Driver cited in crash that disrupted annual CT United Ride

An impatient motorist disrupted the annual CT United Ride, and sent at least one rider to the hospital, according to event organizer Fred Garrity.

The annual motorcycle ride, the largest annual 9/11 tribute in the state, runs through 10 towns in Fairfield County. Now in its 17th year, this year’s ride attracted its largest turnout since 2011, with more than 2,500 bikes organized into a continuous pack that stretched for miles. The turnout was second only to the 10th anniversary ride that drew about 3,000, Garrity said.

Garrity said the ride had secured permits and police escort to roll non-stop and uninterrupted on its loop from Norwalk to Bridgeport, but as the riders passed through Monroe a driver cut into the procession.

“Unfortunately, someone didn’t obey the law,” Garrity said. “They got tired of waiting and pulled out into a ‘T’ intersection, forcing a motorcycle off the road. The driver received a summons for failing to yield right-of-way, but they also put lots of riders in jeopardy.”

The rider had to be taken to the hospital, and caused a 10-minute gap in the line of motorcycles as the riders behind the crash stopped to wait for police to arrive. This caused a domino effect through Monroe, Trumbull and Bridgeport as drivers waiting at intersections for the ride to pass assumed the event was over and resumed normal traffic flow.

“The ride is not over until the trucks with flashing lights pass,” Garrity said. “But when the initial line of motorcycles ended, people thought that was it.”

Also, drivers arriving at the ride route via side streets, seeing no motorcycles, turned onto Route 25 and Route 111, not knowing there were hundreds more riders coming.

Despite the crash and resulting confusion, this year’s ride was a success, Garrity said. The event typically raises about $30,000 to $40,000 for various 9-11 and emergency response charities. The contributions are handed out at an annual public ceremony later in the fall.

Garrity said he has already been in touch with law enforcement officials about conducting a traffic analysis to improve next year’s ride.

“There are a lot of moving parts in an event of this size,” Garrity said. “We ride through 10 towns, and there are 50 to 100 people along the route in each town.”