Ontario’s biker enforcement unit kept a watchful eye on a nearly 200-strong motorcycle convoy that drove through downtown London over the weekend.
The bikers, including members of outlaw motorcycle clubs, rumbled through Richmond Row Saturday afternoon.
London police say they didn’t receive any complaints about the large-scale ride, referring all questions to the OPP biker enforcement unit.
The head of the unit confirmed officers were dispatched to locations across the province to monitor “organized rides” over the weekend.
“The . . . unit works very hard throughout the summer to monitor as many organized rides and events as we can, continually growing our actionable intelligence that we use to combat organized crime criminal acts,” Det.-Staff Sgt. Anthony Renton said by email. “(We work) very closely with our partners to ensure front-line members are briefed in relation to outlaw motorcycle gang movement to ensure the safety of the public and our officers.”
With more than 50 members from 20 police forces and agencies, the biker enforcement unit is one of the largest joint force operations in Ontario.
London has a long history of being home to various outlaw motorcycle clubs, whose members are known as “one percenters,” referring to the notion that 99 per cent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens.
The Hells Angels, the largest outlaw motorcycle club in Canada, have an estimated 12 full-patch members in the city.
The Gatekeepers, a Hells Angels support club with chapters in Nova Scotia and Ontario, also have a chapter in London.
The Outlaws, the longtime rivals of the Hells Angels, have stepped up efforts in recent years to reestablish a presence in London, though the club has suffered multiple setbacks.
The weekend biker presence in London prompted chatter on Reddit, a news aggregation and discussion website, where users reported seeing the motorcycles running red lights.
Another user posted a photo of the convoy passing through the intersection at Richmond and Oxford streets against the lights. The image showed two columns of bikers heading north on Richmond while motorcycles blocked east- and westbound traffic on Oxford from entering the intersection while the light was green.
Renton urged members of the public to report any criminal activity or driving offences to police.
“Working together is integral in maintaining public safety,” he said.