Motorcycle group decides to ‘turn it over to God’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

Motorcycle enthusiasts know how the freedom of the open road feels, but they also know that the pastime they love comes with a risk.

As motorcycle owner Dwayne McRee put it, &uot;These machines that we ride are inherently dangerous. What better way to protect yourself than to turn it over to God?&uot;

With that in mind, members of the Christian Motorcycle Association linked hands in a circle around each of about 35 bikes at Saturday’s motorcycle show on the Vidalia riverfront, blessing each bike in turn.

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&uot;We pray for their safety, mostly, and then any needs they might have in their families,&uot; said member Brenda Netterville of Franklin County, one prayer circle participant.

The dangers of motorcycling have become apparent in the Miss-Lou in recent years. Judy Mason of Natchez was killed and her husband, Keith, injured as the result of a July 27 accident on U.S. 61.

And last September, local resident Bill Ezernack was killed in a motorcycle accident on U.S. 84 between Ferriday and Vidalia. Some participants in Saturday’s event wore T-shirts with Ezernack’s likeness as a memorial.

That was another reason the American Bikers Active Towards Education (ABATE) River Cities chapter held the event &045; as a memorial to those who have lost their lives.

Harlan Powell knows what it’s like to lose someone to a motorcycle accident. He’s a member of Crossroads Riders Chapter of the CMA in Jackson, a city that saw at least five people die and many more injured a few years ago.

That’s when that chapter got the idea of holding bike blessings, an idea that has now spread throughout the state. The year after such events started, Powell said, there were only two motorcycle deaths and three injuries.

&uot;And it’s been down ever since,&uot; Powell said with a smile.

Theresa Domangue, area director for ABATE, said she hopes the combination of prayer and public awareness will save lives.

She said both motorcycle riders and all others on the road will become more aware drivers as a result of the event.

&uot;And new riders need to understand that with that (bike) comes a lot of responsibility,&uot; Domangue.

&uot;Safety should be your number one priority.&uot;