As bikes come to town, law enforcement watches dangerous roads - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Officers watch hot spots on roads as bikers roll in

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Huge numbers of bikers and motorists are streaming into the Grand Strand for the holiday weekend, but with so many vehicles on the road, some of the area's most dangerous intersections could become even more treacherous.

"It all comes down to the driver," said L. Cpl. Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. "If everyone does what they're supposed to do correctly, there would be no accidents at these intersections."

Busy and dangerous intersections in the Grand Strand all share some common traits: high volume of traffic, high speed, and multiple lanes on either side. Some of the busiest ones, like the intersection of Highways 17 and Highway 22, 21st Avenue North and Highway 17 Bypass, and Highway 501 and Robert M. Grissom Parkway, are all in the area heavily frequented by Bikefest patrons.

"You might think you're a couple of bike lengths ahead," said biker William Keyes. "You turn your head to look, and they're right up on you. You have to judge yourself pretty often."

One of the most common accidents involving motorcycles usually includes a car trying to turn left, while one or more bikes are approaching in the oncoming lane. Since motorcycles are so small, it can be difficult to judge just how far away it is.

"If you see that motorcycle coming, make sure you look at it really well and judge it's speed," L. Cpl. Collins said.

Motorcycles also brake faster than a car, so there needs to be plenty of distance between vehicles. Bikers also say they have difficulty making left turns because they have to lean into the turn. If the vehicle in front of them stops suddenly, that could cause trouble for the whole intersection.

"If you've got to stop right quick and hit the brakes," Keyes said, "you've got a chance to slide right out from under you."

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