Police will join an estimated 200 bikers in a legally sanctioned motorcycle rally through Grand Cayman Sunday.
The “Ride Out Cayman” event will also involve the closure of a road in West Bay to allow for bikes that are not street legal to be involved in a separate “skills session.”
The event is the result of months of talks between police, legislators and representatives of biker organizations, following the chaos that ensued during a similar rally last year.
In the 2017 event, almost 200 riders, some with their faces concealed by masks or bandanas, on quad bikes, dirt bikes and high-powered motorcycles, paraded through the island, popping wheelies and performing other stunts. The riders were seen blitzing through traffic lights, mounting sidewalks and weaving in and out of traffic throughout the day.
Several riders on illegal bikes brazenly charged through a police roadblock during the unsanctioned event last November.
This time police have moved to head off potential trouble in advance, working with organizers of the rally to ensure only legal bikes are on the road.
Brevon Scott, one of the organizers, said the annual event had started as a way for bikers from all corners of the island to get together for a cruise around Cayman. He said it had gone relatively smoothly in the first few years, but he acknowledged there had been issues in recent times, largely with younger riders on unlicensed dirt bikes.
He said most bikers were responsible riders who just wanted to get out and enjoy the island. He said they welcomed police involvement and had actually requested police participation in the past.
The riders will leave from Industrial Park in George Town at midday Sunday, with police motorcycles leading the procession. Only street-legal bikes will be involved and all riders will be required to obey the speed limit and all other traffic laws, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
The procession will wind its way through East End and North Side before heading back through George Town and on to West Bay. It will conclude along the extension road between Willie Farrington Drive and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, which will be closed between midday and 7 p.m. to allow dirt bikers to take part in a “skills session.” Police said the non-street-legal dirt bikes should be brought by trailer to the site.
Bikers involved in the procession will join them later in the day, around 3:30 p.m.
There will be a heavy police presence, including various roadblocks along the route, and police are advising the public to expect delays and stay off the roads if possible.
Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said police had done their best to accommodate the riders and would clamp down on any who choose not to abide by the rules.
“Those who choose to ride illegally and pose a danger to other road users despite the fact that an authorized event has been organized can expect to face the legal consequences,” he said. “New legislation provides police with increased powers, which we will use to arrest rogue riders and seize bikes. They can either enjoy a fun and legal event with scores of other bikers, or they can break the law, endanger their safety and possibly be hurt or arrested, and lose their bike. The choice is theirs.”
Mr. Scott said the vast majority of riders were very happy to have police involved.
He said, “We have engaged with the police to try to make it more of an organized event. They were willing to close off a road to give the dirt bikers somewhere they can go for that day, and the street legal bikers will have a ride out where the police will be along to escort and control traffic.”
He said the bikers enjoyed riding together in a group. “It is a different feeling to ride with a group of 100 other bikers than it is just riding by yourself.”
He said he hoped the non-street-legal bikes would abide by the rules and stay within the designated area.
“They have closed off a road,” he said. “You can’t ask for any more than that.”