Hundreds of bikers are expected to roar into Skegness tonight - in spite of the official annual event hosted by the RNLI being cancelled just two days ago.
Bike Night, to be held in Tower Esplanade as part of Lincolnshire Bike Week, was advertised as including ‘stalls, live bands, events and all kinds of bikes’.
However at the last minute, Skegness RNLI announced on social media: “Due to circumstances outside of our control, we are not in a position to be involved”.
The post on Facebook was met with outrage after it was suggested East Lindsey District Council had pulled the plug on the event on health and safety grounds - with bikers saying ‘come anyway’, businesses in the surrounding area offering to still suppport them and ELDC being forced to provide its own ‘traffic management’ in response.
A spokesman for East Lindsey District Council told the Standard: “Since early June we’d been working with Skegness RNLI to help them produce an event management plan for the safe running of the Bike Night.
“We understood the plan to be almost completed but received notification today (Wednesday) that the RNLI was no longer in a position to progress with the event.
“Anticipating that a number of bikers may still attend, the council has put in place its own traffic control arrangements to help ensure safe traffic movement during the advertised event times for the Tower Esplanade area.”.
Among over 40 comments on one of the Facebook posts, Ray Cooke said: “Lincolnshire Bike Week is becoming a large part of why bikers and their partners and others too visit Lincolnshire. Some of them stay in various accommodations for the whole week and they all have to eat and drink to sustain life, they also fill up with fuel to attend the various venues such as Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea, Spilsby, Skegness and indeed Lincoln itself and also for their return journeys home.
“This means that they bring in much needed ‘revenue to the county of which ELDC no doubt snatch what they consider their share.
“Why then would they agree a bike night for Skegness and allow advertising to go ahead only to cancel just two days prior, giving the cliched reason of health and safety.
“We don’t need them to interfere. We are right-minded sensible people who enjoy each other’s company with no problems. We raise money for local charity too.
“We are to be cast aside because the ELDC think they know best, Message to the ELDC. ‘Leave us alone’ good things just get better.”
RNLI Skegness further posted: “We’ve tried everything within our sphere of influence to meet the demands needed for holding such an event.
“Unfortunately it has become apparent that we are just not able to satisfy the satisfy what’s being asked in the timeframe given.”
Biker Paul Napper said: “It’s such a shame - it’s a family event not a nasty bike thing. I shall turn up and encourage others to do the same. The RNLI will lose out, hope they have someone with a collection bucket. I’m sure it will still get filled by ones who show up.”
One of the businesses in the area already pledging support is The Boating Lake Cafe. It posted on Facebook: “We will still be open and supporting Skegness RNLI bike night. We hope to see lots of friendly faces and we look forward to a bigger and better bikenight next yea. Good look to RNLI with your plans for next year.”