A group of bikers again took over the roads of Grand Cayman for a few hours on Sunday. This time, instead of chasing them around the island, police officers were leading the convoy.
While past rallies have been marred by controversy, there was a sense of camaraderie and cooperation between police and riders that gathered at Brown’s Esso for the start of the “Ride Out Cayman” event.
“It is going pretty good so far,” said one of the event organizers Brevon Scott as he surveyed the crowd of bikes starting to assemble around midday.
“Everybody is following the rules. We don’t have any of the illegal bikes here. It is good to be here with all the bikers and the police and everybody is getting along, instead of having to be worrying about riding past the police and them trying to stop it.”
During last year’s event multiple rogue riders took to the streets, many of them on illegal or unlicensed bikes, pulling wheelies, speeding and riding recklessly around the island. Some even sped through a police roadblock. This time the police moved to head off any trouble in advance by working with the legitimate biking community for a sanctioned event.
Police Constable Daniel Devine, a motorcycle enthusiast himself, was among three officers on bikes leading the convoy out of George Town. He said their job was to clear the road and keep the bikers and the public safe.
“We try our best to work with the bikers and make sure it is an event that everyone can enjoy,” he added.
Police were out in force throughout the island, with several roadblocks set up along the route, while the helicopter hovered over the convoy. Commissioner Derek Byrne was moving from site to site, keeping tabs on the operation.
In West Bay, the road connecting the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to Willie Farrington Drive was closed for the afternoon to allow bikers on dirt bikes and other non street-legal vehicles to perform stunts and be involved in the event.
Mr. Scott said most bikers were happy to be involved in a police sanctioned event.
He said, “It is meant to be a meet and greet. Meet new riders, see new people, have a relaxing and enjoyable ride.”
Among the group were several new riders, including 25-year-old Leslie Anderson, who was at her first motorcycle rally.
“I have always really liked bikes since I was young and I finally had money to get lessons and started riding in January,” she said.
“I think its great we have got a police escort. I guess it scares off the illegal bikes giving the biker community a bad name.”
Nelson Dilbert, owner of the Cayman Spirits Company, joined the convoy on his Harley, along with his friend Ernest Ebanks. He said he saw a story about the event in the paper and decided to join in.
Mr. Ebanks, who has been involved in previous events, said he thought the police presence had scared off some illegal riders but also attracted newer bikers.
Speaking at the start of the event Sunday he said, “I saw last year it got kind of wild out there. With the police presence I think that’s tamed it down. Its going to be a nice ride.”