JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thirty-nine motorcyclists have died in crashes on Jacksonville roads this year, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Two local groups want to honor those riders, while also sending a clear message to all drivers.
Remembering motorcyclists killed while bringing awareness to road safety to prevent those crashes is Beth Davis’ goal.
“In those two seconds, if you look back, you really honestly could save a life,” she said.
Davis is the president of Coast 2 Coast Slingshots that is a group known for riding three-wheel motorcycles.
She is hosting a “Fallen Rider Memorial” ceremony Saturday and is presenting families with custom plaques.
The plaques will be placed on already existing memorial markers set up at different crash sites around the city.
One place is at the intersection of Main and Union Streets downtown. That’s where Manuel Angel Rodriguez lost his life in January.
The plaques read: “God Speed. Look Twice, Save a Life.”
Davis was inspired after Jerry Turner was killed while riding a motorcycle on September 5 in Orange Park. The driver of the car was criminally charged.
“When I reach out to [families and friends] when someone has passed and they’re crying on the phone, to me it’s very personal,” Davis said.
RideNow Powersports Jacksonville is teaming up with Coast 2 Coast Slingshots by making the plaques set to be presented to 15 families this weekend.
“We know how it feels to lose a loved one, whether it’s a friend or family member that rode,” said Amber Stemple, the dealership’s marketing and events manager. “[They] lost their lives because a car did not look twice.”
Stemple says she is compelled to help as three employees lost their lives in crashes over the last few years.
“We know that they would continue riding,” she said. “So, we ride for the ones who can’t.”
Stemple and Davis want families going through the same pain to not feel alone.
“I hope that they know that we’re there for them,” Stemple said. “Whether they bought their bike [at RideNow Powersports Jacksonville], whether they get a service here or whether they get their parts here.”
“We want to bring the community together and let them know that we care,” Davis said. “Let the families know that we care, and we will do anything we can to help out.”
The Fallen Rider Memorial is Saturday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at RideNow Powersports Jacksonville on Blanding Boulevard.
Families can then place the plaques on their loved ones’ memorials when they feel the time is right.