LACONIA — Motorcycle Week organizers and public safety officials on Wednesday urged bikers to exercise caution after two people were killed and several others injured in traffic accidents.
Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Motorcycle Week Association, said motorcyclists should work to prevent problems before they happen.
“Say to your friends, if you are out there, you’re with people, and you think someone is a little tipsy or whatever, you know what, don’t let them go,” St. Clair said. “Just have them leave their motorcycle there.
“Worst-case scenario, you call us at rally headquarters, we’ll come. The reality is you just don’t do this.”
Police Chief Matt Canfield said the influx of motorcycles into the area for Motorcycle Week inevitably leads to more accidents.
“This is about par for the course,” he said. “The number of severe accidents fluctuate, but we always have a number. Our goal is zero fatalities.”
At 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Joshua R. Lane, 39, of Carver, Massachusetts, died after he failed to negotiate a curve on Watson Road after leaving the Broken Spoke Saloon for a short ride to where he was staying, Canfield said.
“He went straight onto the soft shoulder, laid the bike down on its side, was thrown from the motorcycle, went airborne and was thrown into the woods, where he hit a rock and died,” Canfield said.
He was not wearing a helmet. Officers were investigating the possibility that alcohol use, speed and driver inattention contributed to the accident, Canfield said. Thursday would have been Lane’s 40th birthday.
On 3:39 p.m. Friday, a motorcyclist suffered a fatal head injury when his bike struck the rear of a car that had slowed to make a left turn off Parade Road into a driveway, just south of Livingston Road in Meredith, police said. He was identified as James Carroll, 61, of Nashua. He also was not wearing a helmet.
It’s not clear whether a helmet would have prevented either fatality.
“But in some of these accidents, you don’t have much chance without one,” Canfield said.
Helmets are not required in New Hampshire for those 18 and over. St. Clair, who does not wear a helmet when he rides his motorcycle, said it comes down to personal choice and some feel they have better visibility without one.
In addition to the two fatalities, there have been several nonfatal accidents in recent days, including two on Tuesday.
Two motorcyclists were traveling side-by-side near 177 Weirs Blvd., when their handlebars got tangled.
“It caused one of the motorcycles to wobble,” Canfield said. “He laid the motorcycle down, slid almost 200 feet, came off the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet and had serious head injuries.”
Canfield identified the injured motorcyclist as Michael Daigle, 59, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. He was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Also, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcyclist suffered a broken leg in an accident in the traffic circle in The Weirs, Canfield said.
Early Sunday, near the Kellerhaus ice cream restaurant on Endicott Street North, two motorcycles collided. Dean Morgan, 43, of Sorrento, Florida, had severe leg and head injuries, Canfield said. He also was not wearing a helmet.
Morgan was riding with no headlight on, when another motorcyclist, Kevin Ramos, 29, of Nantucket, Massachusetts, turned in front of him, Canfield said. Ramos had hip and arm injuries.