Harley riders are looking to change up their usual haunts during the Cruising the Coast Spring Rally, particularly since some of their regular hangouts have closed including SBB Four Corners and H.B. Spokes.
“We are seeing some interest in some other areas that we haven’t seen in a long time since those establishments are closed, namely in restaurant row,” said Randy Webster, director of Horry County Emergency Management.
No special use permits have yet been issued for Harley Week that begins May 15, or Bikefest which follows on Memorial Day weekend, but Webster says the interest shown so far indicates a change in destination for Harley riders.
The interest in special use permits isn’t growing in numbers, just shifting in location.
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“Nothing alarming at this point,” Webster said. “There is typically activity at the mall there or some of the other larger night clubs in the area.”
Webster was referring to the Myrtle Beach Mall, which also hosts events in the parking lot for Bikefest, renamed this year as the Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival.
The news came as Webster gave Horry County Council officials an update on Bikefest Task Force activities, which included an improvement for how the traffic loop will operate near the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
There were significant issues last year for passengers trying to leave the airport or make their flights, and taxi cabs were scarce, Webster said.
The issues were caused by the 23-mile traffic loop created two years ago that was intended to control biker traffic through downtown Myrtle Beach. The loop runs in front of the airport.
A new communication plan between county airport officials and the Myrtle Beach Police Department is in place “so we don’t have to run into that again,” Webster told councilmen.
“The biggest issue is that last year, the taxi service wasn’t there for whatever reason, so they’ve worked now more closely with them,” Webster said.
Police and airport officials will constantly monitor the situation this year to take quick corrective action to get folks into and out of the airport quicker, Webster said.
No changes have been made to the traffic loop this year. However, if traffic is not heavy, the loop restrictions would be lifted earlier like last year’s event, after a tropical storm forced bikers to abandon the roads.