ERIE, Pa. -- Thousands of Bikers are descending on Erie for rides and entertainment this week.
The fifth annual Harley-Davidson of Erie BikeFest is also raising money for local charities.
"Erie welcomes all of these bikers in and we want to pay back everything that they do for us throughout the year,” said Laurie Thompson, general manager of Harley-Davidson of Erie.
“That's why we choose the charities that we do choose to get all of the proceeds from our BikeFest."
One of those organization to benefit is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and its “Miles for Smiles” ride. The Erie Harley Owners Group (HOG) has sponsored the ride for 25 years, according to Doug Roxberry, HOG’s assistant director.
He said, "People have got big hearts, big wallets; and hopefully, all of that goes to a good cause."
While taking part in various activities during the week, bikers are reminding everyone to put safety first.
"Just use your head. Slow yourself down. Think before you act. Make sure you give everybody plenty of room,” said Roxberry. “Whether you're a car or a motorcycle, give that extra space; because it might make the difference of keeping up or going down."
He said regardless of one’s driving experience, people make mistakes.
"As a motorcycle rider myself for 25 years, there are still times where I've caught myself about to pull out in front of a bike."
Carla Georgal, officer of the Ladies of Harley, quoted a popular motorcycle awareness campaign slogan: "It says 'look twice and save a life.'"
“It goes both ways,” she said. “Bikers should be looking twice and the motorists should be looking twice, and just drive safe and be cautious."
Roxberry said, "Pretty much they way a lot of us look at it: if you've got two or three wheels with a motor, ride with us. We're going to have a good time."
Other charities to receive proceeds from BikeFest proceeds include the following organizations: American Red Cross of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Injured Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Cody’s Wheels of Hope and Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center.
BikeFest will hold events through next weekend. Roar on the Shore will also be held in Erie this week, July 12-16.
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