Biker Protocol

This picture of a motorcyclist enjoing the view on a scenic ride, superimposed with icons that encourage social distancing, mask wearing, and hand-washing/sanitizing, was included in a recent mass email sent out by the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.

LACONIA — Organizers of Laconia Motorcycle Week are continuing to boost this year’s event – which is just a week away – but they say their promotions are tempered by pointing out the need to abide by precautions designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The Laconia Motorcycle Week Association is encouraging attendees to wear face masks when they are not riding and to practice social distancing as well as practice enhanced personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing or sanitizing, said Charlie St. Clair, the organization’s executive director.

“We want people to come, observe precautions, follow state rules, and have fun,” he said.

A mass emailing sent to people on the association’s distribution list last week urged bikers to make reservations for accommodations, but at the same time said, “Expect a toned-down version” of the nine-day rally.

On Tuesday Gov. Chris Sununu announced an emergency order requiring the wearing of face masks in crowds of 100 or more people. The following day the association put out a news release stating rally “participants will now be required to wear a mask when they are not riding.”

The release goes on to state there will be no vendor displays or outdoor entertainment in Weirs Beach, and it encourages riders to watch the motorcycle racing action at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, or take a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railway or on the MS Mount Washington.

The association plans to reiterate that message when it sends out another mass emailing on Monday, association deputy director Jennifer Anderson said Friday.

Mayor Andrew Hosmer said he found the association’s messaging appropriate.

“I think it’s pretty measured,” Hosmer said of the promotion campaign. “Bike Week is going to take place. They are not dissuading (people from coming), but they are reaffirming the (safety) protocols.”

St. Clair said he found the criticism of Motorcycle Week is misplaced, especially in light of crowds at other popular tourist destinations around the state.

“Where have they been?” St. Clair said of those who are saying the rally should have been canceled in light of the pandemic. “Where were all these concerns from the beginning of the summer?”

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