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Has the Myrtle Beach area gone too far with the Atlantic Beach Bikefest? | Point/Counterpoint

Frank Evans pauses in the street, adjusts his pants and begins to move to the music pumping from a nearby vendor booth during an Atlantic Beach Bikefest rally in this file photo.
Frank Evans pauses in the street, adjusts his pants and begins to move to the music pumping from a nearby vendor booth during an Atlantic Beach Bikefest rally in this file photo. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

It’s Memorial Day weekend. Time to remember those men and women, whether we’ve met them or not, who have served our country and preserved our freedoms and made our lands safe for generations ahead.

But in Myrtle Beach, it means time for barricades and bikers. Since 2015, Myrtle Beach and the state of South Carolina have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars protecting the visitors and locals from a sometimes unruly crowd of tourists.

But the barricades and lack of access to the ocean at night come as a shock to tourists of the area. So, it’s prompting us to ask: Has the Myrtle Beach area gone too far with the Atlantic Beach Bikefest?

Demekiah Brown comments on Myrtle Beach's 23-mile traffic loop put in place for Atlantic Beach Bikefest and Memorial Day weekend. Her comments are similar to many others heard this week.

Yes, it has

Open your mind and go down to Ocean Boulevard on Memorial Day weekend. You’ll find loud music, people joking, laughing and having fun. Gasp!

Ask a tourist this weekend if they knew that Myrtle Beach, one of America’s top family destinations, was going to be like this — barricades, loops, bikers and limited beach access. The answer is likely ‘No.’ Those who own timeshares get the weekend for great point discounts (ask around) and you won’t find glossy pictures of steel barricades lining the beloved Ocean Boulevard in any pamphlet or tourist website. Why?

Is it because the chamber, the city and other officials are ashamed of the way they think they have had to police this group of bikers? If so, I don’t think locals will feel comfortable with how far officials have gone to police this predominantly African American event until they are transparent with the people who spend money to visit here on Memorial Day weekend.

No, it hasn’t

If you make a nice bed, you sleep in a nice bed. If you make a messy bed, you live with your consequences.

Some bad apples have proven that they do not know how to act in public. And we’re not just talking the shooters. YouTube “Best of Black Bike Week 2013 Myrtle Beach” and you’ll see the amount of people our law enforcement had to try and control. Keep looking and you’ll find the middle-of-the-road parties people would have on Ocean Boulevard. They would stop and have a party whenever they would feel like it. Does that sound like a controlled crowd?

People who have traditionally frequented Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day have had trouble following socially accepted rules. Just because they’ve spent money here means we’re supposed to roll over, let them do what they want to do, spend our resources cleaning up their mess and say thank you?

They made their bed — time to put this Bikefest to sleep.

Watch 24 hours of Bikefest sped up to under 20 seconds as filmed from a hotel on Fourth Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard.

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