After years of soul searching, beach tents have been banned. Much has been written on both sides of the issue but the majority of the people using the beach and most of the residents, are against tents on the beach. That should mean something to the officials in charge of beach rules.
In the minds of the people with whom I have discussed this issue, the beach is a place where the ocean scene dominates and, where there is swimming, relaxation, recreation and fun. Tents blur the image most of us have when we say “we are going to the beach.”
Likewise, leadership in the towns and cities of the Grand Strand should now heed the real world results regarding the bike rallies. The majority of families who visit the beach and especially those who live here, are overwhelmingly against the bike rallies. Note that bikers are welcome by most everyone but not the bikes and the rallies. Bikers bring their bikes to the beach and generally they do not come to enjoy the beach itself in any way. Instead they visit the sites that have games, bike competitions, noise making and drinking.
The headline statement by Gov. Nikki Haley in The Sun News (May 31st), articulates many downsides of the rallies with particular reference to the Atlantic Beach rally. But each rally brings extra police expenses, accidents, deaths, legal incidents, some obscenity. The perceived value of the rallies is generally negative. The rallies are clearly a loser for the beach. The rallies hold back the development of our beach as a family, golfing and recreational destination. So, let’s now do what we have been trying to do for decades and outlaw all “bike rallies” at anytime, period. It may be easier said than done but it can be done and other cities have done it.
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The violence over the Memorial Day weekend gives us a great opportunity to take the necessary steps to get rid of the rallies, which cause so much stress, damage and worse. The rallies will always tarnish the very image we “say” we are trying so hard to create. Most restaurants and stores lose much more business during the rallies than any benefit that may accrue to the few bars and other sites that cater to the rallies.
So, let’s focus on the beach as a family oriented destination. Let’s walk the talk and eliminate those beach attractions that have been allowed for so long and tarnish that family image. Let’s make changes to ensure that our beaches will not be a haven for trouble makers, drugs, excessive partying and violence with the residents being the losers.
The millions of visitors each year make problems for sure with traffic, etc. This can be expected in a resort area. Each wave of visitors brings in its own culture and we should promote and nurture the positive aspects of groups and families that come to the Strand. Otherwise, our Grand Strand beaches will never be a jewel on the sea or an emerald on the coast.
Our leaders have shown a will to do what is right with their actions to ban beach tents. Let them all now step up to the plate and outlaw bike rallies — period. Let the bikers buy land and build their own “Rally City” in the desert.
The writer lives in Little River.