Thousands of motorcyclists ride in honour of seven bikers killed in US

LACONIA, New Hampshire (AP) – Thousands of motorcyclists, waved on by bystanders with American flags, rode through New Hampshire last Saturday to the site where seven bikers were killed in a collision with a truck last month.

More than 3,000 bikers, some from as far away as California and Florida, participated in the 145-kilometre tribute trip from Laconia to the sombre crash site in Randolph, where a memorial of flags and a colour guard stood. A memorial service was held in a field just beyond the crash site.

“This is what happens when good people die,” said President of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club Manny Ribeiro, to which the victims of the crash belonged. He didn’t attend the ride, saying it was “too soon” for him to be at the crash site but said the event and turnout was “just amazing”.

The Jarheads is a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses. Last Saturday, the crowd of bikers said a prayer and sang the Marines’ Hymn before heading out from Laconia, according to organisers.

The seven bikers were killed last month when a pickup truck hauling a flatbed trailer crashed into the group. The pickup driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide and remains behind bars.

Those killed were Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr, 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

Organiser Steve Allison told WMUR-TV that he was overwhelmed by the turnout last Saturday.

“Unlike anything I ever expected, and I am humbled to my absolute core,” said Allison. “I’m actually doing my best to keep from crying, because I never would’ve expected this.”

A veteran, who declined to be identified, kneels at a memorial for seven bikers killed in a collision with a pickup truck while riding with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club last month, in Randolph, New Hampshire. – AP