On average 201 motorcyclists are injured during the spring rallies. Seven will die. Half of all annual traffic fatalities in Myrtle Beach occur during the two-week bike rallies. No amount of blood money for the few justifies this cost in human suffering.
– Oct. 12, 2008, letter by Myrtle Beach resident Tom Rice, before he became Horry County Council chairman or U.S. congressman
For years, those who oppose Myrtle Beach’s bike rallies have pointed to the annual loss of life that accompany them as one of the primary reasons to end the annual gatherings. It’s been years since a spring rally has taken place without leaving behind a family grieving the loss of a loved one.
But this past week offered the hope that it might actually be possible to invite thousands upon thousands of motorcycles to the area without knowing that someone will die as a result.
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What made the difference this year? Was it the good weather? Was it smarter riders? Was it more attentive drivers? Was it our well-prepared and fast-acting law enforcement? Nobody’s quite sure. Perhaps a fortunate combination of all of those, with a sizable helping of good luck.
Whatever the reason, now that we know it’s possible, it’s a result that we hope continues year after year.
But we’re not counting our chickens quite yet. No, we’re knocking on wood, crossing our fingers and wearing our luckiest ties. When a pitcher has a perfect game going in baseball, the rest of the team refuses to talk to him for fear of jinxing it or getting in his head. We’re tempted not to call up the police for the next few days if that’s what it’ll take to keep this streak going. Because the rallies continue, with no rest for public safety officials. Thousands more bikers will be roaring into town this weekend for Atlantic Beach’s Bikefest. Many have already started showing up.
Can the area make it through another weekend with no fatal motorcycle crashes? Please.
Drive safe out there. Look twice – or three times – before pulling out into traffic. Budget a little extra time to get to your destination. Rallies shouldn’t mean somebody’s death; let’s make sure they don’t this time.