Biker rules at beach challenged

Two motorcycle owners are challenging Myrtle Beach's new laws meant to curtail biker rallies.

Their lawsuit, filed in Horry County Court, alleges that city officials violated state law by requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets and cut muffler noise. They want the court to declare the laws invalid and unenforceable.

William and Carol O'Day claim in their lawsuit that mandating all motorcyclists to wear helmets and protective eyewear conflicts with state law, which requires that only those younger than 21 wear them.

The suit also claims that specifying that mufflers be no louder than 87 decibels while idling exceeds state law, which says, more generally, that mufflers must prevent excessive noise and annoying smoke.

The rules were among 15 passed last week by City Council which – after the death earlier this year of a college student shot over a parking space – decided to try to minimize the rallies after years of complaints about noise, congestion, and reportedly lewd behavior.

The anti-noise rule for mufflers took effect immediately, in time for the fall rally set for Wednesday through Sunday known as The Pilgrimage. It normally attracts about 60,000 people, compared with the hundreds of thousands for each of the two May rallies.

Associated Press