Growing tensions about a name change as well as a minor incident outside the 12th Street clubhouse of the Road Warriors Motorcycle Club on May 5 apparently led to exaggerated reports and an increased police presence in the area.
Although the police department did send in officers to monitor the situation, they could find no evidence of a fight.
Witnesses, however, said two motorcycle clubs did have an exchange that resulted in fists being thrown and at least one club member falling to the ground.
Don, the president of the Road Warriors, and Frank, the vice president, said the whole situation appears to have been blown up out of a minor incident when one motorcycle came to close to another, but that no fight transpired.
The incident occurred after members of the southern chapter of the Eastsiders Motorcycle Club stopped for a light at 12th Street.
Several people said that tensions had been mounting because the Bayonne chapter of the club decided to start their own club with a new name. Some local people said the southern chapter came back to Bayonne to discourage the change of the name.
Although the Eastsiders started out as a Bayonne motorcycle club located on Prospect Avenue, a good number of the club members moved to southern New Jersey. For a long time, the two chapters co-existed. But the distance proved too much to maintain the old alliances, and the members of the Bayonne chapter decided to strike out on their own under the new name of the Road Warriors.
Although no official police reports documented the conflict, police with heavy weaponry moved into the area on May 6 to discourage any violence. The show of force concerned some local residents and has created a climate of suspicion that the members of the Road Warriors club would like to dispel.
The two members of the newly formed motorcycle club said they had just opened their new clubhouse above the car wash at that corner.
They said the local daily newspaper got the facts wrong, even claiming the club was a local chapter of the Hell’s Angels.
“We’re a motorcycle club, not a gang.” – Vice President of the Road Warriors
Many of the members of the Road Warriors were members of a long-time Bayonne motorcycle club, the Eastsiders.
Over the years, many of the Eastsiders moved to southern New Jersey, and recently, those who remained in Bayonne decided to organize their own club, the Road Warriors.
“We’re a motorcycle club, not a gang,” Frank said. “Most of us are fathers. I’m even a grandfather. Most of us work more than one job.”
While the club recently opened their new clubhouse, many of those who belong to it have been around that neighborhood for years, and are frequent customers to local businesses – including the nearby Quick Chek and several local taverns.
“We do a lot of business with the hot dog stand,” Frank said.
The club, even prior to the name change, has been active in supporting local charities. Most recently, they were part of a fundraiser to get a new wheelchair for a boy whose chair was stolen. They have also conducted fundraising bike rides for other civic groups, such as the Elks.
“These are good people who ride motorcycles,” said Patty Mulligan, an area resident who knows many of the people involved. “They are fathers and grandfathers. In fact, one of their daughters recently rescued someone from a local fire.”
Don said the club recently rented space above the car wash so that the members of the newly formulated Road Warriors would have a place to hang out.
“Before that, we hung out at places like R&Bz,” he said.
“We really try to be good neighbors,” Frank said. “We don’t make a lot of noise outside. We make sure the area is clean.”
Don and Frank have been riding together since they were boys. The Eastsiders Motorcycle Club started up on the Prospect Avenue area of Bayonne along the eastside of Bayonne. Over time, the club even had a chapter called the Junior Eastsiders for younger kids, who were issued patches.
“We grew up near each other on Prospect Avenue,” Frank said.
Most of the members have families, and some of the members work more than one job.
“Some of our guys work three jobs,” Don said.
Both members say the daily newspaper got everything wrong. While the paper did run a correction later, the correction appeared in small type, while the original story made the front page, leaving some people concerned about having the club in the area.
“We just want to let people know that we are good neighbors,” Don said.