Atlantic Beach Bikefest - The End May Be Near

Myrtle Beach moves to shut down biker rallies

When Motorcyclist ran a revealing feature on the Atlantic Beach Bikefest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last year, some readers blanched at our coverage of the annual celebration of 'Busas, bling and bare backsides. Turns out they weren't alone: The Myrtle Beach Sun News has reported that several of the town's city council members have moved to end the event once and for all. Citing complaints of traffic and noise caused by the 200,000 riders who converge on the beach resort each Memorial Day weekend, Mayor John Rhodes told residents, "We don't need these rallies. We can fill all the hotel rooms without bike weeks."

Worth noting is that Myrtle Beach isn't concerned with removing all revelers from their fair city. The annual Spring Break for college students has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement for decades, but that annual beer-fueled bacchanal has been left intact. If you roll on two wheels, however, the red carpet is being rolled up.

And while some see a racial or political motivation behind ceasing what is commonly called "Black Bike Week," the city council hasn't left out the annual Harley-Davidson rally that draws a crowd of over 100,000 one week earlier. To prove that point, among the 15 new ordinances are an 87-decibel noise limit for motorcycles and mandatory helmet and eye protection.

Riders attending either rally in '09 can expect increased police presence, as well as new laws regulating the use of parking lots, trailer parking, loitering, open containers and bar closing times, plus an overnight curfew for those under 18 and a new ordinance requiring photo I.D. for anyone entering a hotel/motel or rental property. Oh, and wearing a thong in public will still set you back $225. Myrtle Beach officials have ignored the concerns of bike dealers and local retailers who rely on the rally-goers for a sizeable portion of their annual income, bowing instead to the timeworn stereotypes that a town full of partying motorcyclists is somehow less manageable and worthwhile than a town full of partying college students.

Myrtle Beach could see a lot less badonkadonk this summer as the city council has enacted new laws aimed at motorcyclists and passengers.