Myrtle Beach to bikers: Shhhhhhh!

Motorcyclists will need to muffle excessive noise during the fall rally that kicks off Wednesday in Myrtle Beach.

The rally will serve as a rehearsal for the new rules passed by City Council last week meant to clamp down on beach motorcycle rallies.

City Manager Tom Leath said that only the anti-noise ordinance will affect the rally, known as The Pilgrimage, which ends Sunday. It's smaller than the two May rallies, which each attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Leath said the city will use this rally to educate bikers about the new expectations. The city is offering free muffler checks on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. “We're not out to surprise anyone,” Leath said.

Starting Friday evening, officers will stop vehicles at two spots to check for noise and equipment violations.

City Council decided to crack down on the rallies after years of complaints from residents about noise, lewd behavior and congestion. The council raised property taxes earlier this year to help pay for the effort.

About 60,000 people usually come to this rally. Fewer are expected this year because of economic uncertainty and gas prices.

Other ordinances planned to be enforced in the spring include strengthened loitering rules, helmet requirements and restrictions on where bikers can park. Lawyers representing businesses that cater to bikers have suggested the rules are illegal.