Today, May 2nd, thirteen years ago, Nelson Selig of Essex was killed while riding his motorcycle on Route 133 in Ipswich, when a 19-year old driving a Blaza and lighting a bong, drifting into Nelson’s lane hitting his motorcycle head on.
We offer our condolences to his family and friends, and THANK them for allowing us to use their tragedy to help and benefit other families of riders through “Nelson’s Ride” and other Survivor’s Fund events.
Nelson’s tragic death 14 years ago also spurred a grass roots movement of motorcycle awareness within the local riding community that we believe has saved lives and reduced accidents.
“Nelly’s Bill” was enacted 4 years later that put a motorcycle awareness module into the auto driver’s training course curriculum. Statistics from 1998-2000 showed 28% of motorcycle fatalities in Massachusetts occurred before May, so another Bill was passed proclaiming the last week of March through the end of April as the Commonwealth’s Motorcycle Awareness Period. The State’s motorcycle awareness program was pulled from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau and transferred to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, who adopted “Check Twice – Save a Life, MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE!” as the State’s awareness motto. An audit of the State’s motorcycle safety fund revealed over $400,000 in unspent funds, and $300,000 was re-allotted. While most of the Country saw increased deaths with increased motorcycle registrations, motorcycle fatalities in Massachusetts remained level or lessened.
Nelson left behind a Mom and longtime step-Dad, two sisters, a wife and two young children. He was a local clam digger who wanted more for his kids. Friends and local riders rallied and put together “Nelson’s Ride” in August 2000, to raise money for his kids’ educational fund. A second then a third Ride were done in 2001 and 2002. After the third Ride, his family thanked the riding community then did an unselfish act, asking the Ride continue in Nelson’s memory, but funds raised go to other local families of riders killed or seriously injured in motorcycle accidents. That has been happening since 2004. In 2007, a Survivor’s Fund was started in Southeastern Massachusetts. And in 2008, a Blackstone Valley Survivor’s Fund was started that in 2010 changed to the Worcester County Survivor’s Fund.
Today, we remember what took Nelly from his family 14 years ago and remember what has come because of his death. We thank his family, friends and the riding community for all they have contributed in helping other families. Rest in peace, Nelson.