NAACP sues the City of Myrtle Beach over 23-mile loop

The Memorial Day Bikefest in Myrtle Beach this year has generated controversy. As Friday night activities got underway it was clear that more cars were in attendance than bikes. The decline is being blamed on the way police are treating the bikers that do attend, and the traffic loop bikers are forced to take.
One biker in attendance, John Jennings stated,

“That’s a definite factor, there’s no ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ about it. It’s definitely a lot less traffic than there used to be and I think it’s because of some of the ordinances and stuff they’ve got going on.”

This is an event that Jennings has come to for nearly fifteen years but said that based on things at Myrtle Beach, he may elect to go to the bikefest in Dayton Beach instead. He is basing that decision on the 23 mile loop and added,

“Because you’re stuck in one lane of traffic and a lot of times, if your bike isn’t set up for your fan to run all the time, it’ll run hot, and that’s one big thing people don’t like coming here for.”

The closure of the loop on Friday night only added to the frustration of those in attendance. The loop was to be open from 10 pm to 2 a.m. However the police chose to close it at 11:30 pm blaming light traffic. Generally, the bikefest is attended by black bikers, many of which are young versus the older crowd that attend white Harley Week the week after Black bikefest.
Many bikers, such as Curtis Dow feel that the quality of the event is impacted by race. Curtis, who lives closeby in South Carolina said,

“Last week there wasn’t barricades. They only put them up during Black Bike Week. It’s not right. They’re laughing at us saying ‘they got the monkeys in the cage.’ Harley Week, no barricades, they do whatever the hell they want to do. When we come here, there’s a problem.”

NAACP Files Lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach

The controversy was enough that the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach hoping that in doing so it will bring an end to the implementation of the 23 mile loop. That loop is not in place for Harley Week and as such, the city’s position that it is implemented to control traffic is questionable. Prior the fest taking place, a judge ruled in favour of the city.

While those in law enforcement seem relaxed at the event, there were a few arrests, but nothing serious. Most officers were observed interacting with those in attendance in a friendly manner and most felt the bikefest was a success. However, some were unhappy with the presence of security and law enforcement.

Two who were unhappy, Ashley Maultsvy and Tia Wilson, who are from Pennsylvania said that while sitting outside their hotel they were harassed by what appeared to be a security guard who kept demanding they move along referencing a city sign relating to loitering.

Police Chief Crosby, when questioned, said that all officers work from a plan that revolves around keeping all attending safe, and that include police officers. He added that,

“I’ve watched my officers go down the boulevard today and do community policing at the finest. When you’re out working a major event such as this, you’re going to be asked a lot of question and whether you’re asked the 30th question of the day, that question is just important as the first question you ask,” Crosby said. “It’s about respect. You respect the individual.”

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