No fatalities: Officials reports only minor accidents during busy bike weekend
The annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally was officially canceled for the second consecutive year, but that didn’t stop thousands of bikers from pouring into Northwest Arkansas over the past weekend, when the rally had been scheduled to take place. Some businesses went ahead with events typically held in conjunction with the rally and the streets of Eureka Springs were packed with bikers.
City officials reported relatively few incidents connected to the influx of motorcycles.
Police chief Brian Young reported that the police department issued 79 warnings, arrested seven individuals and responded to five accidents, “but only two of them involved motorcycles.” There were no fatalities, Young said, and the bikers involved walked off the accidents they were involved in.
Young said there was less traffic going to and from Fayetteville since the rally was canceled in that location, causing less traffic congestion than an average rally weekend. Mayor Butch Berry said the city was “just real busy” from the moment the rally began.
“Some people said they didn’t think it was as many people as we had before, but I really don’t know. I don’t have anything to gauge that,” Berry said.
Berry said the city’s sales tax receipts prove that people are coming to Eureka Springs.
“We’ve been having a good summer all summer and it seems like it continues to be that way,” Berry said. “People are still appreciating Eureka Springs. They’re still coming here.”
Young agreed, saying bikers stayed put when they got to Eureka Springs.
“Of course, there were tons and tons of bikers but they weren’t doing all that traveling to Fayetteville,” Young said. “Once they got here, they stayed here. The businesses did amazing in town.”
Young added, “The crowd we usually get over here in Eureka is pretty tame and they were very respectful. It went great. It was loud, but it wasn’t out of control by any means.”
An accident involving a motorcycle occurred near the intersection of U.S. Highway 62 and Arkansas Highway 143 between Berryville and Eureka Springs on Thursday, Sept. 23, and at least one person was transported from the scene by ambulance.
Community reports indicated another accident involving a motorcycle on U.S. 62 near the intersection with Arkansas 187 west of Eureka Springs on Saturday afternoon, with the Carroll County Office of Emergency Management reporting that both lanes of U.S. 62 were blocked. A reader submitted a photo of a medical helicopter responding to the scene.
However, no fatalities were reported by the Arkansas State Police, with Troop L in Springdale reporting that the most recent traffic fatality in Carroll County occurred on Sept. 12.
No further details on any of last weekend’s accidents were available.
Information for this report was contributed by managing editor Scott Loftis.