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Saturday, April 30, 2011
In sharp contrast to September's Delmarva Bike Rally, OBX Bike Week had another unique quality...The lack of a heavy-handed police "presence".
Anyone who's gone to the Delmarva event can tell you about Ocean City, Maryland's view of public safety. They throw as many cops as possible on duty, bringing in reinforcements from other locations, including SWAT teams and mounted police.
The Maryland State Police even get in on the act, patrolling Rt 50 (the main artery to/from OC) aggressively, pulling folks over for the slightest infraction. There are speed traps behind every tree and billboard, starting at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge all the way to OC. Each town you pass through gets in on the action too, feeding off the bikers.
Anywhere along the strip on Coastal Highway in OC, there's always someone pulled over for something, and at any given venue where bikers congregate, there seems to be a cop for every 10 people. They're everywhere and you can't miss 'em. At the Burnout Pit across from the Bearded Clam last year, I noted cops on foot, cops on bicycles, horse-mounted cops, and a few in SWAT gear milling around. All in just one place. Really, were they expecting a war? Gunfight? Riot? Was all that really necessary?
Anyone wearing colors in OC was guaranteed a stop or two, and the 1%-ers that flew colors spent most of their Delmarva time with a police car behind them monitoring every move.
And I won't even mention the Mini-Van Slalom which is also a bitch in OC, but since that isn't (I don't think) police sponsored, I'll leave the details and bitching out of this post, but Mom, really? Can't that phone call or text wait 'til later, and can't Junior sit the fuck down and quit distracting you?
Bottom Line: I know people who just won't go to Delmarva Bike Rally* because of the cops and their open hostility toward bikers.
OBX? Well that was far different! In 4 days, I might have seen 9 or 10 cops on the road, with just a few folks pulled over and I don't recall seeing ANY bikes stopped. While I'm sure there were a few plainclothes/undercover cops circulating, most venues were cop-free, and if there were some around, it was usually just one at the entrance/exit making sure no one rolled out that had partied a little too much.
It was very comfortable, and I'll say it again, OBX is VERY biker-friendly. They know how to host an event and how to make guests want to come back. I damn sure will.
Ocean City, take note.
* This post originally, and erroneously, stated that it was OBX that people wouldn't go back to. I meant to say Delmarva. Guess I was having flashbacks or something, but that sure isn't true. We can't WAIT to get back to OBX. Thanks to Fred for noticing that error. (Yes, THAT Fred. F'n Fred.)
Posted by Cowboy at 11:07 AM