Atlantic Beach finalizes basics of Bikefest event

Atlantic Beach Bikefest

The Town of Atlantic Beach has finalized basic plans for its annual BikeFest event over Memorial Day Weekend.

Council unanimously voted 5-0 to approve the event’s operational procedures ordinance during a regularly-scheduled meeting Monday evening. The ordinance covers the main logistics of the event – from event hours to vender permits and fees.

Prior to the approval, however, council made four amendments to the ordinance. Council agreed to remove a $50 fee for property owner registration, in addition to reducing retail and food vendor fees along 31st Avenue to $400.

In 2014, food vendors paid $775 for the same type of permit, while retailers paid $750. Council approved the move in hopes of attracting more vendors to the 31st Avenue area.

While council’s approval of the ordinance moved the event forward Monday, so has planning by Atlantic Beach Police Chief Tim Taylor.

Taylor says he is satisfied with council’s decision to shut down BikeFest activities at 2 a.m. each morning, saying it will improve safety and could reduce crime. Councilwoman Josephine Isom suggested extending BikeFest hours to 4 a.m. during a committee meeting over the weekend.

“A lot of things can happen that late. I’m not saying anything can happen before that time, but the longer you push it out, I think the worse things can get during that time in Atlantic Beach,” Taylor explained. “During that time, I know a lot of drugs come through 17 during that time. So our two k-9 dogs that we have at this time that’s added to our force, they’re gonna be out working during that time to try to confiscate some of those drugs that’s coming down this way during Bike Week.”

Taylor also told News13 he received approval from the state to add an extra 20 SLED agents to Atlantic Beach patrols throughout the event. Taylor says additional mutual aid agreements with nearby jurisdictions are in the work, as well.

Taylor plans to travel to Daytona Beach in March to see how its police department handles its bike rally festivities and crowd control.

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