Over the past year, controversy has swirled over the Myrtle Beach Spring Rally. The City of Myrtle Beach has enacted new laws and regulations that seek to limit the activities of the bikers including a new helmet law. The city has made it plain that they do not welcome the idea of the Spring Rally, but its voice seems to be falling on deaf ears.
  Last week the Carolina’s Harley Davidson Dealers Association announced that it will hold its spring rally May 15-16 in New Bern.
  “This new venue will allow us to get back to basics and offer our existing and new customers a rally experience they will appreciate without restrictions and with the ability to enjoy the freedom of riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” said Mark Cox, the association president.
  {mosimage}With all eyes focused on New Bern, the city’s officials have thrown a warning flag.
  Tom Bayliss III, the mayor of New Bern, said that he was told the dealer rally will draw less than 4,000 “older people” and their families to the historic port city. The current plan calls for the rally to be set up outside the city limits at the fairgrounds. Bayliss said that an influx of thousands of bikers, the number that usually hit the Grand Strand during Bike Week, would not be welcome or easily accommodated in the smaller locale.
  “We couldn’t handle it. There’s no way in the world,” said Bayliss, who is also a rider.
  He pointed out that the city lacks the sheer number of hotels needed to accomodate the influx and the entertainment venues needed to enterain the attendees. Unlike Myrtle Beach, which is a resort town geared toward providing entertainment to its guest, New Bern is more of a sleepy coastal town. It’s historic streets are not known for the wildness that usually ensues at bike week.
  It is that rowdiness that has led to the restrictions by the Myrtle Beach government. Last year a Coastal Carolina University student was killed during one of the many rallies that occurred at the beach in a dispute over a parking space.
  While many of the Carolina’s bike enthusiasts are still planning on making the trek to Myrtle Beach, city officials breathed a sigh of relief following the announcement by the association.
  “The issue for the city has been that we’ve had two or three … back to back motorcycle events that occupied 20 straight days and that’s too much. So, we’re not going to be in the rally business in May,” Mark Kruea, a city spokesman said.
  Earlier this year, the city and its chamber of commerce lauched a Web site stating that bike rallies were over in the city. It remains to be seen whether bikers will honor the city’s wishes or not. The question to be answered locally is: When May rolls around, where will you be?
  Please send your comments and feedback on the issue to editor@upandcomingweekly.com
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