August 20, 2019
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Motorcycle group eliminates annual parade after fatal 2017 collision

Courtesy of Maine State Police
Courtesy of Maine State Police
Two motorcyclists were killed on Interstate 95 in Augusta in this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo. The United Bikers of Maine have canceled the parade portion of its annual Toy Run, in part, in response to the crash.

The United Bikers of Maine, which organizes a Toy Run every September, has eliminated the parade portion of its event, the group announced Thursday.

The decision was made in response to a 2017 collision that killed two participants at the event, and a report released earlier this week by the National Transportation Safety Board that faulted the Augusta Police Department and the United Bikers of Maine for poor planning and communication that resulted in the deaths.

[Poor planning led to toy run crash that killed 2, safety officials say]

The parade of bikes, which used to go from the Augusta Civic Center to the Windsor Fairgrounds, will be canceled in 2019, according to a press release from Sandy Lyle, a representative for United Bikers of Maine.

All event activities this September will be held at the Augusta Civic Center, with no organized activities at the Windsor Fairgrounds.

The group urges those who do decide to ride to the event as individuals or as a group to ride safely, observe all traffic laws and be observant of surrounding traffic.

[Maine motorcyclists killed in collision during charitable ride identified]

“This was a very hard decision for the UBM board to make,” Lyle wrote. “Given the past positive history of the toy run, and the safety record for this event prior to this incident, we have been very fortunate. The growing number of participants, the increased distracted drivers on the road as well as the inexperience on the part of some riders as to the proper way to ride with a large group, has played a big part in this decision.”

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