*For those familiar with the African American oriented “Black Bike Week” which goes down annually in Atlantic Beach, South Carolina – news of the recent biker gang shootout in Texas where 9 were killed – saw it coming: What some would call as the over-reacting and overreaching precautions by authorities to their event in the name “public safety.”
The Guardian filed this report on the 2015 Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest that – in the wake of the Waco shootings – just wasn’t the fun event it used to be:
For more than two decades, thousands of African American motorcyclists have traveled across the nation to South Carolina, to attend the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest. On the last weekend in May every year, the low hum of customized choppers with high-handle bars and the high-pitched revs of neon-painted street bikes have sounded out on Ocean Boulevard.
The 2015 Bikefest, however, was different. Ocean Boulevard, a two-lane commercial strip running parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, was partially closed. Hundreds of police officers enforced a one-way traffic pattern that clogged streets for miles and forced motorcyclists to idle in gridlock for hours. Much to the dismay of riders, pedestrians walked faster than bikes.
Outside the Sandy Beach Oceanfront Resort, Sean Robinson watched the stop-and-go traffic from the seat of his parked 2008 Harley Davidson, his arms crossed. For the sixth consecutive year, he had traveled five hours from Richmond, Virginia, to attend Bikefest, which is known to most attendees as “Black Bike Week.” He was upset with the way things had changed.
“I’ll never come again,” said Robinson, blasting Migos’ hit song Hannah Montana from the stereo of his bike. He said his group of friends spent more than $20,000 on lodging for a week-long stay, with little return.
“We’re spending a whole lot of money,” he said. “You can’t ride a Harley. You can’t move. It used to be open and you could go both ways, sideways, everything.”
Read/learn more about what went down at this year’s “Black Bike Week” at The Guardian.