Black bikers respond to report on accidents
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
“Big C’’ and “Unique’’ are all about bike safety.
During this year’s Bike Week, the 10-day event was marred by unfortunate incidents on roadways involving bikes.
Two bikers, who would only use their nicknames, cited the need for motorcyclists to use safety measures.
During the first weekend of Bike Week, which started on March 10, there were at least three major motorcycle crashes in Volusia. Two people died and six were injured within 24 hours.
A new report that came out at the start of the annual event that draws more than hundreds of thousands of bikers to the area, revealed that Florida had a 30 percent increase in motorcycle deaths in 2015.
‘Patience and safety’
According to AAA, in 2015, 606 people died and 9,045 were injured in motorcycle crashes on roads in the state.
“We practice patience and safety first every time we ride, “Big C,’’ who is vice president of Dem Country Boys Motorcycle Club of Sycamore in North Florida told the Daytona Times.
Added “Unique,’’ a member of the V-Town Chicks of Valdosta, Georgia, “We always wear our gear and helmets. It’s always safety first. We look out for debris on the road. We don’t speed. We don’t drink and ride. If you’re going to drink, then don’t ride…. Park your bike.’’
Big police presence
“Big C’’ also questioned the large presence of law enforcement along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, where activities were held in the Black community.
He asked, “Why are there so many police here in this area? I am a police officer. You go on Main Street you don’t have as many as over there. There is actually more incidents and problems going on over there.”
The police presence didn’t bother Charles Jackson, a cigar vendor from Sanford.
“I actually like the police presence, which I think is needed when handling cash as a vendor,’’ he related.
It was his first Bike Week experience. As a vendor, however, Jackson had more luck on the beach side than on Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard.
“People here have been very hospitable. Business has been so-so, but I did sell out on the beach side. I’ve been treated well and I do like this area.’’
Mixed vendor sales
Bike Week also was a time for vendors to try to to make a decent buck.
For Robert Fisher of Atlanta, trying to do was a little frustrating.
“Everyone is looking for deals,” he told the Daytona Times. “I’ve been coming here and doing this for about 20 years. It’s actually getting slower in recent years. I sell kids shirts for $5, $10 and $15 dollars but people go on the beachside, pay $15 and more. I am selling shirts with better designs and better material.”
Darrin Rodgers did well selling seafood for D&I Seafood, which is a mobile food business that specializes in shrimp and grits. The business has a long Bike Week history.
“It’s been fun. It’s going pretty well. We started slow when it was cold weather but since then, things have really picked up and the lines have been steady and long,” Rodgers said last weekend.
Rodgers is also continuing the business in honor of his late sister. “We continue in remembrance of my sister, Linda McDuffie, who had a stroke 13 months ago,” he added.
Plenty of entertainment
The Second Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), which is a non-profit organization made of business along MMB organizes Bike Week festivities.
SAMA has teamed with C-Style Entertainment to bring more entertainment to MMB, which used to Second Avenue.
“The turnout was great. We had big crowds, especially around the stage and music area,” said Chester McNorton of C-Style Entertainment.
The final weekend included performances from Daytona’s own Sexy & Smooth Gliders and the Pepper Steppers of Jacksonville.
Doc & The Boys, an R&B/southern soul band from Orlando and Special Formula, a mixed genre band, performed live.
Some of the scheduled acts didn’t get to perform.
“The unfortunate thing is everyone didn’t get to perform. We had more acts than time to go on stage, but a lot of it had to do with acts coming late,” McNorton stated. “We’ll have that straightened out next year. We always want to make it bigger and better.’’
Bike Week also is about the camaraderie.
“This event is different from the others. It’s more laid back and friendlier than the biker event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,’’ the woman called “Unique’’ offered. This year was her sixth Bike Week in Daytona.
Added “Big C,’’ “The experience has gone well. We have a lot of fun just hanging out and fellowshipping with the brothers and sisters. We’ve been coming to Daytona for about 10 years.
This is an event where we can come and have a good time without all the fighting or foolishness.’’