Myrtle Beach Becomes Biker-Unfriendly

Publish Date: 
Sep 25, 2008
By Mary Slepicka

IT'st's going to be tougher to ride a motorcycle in Myrtle Beach. The city council there has passed a series of ordinances designed to restrict motorcycle use. In doing so, city officials have let it be known that they no longer want the popular springtime bike rallies in their area.

The 15 new rules, which the city council passe on unanimous votes Tuesday, include requiring riders to wear helmets, putting limitations on bike parking, and even restricting where motorcyclists can congregate. Attorneys representing local dealerships and other businesses who depend on the more than 500,000 riders who participate in the two springtime rallies say the rules are illegal, and have vowed to take the city to court.

The most controversial ordinances will be enforced starting Dec. 21. They:

  • Require riders to wear helmets and protective eyewear;
  • Prohibit alcohol sales between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. (some exemptions may apply);
  • Restrict motorcycle parking to two vehicles per parking space and repeals the previous deactivation of meters for bike parking;
  • Require hotels, motels and short-term rental operators to require all guests to show photo and vehicle IDs;
  • Prohibit alcohol consumption and/or open alcohol possession in parking areas, lots and garages;
  • Make it illegal to use a parking lot for non-parking activities and to damage a landscaped area by placing chairs and other items on it;
  • Prohibit trailer parking on public streets and unlicensed private lots; and
  • Establish a curfew for minors from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Ordinances which take effect immediately:

  • Declare non-permitted special events or rallies as public nuisances, and make parties financially responsible for any public costs that arise from even promoting such events;
  • Prohibit any event (permitted or non-permitted) in, or adjacent to, the city limits if it imposes an “excessive public resource deployment,” holding parties responsible for any public costs that result;
  • Revise the noise ordinance for vehicles to 87dB maximum at idle, and require EPA labeling on all vehicles; and
  • Prohibit loitering on commercial lots after hours or "when posted."

The helmet requirement is the most controversial, as it overrides South Carolina state law which makes helmets optional for riders 21 and older.

See the text of the ordinancees here.

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