Another Daytona Bike Week is rumbling into town — the iconic event that, along with auto racing, is most associated with Daytona Beach. For many locals, this may seem to be old hat. But every year is a little different, so here’s what you need to know about the current state of motorcycle events in Daytona Beach and beyond:


The party’s going strong. Tuesday, two local hoteliers told The News-Journal’s Jim Abbott that they are seeing weekend occupancy rates of over 90 percent. And that doesn’t include the Bike Week attendees who come in for the day, camp out or use peer-to-peer services such as Airbnb to find private lodging. The attendance is always the most significant number people worry about, and while there’s no doubt that Bike Week crowds are graying and slowing down, they still legitimately qualify as “crowds.” And like it or not, motorcycle-related events are still tentpoles for much of the local economy.


[READ MORE: Bike Week ready to roar into Volusia, Flagler counties]


That’s not going to last. Daytona Beach-area tourism authorities are already making plans to transition this area’s tourism base away from big, consuming events like Bike Week and toward more year-round family tourism and convention business — including a potential revamp for Main Street, the ceremonial nexus of Bike Week events. That’s something that has to happen; while bike events can still have a home on Main Street, it’s too important an asset to lie fallow 49 weeks of the year — especially when the signs are clear: Bike Week and Biketoberfest won’t last forever, and events are no longer confined to traditional boundaries, further undermining its future economic boost to Daytona Beach. The area can host this party (and the slightly less iconic Biketoberfest) for as long as it remains economically viable, but it needs alternatives — and local leaders know that.


Local residents will continue to be split. Some still decry the noise, crowding and (sometimes) unfortunate behavior of Bike Week attendees. And they despise the out-of-town vendors who rent spots, make a ton of money and then leave. On the flip side, many residents see this event as an opportunity to earn extra money, particularly for those who work at the favorite watering holes of this festival, or beachside restaurants and hotels. And some simply revel in the festival atmosphere. We ask those who are here for Bike Week to help bridge that gap by respecting residential neighborhoods, riding quiet (with required mufflers) and keeping the partying inside designated hubs.


The first priority : Stay safe. Twice a year, local residents keep a close eye on another grim statistic: The number of motorcyclists hurt or even killed during this free-wheeling event. We would love it if, this year, both numbers were zero. The imperative to ride safe and sober should be rigidly observed; there are always cabs or ride-shares for partygoers who feel they’ve over-indulged. In the meantime, those driving cars and trucks must signal turns and lane changes well in advance, and keep an eye out for bikers, who can be more difficult to see, particularly in the dark.


The second: Have fun. Bike Week remains a rich tapestry of sights, sounds, experiences and flavors. Where else would you see a pony riding in a sidecar, or shop row upon row of booths offering a wide array of clothing in any color you desire (so long as it’s black)? There’s the opportunity to inspect beautiful custom bikes, watch races and celebrate the fellowship of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country.


There’s a reason Daytona Bike Week is regarded as the legendary pinnacle of motorcyle-related gatherings, even as competitors continue to emerge. There’s no place like Daytona Beach during Bike Week, and it’s good to welcome its celebrants once again.