For the locals just getting back home from their Memorial Day holiday, and tourists having too much fun to keep up with the news, here’s what you missed during the 39th annual Atlantic Beach Bikefest — not a whole lot.
The notorious traffic loop to contain and keep motorcycle traffic moving was never even implemented, presumably because traffic on Ocean Boulevard didn’t get out of hand.
It seems the traffic tie-ups were mostly on Kings Highway from Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach.
Anecdotal information in local news reports and social media suggest there just weren’t as many bikers this year, while some businesses and hotel folks counter they were busy as ever.
We’ll get a better picture of the impact on tourism once the county and local municipalities release their tax collections from May, and compare it to previous years.
Hopefully, local law enforcement will give the public a better idea of how the Grand Strand fared as far as tourism, plus issues with crime this year, and why the traffic loop was canceled every night?
Will we need to spend taxpayer dollars and utilize all that manpower and equipment in future years just to stand-by for a traffic loop that might never happen?
Do local officials need to find a solution to ease traffic next year on Kings Highway?
These are all questions our officials need to be pondering, and preparing to answer in the coming days.
Meanwhile, jail bookings show there were numerous arrests for driving offenses, drug possession, and a couple dozen prostitution arrests.
At least five crashes were reported involving motorcycles. One was a fatality.
One shooting was reported at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at 600 Chester Street.
An unnamed victim was taken to the hospital with injuries, while police quickly apprehended and charged 18-year-old Denardo Sincere Morgan of Myrtle Beach with attempted murder.
The annual problem with reckless and speeding “crotch rockets” persisted, despite a massive police presence along the Grand Strand.
With northbound Kings Highway a virtual parking lot of traffic jams, the southbound lane turned into a drag strip at times, with bikers racing at top speeds between lights.
Young bikers speeding dangerously between cars continued to be a common sight.
We had to slam on our own brakes in the middle of an intersection to keep from crashing into more than a dozen bikers who blew through a stop sign.
The younger bikers are in sharp contrast to the older crowd on their high-end or V-twin motorcycles who are content to cruise at the speed limit, yet historically spend most of their time in Atlantic Beach where the actual festival is held.
It appears the younger crowd decided to join them there this year.