The intersection of 29th Avenue North and Oak Street was supposed to be ignited by giant floodlights and echo with revving engines. Supposed to.
This year was much different from other Memorial Day weekend nights at the intersection during Bikefest. Myrtle Beach officials declined to use the designed traffic loop Friday night because of sparse traffic. The decision impacted one family, which has gathered at the intersection for more than a decade to watch the scene.
“I was expecting more traffic,” said India Rogers. “We were expecting the loop, and with the loop comes more traffic.”
Rogers owns Flowers by Richard at the corner and about 10 family members — ages 3 years old to much older — use their property to share smiles over Kentucky Fried Chicken and to marvel at the bikes.
“We shut the doors at 5:30,” Rogers said of her shop, leaving only one reason for their meet-up, “of course it’s for the purpose of watching bikes.”
Rogers said she feels the loop is discriminatory and that it led to the decrease of bike week traffic. Her cousin Steven Richardson and his family travels yearly from Delaware for bike week and to visit family. Richardson said he was harassed in the past by police as he rode. He recalled being pulled over a decade ago and the officer questioned whether his name was real.
The family said they believe the treatment led to the decrease in traffic and left the intersection bare this year. The orange cones never made it from the grass to block the roadway. The large floodlights were turned off shortly after 10 pm. No police officers blocked the cross traffic.
“It looked like a DUI checkpoint,” Richardson said of the area in previous years. Still, the family gathered to see the few bikes it could.
“They want to go to jail, don’t they?” 10-year-old Saniyah Richardson excitedly asked as one particularity loud bike passed.
It was one of the few.