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NAACP, city move up hearing date to stop Bike Week traffic loop

Traffic jams and the loop irritate locals, bikers at Bikefest

Traffic could barely move on Kings Highway as locals and tourists were aggravated with the traffic patterns and the loop created for Memorial Weekend Bikefest on Saturday.
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Traffic could barely move on Kings Highway as locals and tourists were aggravated with the traffic patterns and the loop created for Memorial Weekend Bikefest on Saturday.

A court hearing to stop a 23-mile traffic loop during Atlantic Beach Bike Week is now set for two weeks before the event.

The NAACP will have the chance to make its case for a preliminary injunction to halt the 2018 traffic loop during a hearing on May 8 at the federal court in Greenville, according to court records. The hearing was initially scheduled for June 5, which would have been after the Memorial Day bike week.

In February, the NAACP and others filed a discrimination lawsuit against Myrtle Beach and its Police Department over the traffic loop. The NAACP also asked a judge to issue an injunction to stop the 2018 loop.

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The loop was first implemented in 2015 for Atlantic Beach Bike Week, commonly referred to as "Black Bike Week." The loop came out of the aftermath of the 2014 violence that left three dead and seven injured from eight reported shootings along Ocean Boulevard.

The loop turns Ocean Boulevard into a one-way road and funnels traffic out to George Bishop Parkway and back to Ocean Boulevard.

City officials said the loop is intended to control traffic, ease congestion and reduce crime. But, NAACP officials say that isn't the case.

Instead, the NAACP argues, the loop is discriminatory and causes people to navigate traffic for hours. They also point to the fact the loop isn't implemented for similar events such as Harley Week and Carolina Country Music Fest.

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