From Altoona to Yalaha, there are plenty unique pockets of people who live in Lake County. But perhaps nothing is quite as unique as the influx of people Leesburg gets every spring during the Leesburg Bikefest. This weekend thousands of motorcycle riders will flood the streets of Leesburg for three days of drinks, music and some of the most magnificent motorcycles you’ll see in Florida.
What is the Leesburg Bikefest?
The annual event brings in a vital influx of tourism dollars to the hospitality industry of Leesburg and the surrounding areas. Even if riding motorcycles isn’t your thing, the music, food and motorcycle-stunt entertainment are enough to come out and enjoy yourself.
With a massive influx of motorcycles comes a massive congesting of Leesburg’s roads with motorcycles and people alike. During this three day period, the people of Leesburg and surrounding areas should remember some tips for navigating Leesburg Bikefest safe and sound.
Leesburg, much like the rest of suburban Florida, is home to many bicycle riders who regularly use the sidewalks and streets to travel.
Bicycles vs. Leesburg Bikefest
If you had plans to go through downtown Leesburg this weekend, you would be advised to find an alternate route. The sidewalks are going to be filled with pedestrian traffic, making it very difficult to navigate a bicycle without potentially running into somebody. Remember, in the state of Florida once a bicycle rides on the sidewalk it is considered a pedestrian with wheels.
This means the pedestrians don’t have to look out for the bicycle rider, the rider has to look out for them. This can sound easy enough when the sidewalks aren’t shoulder-to-shoulder full of people, but you’ll be hard-pressed to navigate the sidewalks of downtown Leesburg on foot let alone a bicycle.
If you hit someone on foot with your bicycle, you can be held liable under Florida’s PIP law. The same goes for anything happening on the street, which can get even crazier during Leesburg Bikefest.
leesburgbikefest #Bobbone This weekend in Leesburg, FL bike fest – today I spend a few minutes discussing the motorcycle get together with City Commission Robert Bone.
Let’s reiterate: bicycle riders should avoid downtown Leesburg for their own safety over the weekend. However, if there’s no other way around downtown then the street is your best option.
Motorcycles own the weekend in Leesburg
Bikefest slows traffic to a crawl going through downtown and as a bicycle rider you have to follow the regular rules of traffic on public roads. That means no passing if the motorcycles ahead of you if traffic has slowed.
Don’t expect the bicycle lanes to be open either. All available space around downtown — this includes travel lanes and bicycle lanes — is committed to motorcycle parking for the entire weekend. Keep in mind Leesburg Bikefest lasts until 2 AM Friday through Saturday and 5 PM Sunday. So unless you plan on riding very early in the morning, downtown will be a safety hazard for bicycle riders.
As for any motorcycle riders who will be here in the area, be mindful of the bicycle riders too. Bicycle riders have as much right to be on the road as motorcycle riders during Leesburg Bikefest, so treat them just as you would another motorcyclist. That way everyone can coexist on Leesburg’s roads safely.
Anyone in Leesburg this weekend who finds themselves in an accident — bicycle or otherwise — can call the attorneys at Guy DiMartino for a free consultation at 352-329-0329.