Last Sunday's IndyCar race in Las Vegas was a disaster waiting to happen. It did.
Just yesterday Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died after crashing and being hit by two other riders at the Malaysian MotoGP motorcycle race.
These tragedies should serve as warnings to anyone organizing an event where there is the potential for people to get hurt - whether it is car racing or skiing, competitions or exhibitions.
Last Sunday was to be the last race of the IndyCar season. It ended prematurely when a horrific crash killed two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and sent six other drivers to the hospital.
Experienced open-wheel racers were worried before the green flag ever dropped. The track configuration scared men and women accustomed to driving 220 mph. They feared a special $5 million prize would appeal to inexperienced drivers. Comparatively short practice times concerned them.
Of course, there will be an exhaustive investigation to determine just what went wrong. Perhaps IndyCar racing will make changes to improve safety.
But that leaves a fundamental question: Why was the race held at all despite concerns expressed previously? Did the fears of tested, veteran drivers not count for anything?
Again, these events should serve as lessons for organizers of all sorts of activities - anything in which there is a substantial risk of injury or death. Simply assuming nothing will go wrong because nothing has in the recent past is dangerous. If experts express concern, it needs to be heeded.