Bike Week 2021
Prelude to 2021 Motorcycle EXPO
By “Florida Night Train”
Bike Week 2021 was a giant statement for freedom, which some disapproved and some loudly proclaimed with joy. All in all, both non-mask wearers and mask wearers simply respected each other and left one other alone. “You want to wear your mask? No problem with that. You don’t want to wear your mask? Okay, but I will stay away from you.” Pretty simple common sense left to everyone’s discretion.
Organizers made sure to publish safety guidelines, whereas visitors would notice some changes with an eye towards keeping everyone safe during the 80th Anniversary event. For all ten days of Bike Week this year, it would be motorcycles only. Curbside parking was limited to allow for greater social distancing on the sidewalks. Arrangements were made for overflow parking at the Ocean Center with outdoor/indoor parking for a fee (of course!). Merchants there worked extra hard to make sure their locations were safe and followed CDC guidelines.
According to Washington Times’ Tim Constantine; “It would be interesting to study the impact of 300,000 people gathering to eat, drink and be merry in these strange times of March 2021. Can it safely happen or was this a disaster in the making?” Mr. Constantine decided to focus only on facts.
“When measuring from the conclusion of the first weekend of Bike Week until the CDC’s recommended 14 days later, the number of reported COVID cases in Volusia County, Florida, (home to Daytona) stayed about the same. No meaningful increase in cases. Despite hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country, including some of the most infected areas like New York and Michigan, and despite the fact that the Daytona crowds clearly opted for no face masks, there was no spike in cases.”
Mr. Constantine further asserts “A deeper dive will show that the number of hospitalizations has actually dropped since the start of Bike Week by 14%. A CDC-generated graph of the number of COVID-related deaths shows a steady downhill slope as well. In fact, the percentage of tests showing up positive has also dropped steadily. By every measure, Volusia County numbers got better during and immediately after Daytona Bike Week.”
The downside and more tragic part is that ~7 deaths occurred in crashes and ~91 trauma cases. Please brothers and sisters, be careful. Anecdotal fact is New York Times Square “Naked Cowboy” answered the call to freedom but ran into some problems. He was arrested on a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest without violence and violating a panhandling ordinance. His guitar was damaged during the arrest, but a local music store donated a brand new one when he returned to Main Street at which time he was treated like a hero.
Looking back, all merchants were pleased with their expectations exceeding their hopes. Dirty Harry’s Pub took precautions and did well. John’s Rock N Ride souvenir store also was plenty busy, said owner Johnny Sanchez claiming business has been “fantastic”. Speaking with a few riders, I only heard great comments stating the event was the best they attended. Many were pleased with better traffic flow due to lower attendance. It was chilly at times but nothing out of hand. New rider from New Jersey, Jodi May, now member of all-female Stiletto MC who attended Bike Week for the first time states, “It was life changing”. Jodi May participated in a tattoo contest at The World Famous Iron Horse Saloon and claims having gone to every possible landmark of the event saying “I never felt this alive”.
If this is any indication of how Full Throttle’s Motorcycle Expo May 28 to May 30, 2021, will be in Clearwater Florida, I would say that we (attendees and vendors) are in for a massively good time. Knowing Bert, Beth, John and the rest of the crew at Bert’s Barracuda Harley Davidson, I know this will be a big bang of pure fun and entertainment for us all. Just keep being courteous. Use common sense and be respectful to “maskers” and “non-maskers” and we will be just fine.
I am extremely thankful for Governor DeSantis’ leadership during the pandemic and for living in Florida. I know some of you will disagree. I respect that, but our numbers cannot be argued with. Our state has been doing far better on all fronts than the large majority of lockdown states. I thank God for that.
*Naked Cowboy picture by Daytona Beach News Journal
*Jodi May picture by Willie’s Tropical Tattoo contest