|Photos by Keith Weagle|
According to the Globe and Mail, sales of street motorcycles in Canada fell by more than 7 per cent in the first half of 2019, compared to 2018. For Harley-Davidson, that drop in sales was 11.2 per cent, resulting from the sale of just 5,227 for all of Canada over the six months. In comparison to these statistics, and similar statistics showing a drop in attendance at motorcycle rallies across North America, the Wharf Rat Rally participation has remained robust.
Once again, thanks are extended to the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for placing the road counters that are used to determine our visitation numbers.
The 2019 Saturday-Sunday total was 10,137 on the counter that records motorcycles only. The counter by McDonald’s showed 18,534 vehicles coming into town over the two days. In a comparison with 2018, we had a 6% overall increase in numbers on Saturday and an 8% decrease on Sunday, for an overall decrease of 2% which is keeping exactly in line with Tourism Nova Scotia’s statistics for the summer of 2019. The counter at McDonald’s showed a substantial increase of traffic over 2018.
However, in the middle of the day on Saturday (10am to 7pm), the counters recorded an increase of 13% over 2018 and an increase of 25% over our 2017 traffic numbers coming across the counter where it's motorcycle-only. The traffic team kept people moving nicely in town and the new roundabout eased traffic congestion coming off the highway, and with minor improvements each year, the wait coming into town is becoming more manageable.
The Wharf Rat Rally thanks the Town of Digby and all its residents for allowing the streets to be closed and re-routed, traffic lights to be turned off and general mayhem to take place over the course of the Rally weekend. It's the ambiance of the setting that provides the experience all will remember and we're thankful we aren't trying to host this great event in a parking lot.