Myrtle Beach Closes its Doors to Rallies

Publish Date: 
Jan 13, 2009
By Dennis Johnson

IT'S OFFICIALLY official, the city of Myrtle Beach is now off limits for motorcycle rallies.

City officials have established a Web site called Myrtle Beach Biker Info ( that spells out the reasons why the South Carolina town no longer welcomes rallies.

On the opening page, mayor John Rhodes explains that the town is not anti-biker or anti-motorcycle, it's just that the popular rallies had grown too large and lasted too long, adding that they "even kept visitors away from Myrtle Beach, and that's not good."

"This was a difficult decision. Myrtle Beach welcomes visitors year-round, but the giant motorcycle rallies simply grew too large," Rhodes writes. "Our staff, residents and businesses strained to keep up with these single-focus events. If may surprise you, but our economy is much healthier with a fully diversified visitor base, instead of a concentration on one or two extremely large events."

The decision effectively kills the Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Spring Rally and the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest.

To help support the now-official ban, the city enacted a number of new laws and regulations aimed at motorcycle enthusiasts and their machines. These include a helmet law with a $100 fine, a ban on loud exhausts, allowing only two bikes per public parking space, a curfew for those under 18, and limits on where trailers and oversize vehicles can be parked on public streets — the latter ostensibly aimed at people trailering in their motorcycles.

Other new laws include one that people to have a photo ID for checking into hotels, another that makes drinking in public illegal, one aimed at loitering in parking lots a ban on using "parking lots or landscaped areas of any business next to road or street for chairs, coolers, parties, drinking or food service."

In a section on the Web site addressing frequently asked questions, the city states that it isn't targeting any specific rally or its attendees and that the ban is year-around, not just in May. "The city of Myrtle Beach doesn't want to play host to any motorcycle rally."

Another answer addresses a question about the city being anti-biker, stating that "The city welcomes individual motorcyclists 365 days a year, as long as they obey all local and state laws. However, the city doesn't welcome the huge motorcycle rallies and the problems they bring."