Hundreds of motorcyclists gathered in New London for the annual Blessing at the Beach on Sunday afternoon. The event marks the unofficial first day of the riding season, and about 1000 riders arrived for the ceremony. The blessing was given by the Reverend Michel Belt of St. James Episcopal Church in New London. A short ride followed the blessing and the event also included live music at Ocean Beach Park.
TOP 10: MOTORCYLE SAFETY TIPS
1: Wear a Helmet: The most important thing you can do to stay safe on a motorcycle is wear a helmet. Helmets protect your head, and head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders.
2: Look Twice: This tip is more for drivers than bikers, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning here: Look for motorcycles. Motorcycles are small and tough to see. That means many drivers miss them, causing collisions that are often fatal to the motorcycle rider.
3: Educate your passenger: Your passenger has a part to play in keeping both of you safe. Make sure anyone you carry on your bike has the right gear. Like you, they should wear sturdy shoes and protective clothes.
4: Watch the Weather: Because they aren’t as stable as cars, riding a bike in the rain is much riskier than driving a car. Plus, without windshield wipers, your visibility is compromised.
5: Leave Enough Space: One of the biggest mistakes drivers and motorcycle riders make is not leaving enough stopping distance for bikes.
6: Avoid Distraction: We all know distracted driving is a bad idea, but it’s worse when you’re riding a bike. One of the keys to staying safe on a motorcycle is staying hyper-aware of everything that’s going on around you.
7: Ride Within Your Skills: To stay safe, make sure that you always ride within your skill level. Your friends who have been riding longer may be able to go super fast, weave in and out of traffic, or control their bikes on curvy roads, but that doesn’t mean you should.
8: Protect Your Feet: The right shoes are also important to riding safely. To shift gears on a bike, you lift up with your toes – so open-toed shoes can become painful fast. Not only do open-toed shoes like flip-flops expose your feet while on a bike, they can slip off, causing a dangerous situation.
9: Make sure drivers know you are there: It is more than just a saying, 'Louder pipes do save lives' If someone seems like they are unaware of your proximity, use your horn.
10: Take a Motorcycle Safety Course: Even if your state doesn’t require you to take a motorcycle safety course, you should. The class will teach you about the traffic safety laws that apply to motorcycles in your state, how to respond to emergency situations on a motorcycle, and give you a chance to try out your new skills in a controlled environment.