Myrtle Beach Mayor Says No 2009 Bike Week

January 14, 2009
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

What do you mean we’re not invited to Myrtle Beach? You ever hear of a little place called Hollister?

If there were any lingering doubts about whether motorcyclists would be welcome for the long-standing Myrtle Beach Bike Week in 2009, the city’s mayor has made it clear that they’re not. According to the website, the mayor of the South Carolina coastal town, John Rhodes, declares that “Effective 2009, Myrtle Beach, SC will no longer host motorcycle rallies.” The website was designed by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and lists 15 new rules and regulations the City Council has come up with in order to deter the gathering.
“Myrtle Beach is no longer the location for two long-running motorcycle events. After many years, our residents grew weary of three weeks of noise and traffic congestion each May, and they asked City Council to end the events. As a result, the Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Spring Rally and the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest will not be held in Myrtle Beach,” Rhodes wrote.

To discourage bikers, the city has implemented stricter noise and muffler rules, will be enforcing a helmet law within Myrtle Beach itself, has established rules against large parties in parking lots and has tightened curfews on juveniles. Increased police DUI checkpoints have been mentioned as possible points for sound emission tests as well. All this with the disclaimer that Myrtle Beach is not “anti-biker or anti-motorcycle.”

But the Myrtle Beach Bike Week website counters this, saying that the rallies have not been cancelled. MB Bike Week 2009 t-shirts are still for sale. As the site states, “People are still going to come with or without the vendors in the county. People own time shares, homes, condos in the Grand Strand and bought these places just for these events.”

The Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson website is still encouraging motorcyclists to come. It states “The City of Myrtle Beach has initiated a media campaign designed to deter the good, law abiding motorcycle riders from coming to our area. The information being disseminated by the Grand Strand Chamber of Commerce and City of Myrtle Beach does not accurately portray the views of the people of Horry County. The majority of people and businesses look forward to you visiting and desperately rely on your visiting to make it through the year.”

It states that most of the businesses that cater to bikers are in Horry County, which has not adopted the new ordinances enacted by the city of Myrtle Beach. The Harley dealer will soon have maps of the area and routes to avoid Myrtle Beach up on its site. While the city itself is trying to sever its ties with the event, North Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet and the rest of Horry County seem to be more receptive to the almost 500,000 visitors that come to the region over a three-week period in May and the income that it brings to an area that is heavily reliant on tourism dollars. If the rally goes on, it will be the 69th annual event.

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