.
SkyLife air ambulance landed in a field next to the road, and Sierra Ambulance transported Kumataka to the landing zone where he was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center with major injuries.
Albrecht was transported by ground ambulance to CRMC with moderate injuries.
Albrecht was riding with the Bikers for Christ, who had started their day with a morning Blessing of the Bikes at Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst. They were headed for Slim’s Koffee Shak in North Fork, the last stop on their poker run which benefits Helping Hands.
“After this happened, we just did some more praying,” said one member of their group. “You just gotta let God do what God does.”
Road 200 was closed for over an hour as the riders were evaluated and treated, and the scene was cleared.