February 11, 2013

Horry County cracks down on burnouts, language, dress code for Myrtle Beach area bike rallies

Meeting goes off without any objections. Those who fought ordinance last year says no money in coffers to offer resistance this time around.

An Horry County Council committee meeting to review the county’s biker rally rules and expectations lasted all of 15 minutes Monday, with few questions and no direct objections.

Some biker bar representatives don’t agree with the county’s ban on burnouts, a maneuver where stationary motorcycles rev their engines and spin their wheels.

Some residents who live near bars that allow outdoor burnouts have complained about the noise, and Horry County Public Safety director Paul Whitten said at the meeting that others said they get fallouts of particulate matter from the burning rubber of the tires.

Brent Schulz, chairman of the committee, referred to county attorney Arrigo Caratti questions about how the burnouts are different from the tire spinning that race car drivers do a Myrtle Beach speedway if they win a race. Caratti said the two are different enough to regulate just the motorcycle burnouts, and noted that the speedway has been in business a long time.

The rules that will apply to the rallies this spring are the same ones that were announced for rallies last year, Whitten said several times.

At least one biker bar fought the no burnout rule in court and won a temporary injunction against it being enforced in 2012. Whitten said after Monday’s meeting that the injunction is no longer in affect and that the lawsuit that led to it has been resolved.

The county’s rules apply to five outdoor activities and some general issues. The specific activities that are regulated are amplified sound, beer and wine sales, stunt shows and Dyno machines, burnouts and tents. The regulations set the hours the activities may take place, prohibit profane language and speak to the way employees and visitors must be dressed, among other things.

Any business found breaking one of the regulations could have their permit revoked and be forced to close for the rally.

The rules are written as points for special event permits, which is why they apply to bike rallies and not to speedway burnouts.

Bill Barber, events director at Suck Bang Blow, a popular biker bar, said Horry County is making selective laws for biker weeks.

Barber said SBB spent a lot of money to get last year’s restraining order against burnouts and has no money to fight it this year.

He said burnouts do not hurt the environment. The spinning wheels don’t change the chemical composition of the tires’ rubber and that any dust created falls to the ground at the burnout area, he said.

“Jet engines make more noise and (airplanes) burn more rubber when they land than we do all week,” he said.

He said that the burnout rule will mean fewer bikers attending rallies in Horry County, which will result in less revenue for the bar and the county.

“This is supposed to be a tourist community,” Barber said. “(Bikers) are all tourists.”


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