LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Letter | Want to solve bike rally problems? Start with the legislature

June 29, 2014 

Bikers cruise Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The bikefest continues through Memorial Day. Photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan / jblackmon@thesunnews.com

JANET BLACKMON MORGAN — jblackmon@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

Nikki Haley wants to end the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. Merchants are concerned that their businesses will suffer if it isn’t banned. Restaurants, hotels will suffer.

Yes, there has been a lot of violence and many problems with the Bikefest. But is it fair to put all the blame on either the Bikefest or the Harley Spring event? Sure, I’ve seen the hot shots who zoom off from a traffic stop with a sonic blast that sounds as though they are rocketing into outer space. I’m aware of the heavy imbibing and rowdy behavior night after night. I don’t like it either.

However, to be fair, the majority of bikers are not showoffs or drunks. My son-in-law, his two brothers and a sister along with numerous cousins are all bikers. All are in their 50s and early 60’. All are responsible, hard working men and women who are law abiding citizens. There is no kinder, caring man than my son-in-law. He’s been a Harley guy since his teens. He’s now 56 years, works two jobs, and is a fine and devoted family man. He has a beautiful Harley, polished and gleaming. It has a muffler. It’s no noisier than his Nissan pick-up truck.

The problem with the bike week events, along with many other large local events is due in great part to the lawlessness of our state. Nikki Haley wants to stop Bikefest. Well how about Nikki Haley using her influence as governor to motivate our state’s legislators to pass some state laws, Like a helmet law (which North Carolina has)? I doubt bikers would boycott an entire state as they did one small city.

And what about drinking? All of South Carolina has a huge problem with alcohol and drunken drivers. How about some stricter enforcement of those laws, some stronger penalties? How many lives might be saved with a helmet law and stricter drunk driving penalties? And what’s wrong with a strong muffler law for all vehicles ? Why does a large SUV or van or big pick up purr like a kitten but a toy like a motorcycle roar like a lion?

It’s the weakness and cowardliness of our state’s legislators who are responsible for the problems on the Grand Strand, not a single city with few resources to handle them. Our legislators need to consider the safety and well being of their constituents instead of their ratings in the polls. They need to pass serious laws to cope with serious issues.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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