The Honorable John Rhodes, Mayor of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina wants you to, “please know that Myrtle Beach is not anti-biker or anti-motorcycle.”
Also His Honor wants you to know that if someday you happen to get lost and stray across the frontier from South Carolina into the People’s Republic of Myrtle Beach on a perfectly legal motorcycle dressed in a perfectly legal way you will be charged with breaking one of the special Myrtle Beach motorcycle or haberdashery ordinances and have your bike seized.
The Warden Speaks
The Most Excellent and Holy Mayor Rhodes seems to have mastered the most excellent and holy trick of holding two mutually exclusive notions in his head at the same time while believing that both are exclusively true. Maybe it is most excellent that he can do that.
Maybe the simple fact is that Myrtle Beach has just formally declared war on bikers -on a website you can visit at www.myrtlebeachbikerinfo.com.
“Myrtle Beach is no longer the location for two long-running motorcycle events,” the mayor decrees on the site. The events which the mayor cannot bring himself to name are the Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Spring Rally and the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest. “After many years, our residents grew weary of three weeks of noise and traffic congestion each May,” the mayor continues, “and they asked City Council to end the events.”
What We Have Here…
The method the city has chosen to “end the events” is zero tolerance for violators of fifteen or so brand new laws. The most draconian of these pertain to the noise you make, the way you dress and where you stand.
The mayor explains the noise ordinance as “No loud mufflers. No straight pipes.” Which is, of course, a flat out lie. “Loud” means louder than 83 decibels which is much quieter than almost any public place. And, the consequences of having a cop, who may or not know how to use a decibel meter, determining that your motorcycle is “loud” is the seizure of your bike. You cannot just say, “Sorry, officer. I was looking for South Carolina and got lost.” They take your bike.
The haberdashery ordinance is the Myrtle Beach helmet law. Without an “approved” helmet you cannot ride a motorcycle in the city. And, as with the noise regulation, if you cannot ride you cannot leave. At least not with your bike.
And, there are several “loitering” ordinances. What they all say is that if you are taking up space in a parking lot or on a sidewalk or if you are standing in a store and you do not have money in your hand you are breaking the law.
Is Failure To Communicate
A city spokesman named Mark Kruea elaborated, “We have new laws, and we would rather not surprise visitors. We would rather they have some idea of what to expect when they come here.” Sure thing, Boss Kruea.
Of course, neither Warden Rhodes nor Boss Kruea nor the Myrtle Beach guards have yet managed the miracle of omnipotence. So, technically, you can stand one foot across the free side of the Myrtle Beach De-Militarized Zone and still be your loud, rude, socially unacceptable self.
Just make sure you know the exact location of that line. And, if you do happen to find yourself in Myrtle Beach you should expect to be bullied.