The ghost of Myrtle Beach will haunt South Carolina starting this Friday.
Optimists who can see what skeptics cannot want you to know that, “Myrtle Beach Bike Week, Grand Strand Spring Rally, Grand Strand Rally, Cruisin’ The Coast Spring Rally, Murrells Inlet Spring Rally Whatever you want to call this event IS ON!” and will continue through May 16th.
Also according to the press release, “approximately 300,000 people make their way to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, vendors, concerts, and parties. The event contends with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as one of the most popular motorcycle rallies in the United States.”
Myrtle Beach Hates You
For years, Myrtle Beach was one of the six major bike runs in North America. They are all named for the cities that host them: Daytona in the Fall, Daytona in the Spring, Laughlin, Laconia and Sturgis. They all attract at least 30,000 visitors. Every August, the metropolitan area of Sturgis seems to expand down to Cheyenne on the south, Gilette to the west, Pierre on the east and Belle Fourche to the north. And, last year about 300,000 bikers wandered around that expanse of buffalo grass and bugs.
But there will not be 300,000 bikers in Myrtle Beach this weekend. There is no more Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach was outlawed after the last rally in 2008 because bikers are often rowdy and sometimes dangerous and their motorcycles are loud.
What will be happening in Myrtle Beach this weekend is something called May Fest. May Fest is your opportunity to:
“Take pictures and get autographs from some of your favorite celebrities including Catherine Bell of Army Wives; Alex Meraz of Twilight: New Moon; Nathan Kress of tween favorite iCarly and many others! Enjoy free, family friendly concerts by award-winning artists including, American Idol season six winner Jordin Sparks along with Hannah Montana’s Mitchel Musso, American soul singer and ‘Stand By Me’ writer and performer Ben E. King, legendary Blues man Buddy Guy and more!”
If this all sounds like something you don’t want to miss be sure to leave your motorcycle at home.
What “whatever you want to call this event” really is a domestic dispute between a group of business owners called BOOST, which is an acronym for “Business Owners Organized To Save Tourism,” and everyone else in Myrtle Beach. What BOOST suggests you do is go to Myrtle Beach without actually entering the city limits of Myrtle Beach. Because, as even BOOST will concede, any biker stupid enough to actually enter the city limits this weekend will be thrown on his face at one of many “courtesy safety checkpoints,” his bike will be seized and melted down for scrap and he will be roasted on a spit.
The same laws local authorities used to get bikers last year remain in effect this year. The helmet law has been brought before the South Carolina Supreme Court. It has not yet been overturned. BOOST hopes the helmet law will be overturned before Friday. Don’t count on it. Even if the local helmet law is overturned, Myrtle Beach still has lots of other laws that are specifically intended to harass you and anybody who is willing to sell you beer.
These laws include:
• Ordinance 2008-57 declares motorcycle rallies to be nuisances and authorizes the police to sue to recover any costs they may incur as a result of these nuisances.
• Ordinance 2008-58 proclaims that even if the rally is not held in Myrtle Beach, if participants go there, and the police arrest those participants, the rally organizers are liable for the costs of those arrests.
• Ordinance 2008-63 declares it illegal to loiter in a city park. Think about it. You can no longer loiter in a city park. What exactly is the point of a park if you cannot loiter in it?
• Ordinance 2008-64 is the Myrtle Beach helmet law. In the rest of South Carolina, if you are over 21-years-old, you can wear any hat you want when you ride your motorcycle. Unlike every other state in the union, all helmets in Myrtle Beach must be provably DOT certified. If any cop thinks your helmet is not DOT certified then it is not.
• Ordinance 2008-71 says that while you are in town the police may be authorized by the mayor to act as judges.
• Ordinance 2008-66 says that while you are in the state, convenience stores must hire security guards. While you are in town, if the store doesn’t hire a guard they cannot sell you a burrito.
• Ordinance 2008-68 says that if your motorcycle has aftermarket exhaust pipes , or if your pipes do not have a Federal Environmental Protection Agency Stamp, or if a cop determines that the sound of you motorcycle exceeds 83 decibels your motorcycle will be impounded and stored at your expense until the police actually see you load it on a trailer and haul it out of town.