Organizers of the Black Bike Week website and Facebook page are encouraging motorcyclists to return to Myrtle Beach on Labor Day weekend to end the summer “how it started.”
A private Facebook group, “Bike Week Round 2,” recently was created and had more than 1,300 members as of Wednesday afternoon. Organizers said Thursday the event will likely draw several hundred attendees, but nothing like the size of the Atlantic Beach Bikefest during Memorial Day weekend that lures several hundred thousand visitors to the Grand Strand.
“We want to end the summer with a bang and end it how we started, in MYRTLE BEACH!” read a message to those who signed up to receive emails from BlackBikeWeek.us. “We want to get as many people together as possible to enjoy riding, relaxing and partying [Labor Day] weekend!”
I think that [website] tried to do that last year and we did not see any effect [on crowds].”
Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea
The event is being promoted as “one last ride” to be held Sept. 5 to 7.
Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said the city is aware of the information circulating on Facebook and keeping an eye on it.
“I think that [website] tried to do that last year and we did not see any effect [on crowds],” Kruea said.
Clarence Middleton, who moderates the Black Bike Week Facebook page, said this was the first time he’s publicized a Labor Day event. Middleton is not affiliated with the event.
“A few people close to the area are going to [Myrtle Beach to] enjoy Labor Day Weekend,” Middleton said. “It’s not a bike rally – more like a get together.”
1,376 Members of private “Bike Week Round 2” Facebook group as of Wednesday afternoon and could not be found on Facebook Thursday atfernoon
Jermaine Brown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., said he and a group of friends decided to invite motorcyclists to join them in Myrtle Beach on Labor Day weekend.
“There are only going to be, like, 300 to 500 people at the most that come,” he said. “It’s not going to be a big event like [Memorial Day weekend]. It’s mostly for the people who weren’t able go for Memorial Day.”
The Facebook group was suspended as of Thursday afternoon, with Brown saying the organizers wanted to discuss how to proceed to ensure the event doesn’t get too big.
Myrtle Beach police said they also have an eye on the possible event.
“We’re monitoring [the event] and will be prepared if there’s an unexpected increase in visitors that weekend,” Myrtle Beach police spokesman Lt. Joey Crosby said.
Grand Strand officials took a number of steps to curtail crime during Memorial Day weekend, when Atlantic Beach Bikefest – colloquially known as Black Black Week – takes place. In 2014, three people died and seven were injured in eight shootings on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day weekend.
This year, officials spent millions of dollars, vastly increased the number of officers from other jurisdictions that helped Grand Strand police patrol the area and implemented an overnight 23-mile traffic loop that routed drivers and riders away from Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach officials called the weekend a success and police reported 300 fewer arrests made and citations given this year compared to last year.
Weapons offenses dropped from 23 to six this year and there were two reported shootings – one with injuries and one without.