Bike Week in Daytona: What’s Love’s got to do with it?

| 3/4/2010

Truckers going through Daytona are not happy. It’s Bike Week, and from Feb. 26 to March 7 Love’s Travel Stop No. 316 at I-95/U.S. Highway 1 in Ormond Beach can only allow truckers to fuel and go. No parking.

Bike Week is an event that sees thousands and thousands of bikers converge on the area. And Harley Davidson, which is next door to Love’s, is a major participant in Bike Week.  

The increased traffic volumes for truckers waiting to fuel – combined with the significant influx of cars, trucks and bikes during Bike Week – has in the past caused traffic jams to the point that State Police had to close the exit. Love’s doesn’t want to see that happen again, so “fuel and go” is the strict policy during Bike Week.

Truck drivers who have contacted OOIDA and Land Line have voiced their aggravation. OOIDA Senior Member Lester Hon, Branson, MO, was tired and needed food, a shower and a nap. He couldn’t believe it when he was turned away. Hon says he is done spending money at Love’s in Ormond Beach, although it had been a favorite stop.

Another trucker said he thought it was just not right that even if you are “out of hours,” it won’t secure you a parking spot at Love’s during Bike Week.

That caused one trucker to be even more exasperated. “Well, I hope Love’s makes a lot of money from the motorcycles. Perhaps they could start a chain of bike stops and sell a lot of gas, beer, munchies and stuff.”

On Facebook, truckers and truckers who were bikers, too, waded into the controversy. Some were furious with Love’s, pointing out that parking was scarce in Florida. Others were mellow, reminding other drivers to “relax and stay away” during Bike Week.

Love’s can’t be happy either about the inconvenience to its customers and the significant loss of inside business for the week, but employees at the travel plaza say there’s nothing Love’s can do. For months, the truck stop has posted flyers and notices on its Web site at assuring customers it’s important that Love’s be able to provide the necessary fueling for professional truck driver customers. Still, the message is: In order to ensure that is still available, the trucks will need to continue moving in and out at that exit. 

For Bike Week, Love’s has hired two police officers to help direct traffic at their Ormond Beach location to ease the congestion in entering and exiting.

How do truckers get back on route after fueling? When you leave Love’s parking lot, local police will be directing traffic and will only allow truckers to run right onto US-1. Go one mile north, where the sheriff’s office will have a controlled turnaround point for anyone needing to go south. If you head north for about five more miles, you will come to old Dixie Highway. Take a right and go two miles where you can connect to I-95 north or south.

Heads up: There’s another biker event in October that puts Love’s and its trucking customers in a similar bind, but “Biketoberfest” lasts only three days.

– By Sandi Soendker, managing editor