Mayor John Rhodes of Myrtle Beach effectively kicked the Myrtle Beach Bike week out of town this year. The two best known rallies, the Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Spring Rally and the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest, were never sponsored by the city and as such the Mayor couldn’t “cancel” them. But the city of Myrtle Beach has passed a list of ordinances that effectively prevent the rallies from taking place in City of Myrtle Beach.
Click here for new rules and ordinances for Myrtle Beach
The Mayor is certainly bucking a trend. Cities and towns around the country are actively appealing to bikers. In fact, at least five cities close to Myrtle Beach and Horry County are taking pains to make it quite clear they don’t share Myrtle Beach’s aversion to motorcycles.
On the other coast, Bikernewsonline reports the city of Temecula California last year began seriously backpedaling to get back the bikers an overzealous police force had run away. The owner of an antique store complained about the noise from some bikes. A word from the police chief and things eventually escalated to the point of fishnet style busts where bikers were pulled over in groups and ticketed for non-DOT helmets and aftermarket pipes. One officer was reported to have told a biker that, “their kind,” wasn’t welcome there.
Several biker forums began calling for a boycott of the Old town area. The chamber of commerce began hearing from business and took action. Police chief Jerry Williams, himself a bike owner, acknowledges some problems and says there will be some changes. The city is now going out of it’s way to make bikers feel welcome.
It isn’t 1960, and bikers of the early 21st century are an economic force to be reckoned with. The cash weekend motorcyclists bring to town is not something to be lightly ignored.
— Guy Wheatley