NORWALK, CT – Seeking to avoid the heated exchange and furor that ensued a year ago involving Slingshot owners, The CT United Ride has imposed restrictions on what types of vehicles may participate in this Sunday’s 17th annual charity ride that begins here and concludes in Bridgeport. “It’s just a safety issue,” the event’s executive director said today.
Frederick Garrity Jr. listed Vespas, all other scooters, Slingshots and motorcycle trailers as being barred from the ride. The event’s website also lists dune buggy-style vehicles and quads as being prohibited, citing “‘law enforcement, state permit and local safety and insurance concerns.”
Vehicles that are allowed include highway compliant motorcycles of more than 125cc, trikes that have tandem seating and handlebars, and motorcycles with sidecars. The CT United Ride bills itself as the state’s “largest annual 9/11 tribute” and proceeds benefit emergency relief funds for police officer and firefighters in the state and two local United Way operations.
Last year’s ride attracted 2,500 riders from 12 states, but a controversy erupted when Slingshot owners, who had participated in the past, said they were mistreated by event organizers.
Garrity explained that vehicles other than motorcycles can be problematic because they can be misinterpreted by other motorists and can create an accordion effect in the procession. In the case of Slingshots, Polaris’ three-wheel reverse trike “autocar,” Garrity said, “People on the street think they’re cars and can pull in.”
The website explains, “There have been issues with the large size of vehicles and conversely the power of the smaller engines.” Fliers promoting the event have also noted the restrictions.
Registration for Sunday’s ride begins at 8:30 a.m. at Norden Industrial Park, 10 Norden Place. Ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. with the ride commencing at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $25 per rider and $25 per passenger. The ride goes through Westport, Georgetown, Redding, Bethel, Monroe, Trumbull and Fairfield. It ends at Seaside Park in Bridgeport.