Thousands of Harley Davidson enthusiasts will roar into the Myrtle Beach area beginning this weekend to kick off the Cruising the Coast spring rally that began Friday.
Locals and visitors will see bikers congregating at local hot spots along the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet, at numerous vender locations along the South Strand and North Myrtle Beach, as well as at Myrtle Beach Harley Davidson.
In addition to exercising good safety judgment and looking twice for bikers before pulling into a roadway, here are the five things that locals and tourists need to know about the event.
5. Look North, South for venders
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Vendors will mostly congregate along the South and Central Strand area, particularly at the Harley store, Beaver Bar, SBB, Broken Spoke, Coastal Gas, Palmetto Moonshine, Carolina RV, and Mr. Fireworks. In North Myrtle Beach, the vendors will be located at Barefoot Landing. In addition to some artists painting Harleys, there will be some creative souvenirs and cool biker stuff, including helmets, chaps, jackets and other wares for sale, as well as food and beverages.
4. Hotel space is still available
Numerous hotels along the Grand Strand are biker friendly including those listed here, and many will accept last-minute reservations.
Occupancy of area hotels and condos is expected to be the same as last year — about 88 percent full, says Taylor Damonte, director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism.
Just as last year, Damonte says the actual occupancy rate will mostly be determined by the weather. For the 2015 week-long event, the skies were clear with only a 10 percent chance of rain.
3. Expect a little rain
Temperatures will be in the low 80s with a chance of rain showers every day except Monday, according to the Weather Channel and National Weather Service. Passing afternoon showers aren’t unusual this time of year, so be ready to protect that chrome at a moment’s notice.
For motorists, remember to keep an eye out for motorcycles during inclement weather.
2. No traffic loop, but access to some neighborhoods is restricted
No traffic loop or road restrictions are planned, however signs will be posted along some neighborhood entrances advising that no through traffic is permitted.
Expect to crawl through traffic along S.C. 501 into the Myrtle Beach area, as it will be crowded with bikers and vehicles on the weekend, and local traffic during normal commute times, as well as school traffic.
“The best thing you can bring to the beach is patience, you’ll need it because there are so many people in town,” said Pat Dowling, spokesman for North Myrtle Beach.
1. The cops are everywhere, man
Horry County and North Myrtle Beach law enforcement are gearing up with extra manpower. Last year, nearly 50 arrests were reported in North Myrtle Beach while nearly 40 arrests were made by Horry County police officers. Hundreds of tickets and warnings were issued.
“We patrol for safety’s sake. We hand out a lot of warnings and tickets, but we’re mostly looking to make sure that everyone has a safe, good time,” said Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department.
There are numerous restrictions and laws that bikers should be aware of, including a helmet law for riders under the age of 21. Blatantly excessive engine-revving is a no-no, and it’s illegal to wear a thong bikini bathing suit in public.