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MB passes rally ordinances

All 15 of Myrtle Beach's proposed bike rally options have become law, though with some modifications.

At this morning's city council workshop, rally proponents raised objections to some details and some entire proposals, like the one that requires riders to wear helmets and protective eyewear within city limits.

Of all the proposals designed to curtail the May motorcycle rallies that draw more than 300,000 to the Grand Strand each year, the helmet law is the least popular among rally supporters.

They say wearing a helmet is actually unsafe and that the city's rule making noncompliance an infraction instead of a crime still supersedes state law.

That ordinance didn't face any changes before it passed 5-1, with Councilman Randal Wallace dissenting. He has never agreed with the helmet law.

The other ordinances passed 6-0, with Chuck Martino absent.

The city planned on limiting parking to one motorcycle per space, but after bikers made the case for multiple bikes in one spot to save parking spaces for other users, the council at this afternoon's meeting voted to allow no more than two bikes per public space.

Councilmembers also passed the 2 a.m. bar-closing law, which says any bar that wants to remain open after 2 a.m. must apply for an exemption and make its security, underage drinking and overpouring policies and procedures clear to the city.

But until this afternoon, the council had been planning to require all official security personnel to be licensed and bonded. Councilmembers removed the bonding requirement before passing the second and final draft of the ordinance.

The juvenile curfew will go into effect in 90 days, as will anti-loitering and public drinking rules and more. Other rules take effect immediately, like stricter noise standards and adding rallies and other unpermitted, unmanaged events to the city's list of nuisances.

Lawyers representing some of the businesses that object to the ordinances attended both the workshop and meeting. Suzanne Coe of Greenville, an attorney for The Dog House and The Masters' Club, spoke up several times during both gatherings to warn the city about legal challenges she sees coming.

In the end, though, the city council said it would face whatever legal challenges come up.

Speakers accused the council of discriminating against bikers, attorney Beth Marlow of Charleston, representing Harley-Davidson of Myrtle Beach and Festival Promotions, registered her objections to a variety of ordinances, including the one that allows the city to hold promoters of events that spill over into the city liable for the city's expenses.

But she said after the meeting that she doesn't anticipate filing any motions to try and stop the city from enforcing the new laws -- yet.

For more on this story, read tomorrow's Sun News.

This story has been edited since its original posting.

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