A memorial motorcycle ride for the seven people killed in a violent crash in New Hampshire last month is scheduled for Saturday.
The event, called “Ride For the Fallen 7,” is open to anyone who wants to join, said Brian DeSimone, one of the event’s organizers. The plan calls for the ride to start in Laconia at noon Saturday, with the group proceeding to the Randolph site of the crash.
DeSimone said ride organizers initially wanted to get 50 bikes to participate in the event, but the idea has been met with an overwhelming outpouring of support.
“It went so viral, people are literally coming from all over the country,” he said.
DeSimone said he expects that more than 1,000 motorcyclists could participate in Saturday’s ride.
The horrific crash occurred June 21 at about 6:30 p.m. on Route 2 in Randolph. Authorities allege a pickup truck driven by Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, collided with a group of motorcyclists, killing seven and wounding three. Zhukovskyy was arrested and charged in connection with the crash.
There is no registration fee for Saturday’s ride, said DeSimone, but he said organizers are encouraging people to donate directly to Jarheads Motorcycle Club. Five Jarheads were killed in the crash, along with a member’s wife and a member’s girlfriend.
DeSimone said ride organizers have met with state officials, who are working on plans to have the ride pass safely from Laconia to Randolph.
“Public safety and security is of greatest importance and we’re working closely with state and local police and local organizations to make this a safe, successful experience,” he said.
New Hampshire State Police said the finalized route will be announced Friday.
“We’re working in close collaboration with the ride organizers and state and local safety officials to help ensure the memorial ride is safe and successful,” State Police Colonel Christopher Wagner said in a statement. “It’s incredibly important that travelers do their part by remembering to obey the rules of the road and share the road with riders.”
State Police also recommended that riders stay informed on the latest route, weather, and safety information throughout the ride by following @NH_HSEM on Twitter and @NH.HSEM on Facebook.
DeSimone said he almost died in a motorcycle accident three years ago, and he recalled how it affected his life, and his friends and family.
“When I heard about this crash, I instantly thought I wanted to do something to give back,” he said.