The Woman Behind the Philly Bike Fest
The real motorcycle enthusiast would know that last month was the was Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. In 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes. Even though that pales in comparison to the vehicle accidents, many times motorcyclists are not acknowledged on the road thus making riding a bike more dangerous. So if you didn’t get the memo of last month, fear not. June is the new May for motorcycle awareness.
Michelle Jackson being an activist, community organizer, and a motorcyclist for a good portion of her life, felt that just one month of teaching motorcycle safety isn’t enough. On June 16th and 17th she will host the second annual Philly Bikefest.
Twenty-three years ago Michelle, sat on the back of her ex-husband’s motorcycle shortly after him purchasing it. When asked whether she could feel that “rush”, no was the answer. It was only after purchasing her first 250cc, she felt it. From there she progressed to the RF 600, and finally the Hayabusa.
She’s always been a community, organizer in her hometown of Philadelphia. One of her first events was the Midnight Run for Peace, which was a police escorted ride into high crime areas to promote peace.
“We would go through these areas, police escorted now, and we would wake the neighbors up, let them know we are here, we care and pass out information. It was such a positive thing to do for the city,” according to Michelle. The ride would start at City Hall and go from there. She did similar runs in Chester PA, and Delaware.
The first event that she really organized at the Philly Cycle Center which is a major dealership in Philadelphia was called “Girls on Busas.” which focused on women who ride “dangerously” and ride Hayabusas. The event was so successful that the owner asked if she could create an event that is broader and more family oriented. The following year, she came up with the Philly Bikefest where she was able to map out her vision of the event. The first year was so successful the even with the threat of rain, 400 people attended. “We all know the May is the month of motorcycle safety, but I wanted to reiterate the importance of our safety, I wanted people to know that even after May, were still here.” Said the community organizer.
So what makes this event different from the year before is that it will be a two day event. Friday will be the “Light Em Up” Event where cars will be showcasing their LED light as well as bikes. By the end of the night both the cars and bike will face off and see which of the two groups are the brightest. This will play off into the next day where there will be the actual bike show followed an auto show by an Applebee’s across the street from the Philadelphia Cycle Center.
If you are in the area or are visiting Philadelphia this weekend, please be sure to stop by the bike fest. You’ll not only be able to see the newest bikes (or cars if you’re into that) but you’ll learn more about motorcycle safety and be part of the solution of making this place safer for not only motorcyclists but also motor vehiclists as well.
The location of the Philly Bikefest will be…
Philadelphia Cycle Center
2450 Castor Avenue 19134
Special shout out to the owner: