By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – More than 80 motorcyclists from around Michigan showed for the first Blessings of the Bikes at Faith Christian Assembly last year, and organizers are hoping to increase the number on May 15 for the second annual event.
Organizers first held the event last year in memory of Johnathan Stanley, 29, who was killed in a Reed City crash while riding his motorcycle June 2014. An elderly woman pulled out from a side road, causing the crash.
Stanley’s aunt, Joann Baker of Southgate, said her nephew was killed instantly.
Baker went to Faith Christian Assembly, 25201 Outer Drive, with the idea for the event and people at the church helped get the ball rolling.
She said the primary force behind the event was to pray for riders, remind drivers that motorcyclists are on the roadways and help honor Stanley. Another key feature of the event is to raise money for injured cyclists or their families in the case of death.
This year, in addition to the ceremony and vendors, Baker said a few added features have been added. She said they’ve invited members of a Camaro club and Mustang club to the event.
An estimated 5,000 motorcyclists die annually, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTS officials said motorcyclists have to remember that vehicle drivers can’t always see them, and those in cars and trucks need to be aware that if it is a nice day, there are bound to be motorcyclists around them and aren’t always visible.
Baker said the event is a way to do something to help people and help make people more aware of bikers.
“I never want another family to go through what we did,” Baker said, of her family.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)