The politics in Myrtle Beach South Carolina make our Canadian politics seem so tame.
I am however ensuring that this issue gets some light of day here in Canada because as our population grows both as a country and as the motorcycle community - these issues WILL be on our doorstep and the politics WILL become this disgusting.
This article is a forewarning to EVERY MOTORCYCLE EVENT COORDINATOR and community in CANADA - there is lots to be learned here, but will anyone take the time - I doubt it, but I feel I have to try and get people to see the responsibilities that they have on ALL sides of the equation - otherwise, rallies will be a thing of the past in no time at all.
Electric motorcycles might end up becoming the savior of rallies and Motorcycle Tourism!
The Myrtle Beach Saga finally comes to an end of sorts...
Depending on what news article you read and whose slant or side resonates with you, there's lots of fodder available for building acrimony! Myrtle Beach On Line has had lots of hmm.. shall we say lively and colorful discussion threads on this issue.
A lot of people who belong to the facebook group - Bring Back Myrtle Beach- are boycotting certain restaurants and businesses...
Slander, lawsuits, fist fights - YUP this community's politics has it all.
Bikers as tourists is being seen by many as the pro small business/commerce side of the issue VS peace, quiet and retirement - the other side of an issue that is so contentious it forced an early election and was in many ways viewed as a referendum.
From the City of Myrtle Beach's point of view they are right to get rid of the rallies.
I am copying their statements regarding the rallies so that you can truly see how Myrtle Beach - the government is as much responsible for the out of control way the rallies were allowed to grow and the limits they were allowed to push.
I’ve heard the rallies will still occur, just not in the city limits. Is that true?
The rallies will not occur in the City of Myrtle Beach and may not occur exactly as they have in the past elsewhere. The City of Myrtle Beach is concerned with the city limits, but other local governments are considering actions to limit or alter the rallies. For example, Horry County Council is considering changes to vendor numbers, locations and fees. Surfside Beach has eliminated vendors for two years. North Myrtle Beach will not allow vendors in front of Barefoot Landing and may or may not approve a variance for a tent at the Harley-Davidson shop. You may wish to contact other local governments directly to inquire about their plans. Atlantic Beach (843) 663-2284; City of North Myrtle Beach (843) 280-5555; Horry County (843) 915-5005; Town of Surfside (843) 913-6111.
I understand the motorcycle rallies have been cancelled and will not be held in 2009. Is this true?
Yes, as far as the City of Myrtle Beach is concerned, the motorcycle rallies have ended. The residents of Myrtle Beach spoke loudly and clearly, asking City Council to end the May rallies. In response, City Council enacted numerous ordinances and changed existing laws to curtail the rallies beginning in 2009. Some form of the rallies may be held elsewhere in Horry County, but they will no longer occur within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Why does Myrtle Beach no longer want motorcycle rallies?
The rallies grew too large and lasted too long. The back-to-back rallies attracted several hundred thousand bikers and event-goers and overwhelmed the city for nearly three weeks. The rallies drove other visitors away. Through the years, the city tried to work with the organizers and attendees, but the rallies did not improve. Instead, they became larger, longer and louder. Myrtle Beach welcomes people who ride motorcycles lawfully, but the rallies have ended.
IN MY HO - had the city forced coordinators to meet certain expectations this would not have happened - the city had the power via permits etc, to keep the length of the rallies at whatever they wanted - instead they choose to ban them - hmmm when and how did they figure out they had the power to do that??? Maybe they should have put their foot down years ago????
Is this effort to discontinue the motorcycle rallies targeted at one group or one specific rally?
No, the City of Myrtle Beach doesn’t want to play host to any motorcycle rally, regardless of its sponsors or attendees. The new ordinances are in effect year-round, not just during the month of May.
WAY TO CYA for the benefit of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) The NAACP is largely responsible, in MHO, for making this into a race issue instead of a respect issue. Read up on the history....
So, is Myrtle Beach anti-biker?
Not at all. 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. Be clear on this - this in not a place I will EVER go to, be it in a car or on a bike. It's crime rate is horrendous and the rallies had very little to do with it from what I read...
Haven’t these rallies existed for many years? Why is the City of Myrtle Beach just now deciding to discontinue the rallies?
The May motorcycle rallies are not new, but for many years, they lasted only a few days and attracted much smaller crowds. While those events may have presented some challenges for residents, most people tolerated them for short periods. However, in recent years, both May motorcycle events outgrew their original size, scope and duration. The back-to-back rallies now last for nearly three straight weeks and present a huge burden on the local community. As a result, the residents asked the city to end the rallies, and City Council responded accordingly.
AS I SAID PREVIOUSLY - PROPER PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS Piss Poor Performance
If the city doesn’t want special events, why do the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizers promote events like the Sun Fun Festival, the Myrtle Beach Marathon, or the Canadian-American Days Festival?
Events like the Sun Fun Festival, the Myrtle Beach Marathon and the Canadian-American Days Festival last only a few days and don’t require nearly the level of support from the city as the motorcycle rallies. Also, they don’t cause the same level of inconvenience, noise and congestion for the residents. Those events also do not result in increased crime, traffic wrecks and fatalities. (From what I read about Myrtle Beach, the crime rate is so high because of being a tourist town that it is a scary place to go to even when at its best. Again, don't take my opinion as gospel - read the history and all of the conflicting comments and draw your own conclusions)
Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination. It seems strange that such a destination would decide it doesn’t want tourists, doesn’t it?
We welcome all tourists, as long as they obey our state and local laws. The motorcycle-related rallies grew to be too large, too noisy and too unmanageable. For example, during July 4th, we will host even more visitors than during the motorcycle rallies, but the effect on the community is much less intense. The rallies grew so large and lasted so long that they simply overwhelmed the community. In short, their negatives far outweighed their positives. (AGAIN I HUMBLY SUBMIT - PROPER PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE)
If the motorcycle rallies were such a great benefit for our area, it would seem that other communities would compete for them and try to move them to their towns, much like national conventions. So far, that hasn’t happened. Ask yourself… Would your community welcome three weeks of motorcycle rallies with hundreds of thousands of participants and the resulting noise, litter, lewdness, crime, traffic congestion, reckless driving, accidents, injuries, and deaths? Probably not.
The rallies bring a lot of revenue to the city and its businesses. Does the City Council realize how much money it stands to lose?
Yes, the City Council is aware of the economic impact of the motorcycle rallies, but the rallies also cost the community, and more than just money. Certain business segments did well during the rallies, but others did not. The city also paid a substantial cost in staff time and resources to cope with the rallies. Many would-be visitors also chose not to visit during May because they did not want to be caught up in the rallies. But perhaps the biggest cost of all was the effect the rallies had upon our quality of life. Residents were no longer willing to give up the month of May.
Do businesses realize they’re going to lose a lot of money when the rallies go away?
Yes, and no. Some businesses did benefit financially from the motorcycle rallies and expressed concern over the city’s decision. Other businesses didn’t benefit financially from the motorcycle rallies and supported the city’s efforts. And, believe it or not, there are some businesses that benefit financially from the rallies but believe overall that they still aren’t good events for the area. It’s safe to say that the business community is divided on the issue, but regardless, the city is eliminating the rallies for non-monetary reasons.
If I decide to ride my motorcycle to Myrtle Beach in May 2009, what changes will I notice?
Myrtle Beach is the same appealing destination that it’s always been, but you will be subject to several new ordinances. For example, you will need to wear an approved safety helmet and eye protection while riding your motorcycle within the city limits. Your motorcycle must have a functioning muffler and you will not be allowed to make excessive noise. At idle, motorcycles and other vehicles may be no louder than 89 decibels. You will need to present your license, registration and proof of insurance at all traffic checkpoints, which will be more common beginning in 2009. These checkpoints also may include noise measurements. For more details on our local laws, please view our list of new or changed ordinances.
Hotels are telling me I can’t bring my motorcycle on a trailer. Is this true and, if so, why?
The city will not allow motorcycle trailer parking on public rights-of-way within the city limits, nor at large, vacant sites. You may park trailers in hotel parking lots as long as they do not displace other guests’ vehicles. Spaces for trailer storage may be available outside city limits, but within the city, there will be no space available for trailer storage. Also, city ordinances restrict motorcycles to no more than two vehicles per public parking space.
(But no, we aren't targeting anyone group of people - hell no!)
Will the new ordinances passed by the City of Myrtle Beach affect the Harley-Davidson rally, the Memorial Day Bikefest, or both?
Will the new ordinances passed by the City of Myrtle Beach affect the Harley-Davidson rally, the Memorial Day Bikefest, or both?
Both. The new ordinances are in effect year-round, and actions to eliminate the motorcycle rallies will be implemented consistently among all events.
When do the new laws go into effect?
Some of the new ordinances are already in effect. Other laws will be implemented in February 2009.
Are the city’s efforts constitutional?
Yes, the city believes its efforts are very much in line with the constitutions of the United States and South Carolina. As a matter of policy, the city doesn’t comment on pending legal challenges. However, lawsuits have been filed, and thus far, the courts have sided with the city and refused to issue any injunctions.
Where do the city limits of Myrtle Beach extend?Like all cities in South Carolina, the city limits line zigs and zags. Generally speaking, the city limits begin at the southern end of Restaurant Row and continue to just past the former Air Force Base. Except for a portion of Grande Dunes, all of the City of Myrtle Beach is east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Look for signage at the major entrances to the city. At this time, SC 31, the Carolina Bays Parkway, is completely outside the Myrtle Beach City limits.
What I see is a place where they - the Municipality allowed themselves to loose control of the events. If the city had not extended permits and licenses to go over the three weeks period, if they had put in the checks and balances and actually worked with the promoters, the rallies one of which had a 63 year history might be allowed to continue today. If it wasn't for the NAACP and the challenges that nasty politics that ensued from the whole racial side of things...
What if's... woulda's, should haves...I have said it MANY, MANY times - if HISTORY was a learning tool...instead - it simply repeats itself because not enough people are willing to look at history as a method from which to learn, grow and evolve...
If you are not part of the solution YOU ARE THE PROBLEM...and that's my humble opinion.
If you are one of those people I love to hate - meaning you live where you can ride....Please, ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you and ride like everyone around you is your sick grandma or a new born baby you really don't want to wake up - use some respect with that right hand...
Belt Drive Betty
National VP - A.I.M.Can