Curbs aimed at biker rallies approved

Myrtle Beach passed 15 ordinances this week to crack down on a 70-year tradition of motorcycle rallies in the city, but some attorneys warned that the new laws may not survive legal challenges.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported that nearly all of the ordinances passed by the City Council on Tuesday were by unanimous votes. Included are laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets, restricting where bikers can park and strengthening loitering rules.

Lawyers representing Harley-Davidson of Myrtle Beach and businesses that cater to bikers suggested that some of the laws are illegal, but city attorney Tom Ellenburg told them to “save those arguments for the judge.” Councilman Wayne Gray said the city is ready to face any legal challenge.

The helmet law may get the toughest challenge. State law doesn't require helmets for riders 21 and over.

The city decided to try to curb the rallies after years of complaints from residents about noise, lewd behavior and congestion.

The Harley-Davidson rally has been a fixture in Myrtle Beach for seven decades and attracts mostly white riders.

The Atlantic Beach Bikefest during Memorial Day weekend is a much newer event. It lasts four to five days, caters to black bikers and doesn't have the same kind of organization as the Harley rally.

Officials estimate the two rallies bring more than 500,000 people to the Grand Strand every year.