ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Augustine is expecting increased motorcycle traffic downtown as motorcyclists travel to Daytona Beach for Bike Week, which is scheduled through Sunday, but News4Jax was told there are fewer bikers stopping by the ancient city this year.
Since St. Augustine is only about an hour from Daytona Beach, many Bike Week participants will traditionally stay overnight in the historic city or stop by for some shopping and sightseeing. But Sean Taylor, owner of Old City Gifts in downtown St. Augustine, told News4Jax the crowds of bikers who would normally visit St. Augustine is nowhere near the numbers in years past.
“It’s been fair. It’s definitely been down in comparison to last year, but it’s picking up,” Taylor said.
Taylor is still optimistic because spring breakers and tourists are still coming to the city.
“St. Augustine is a beautiful city. We love it here. We love Florida. We love not being mandated to wear a mask outside,” said tourist Angela Turse, who has spent the last several months traveling across the country with her husband.
Tom Leventry, a Pennsylvania resident who has been attending Bike Week for several decades, said he enjoys coming to St. Augustine. He said Main Street in Daytona Beach was packed with bikers last weekend, but many of the bars that are traditionally busy this time of year were not.
“When you get around to the Iron Horse, the Last Resort or Cabbage Patch, the attendance in those places is down quite a bit,” Leventry said.
Leventry said that based on his observation, it appears 10% of the people attending Bike Week are wearing masks. In St. Augustine, some stores still require visitors to wear masks, while others only encourage it.
The city of St. Augustine will designate parking spaces for motorcycles along Cathedral Place between Charlotte Street and St. George Street, starting Wednesday and continuing through Sunday, in anticipation of increased motorcycle traffic due to Bike Week.
Parking fees remain in place, so those using the designated parking area are encouraged to take advantage of the ParkStAug mobile app to pay for parking.
Areas set aside for motorcycle parking will be designated with traffic cones and signs stating that those using the space must pay to park.