Riding motorcycles is a sport that is loved because of the freedom and thrill that it brings when riding the open road. Bikers have a sense of comradery and look after each other- whether that’s sending a friendly wave on the road or coming together at events to support important causes and charities. Bikers are good-hearted, generous, and respectable citizens.
HOWEVER, there are bikers that come together and form groups that are not for the love of the sport and community, but to cause chaos and seek illegal, monetary gains through racketeering, drug trafficking, and even contract killing. These biker groups are called “the One Percenters”- a name given by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) after the 1947 Hollister Riot in California that broke out during a motorcycle rally with 4000 attendees. These “One Percenters” form Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs), and the FBI and ATF have created a list of the most ruthless ones, dubbing them the “Big Four”. The “Big Four” OMGs consist of the Hells Angels, the Pagans, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos. These “One Percenters”, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are spread throughout the country and some hold chapters throughout the world.
In recent months, a number of OMG activities have surfaced here in Florida that has left chaos and death in the wake. The Sun Sentinel reported that at the end of last year, the FBI sent a warning to Florida law enforcement to expect a higher volume of biker gang activity, especially in South Florida and the Keys. True to their word, that is exactly what has happened. In recent months, multiple shootings and brawls have been reported that are all related to motorcycle gang activity.
In April 2017, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported the Outlaws MC member, “Louis the Lip”, was stabbed to death outside Daytona bar, the Crooks Den. The fight was allegedly between the Outlaws and rival gang, the Pagans.
Also in April, the Orlando Sentinel reported that during the annual Leesburg Bikefest, a Kingsmen MC member was shot down after refusing to take off his supporting gang-colored jacket by rival group, the Outlaws.
At this spring’s Bike Week Daytona Beach, police reported numerous OMG members were wearing their gang colors and received calls at various bars that have a strict policy forbidding gang colors in their establishment.
Safety and returning home to your loved ones after a fun day on the road is paramount for riders. While these incidents should never deter bikers from attending events, rallies, and charities, it is important for motorcycle enthusiasts that are on the road to be aware of their surroundings, stay away, and stay safe.