According to the Florida Highway Patrol, five motorcycle riders died in four separate crashes around Central Florida over the weekend since Bike Week began in Daytona.
At a glance
- Police say four different motorcycle crashes happened since the start Daytona’s Bike Week Saturday
- Bike week draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year
- Pandemic-era restrictions caused big reductions in participants, but all signs point to a big revival this week
Thousands of motorcycle riders descended upon the area this weekend to kick off the motorcycle-themed festivities in Volusia County.
The first crash occurred early Saturday night after a 31-year-old Ocala man lost control and overturned his bike in a highway median. The second crash occurred a couple of hours later when the driver of a car veered into the wrong lane, striking a group of motorcyclists. One biker mostly avoided the wreck, a second sustained serious injuries, and both rider and passenger of a third motorcycle died from the impact.
The third and fourth crashes happened Sunday morning but did not involve other drivers. They also happened about 10 minutes apart, according to police estimates, though in different counties.
Crashes often happen at Daytona Bike Week because of the huge influx of tourists in town
If you thought the Daytona 500 drew a massive crowd each year, just wait until you hear the Bike Week numbers. Local officials expect up to 400,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to make the annual pilgrimage to Daytona, which makes massive accommodations for the increase in traffic. This year marks the 81st year of the event, which has become a Central Florida staple over the years.
Bike Week visitors of all interest levels and skillsets can find something fun to do in Daytona this week. The 44th Daytona Swapmeet near the Daytona Flea & Farmers Market gives participants a chance to meet and greet with other riders. Daytona Harley-Davidson is located close, as well, boasting a 109,000-square-foot mega showroom. Additionally, there are plenty of places to stay, eat, and drink in the area; and even some special events in the pavilion.
Florida is ‘open for business’
Bike Week was one of the classic Americana events that made it through the pandemic without cancellations; yet not completely unscathed. In 2020 and 2021, many hotels severely reduced capacities, causing many bikers to stay home. Also, many special events were canceled, and some restaurants did not even open, especially in 2020.
Janet Kersey, a representative of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the event.
“This past weekend, I was out and about and I saw a lot of riders. A lot of riders with license plates from across the country, too,” Kersey said. “People are leaving that cold weather and coming to the Florida sunshine. They just want to travel, and Florida has stayed open for business.”