Bikefest crowds shifting down the Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The combination of two bike weeks and Memorial Day make the month of May, arguably, the busiest time for traffic on the Grand Strand.  It takes a lot of money to pay for public safety employees during this time, also.

Just between the two spring bikes weeks in 2013, Horry County spent about $300,000 on a combination of police, fire rescue, sheriff's office, detention center, and traffic court employees.  The cost of the two bike weeks runs about the same for the county, even though the Spring Rally is broken down into seven to 10 days and Bikefest is considered five.

Meanwhile, North Myrtle Beach said is spend more than $95,000 on overtime cost during Bikefest last year. The city adds there is no link between events during bike weeks and crime, but said the number of traffic violations does increase during this time which is attributed to population growth.

Sergeant Jeff Benton with the Horry Count Sheriff's Office said it is important to remember this Memorial Day weekend that the crowds will be everywhere, not just in Atlantic Beach.

"The bikes and the families that come along with those bikes are staying everywhere from Surfside to Murrells Inlet on up past North Myrtle Beach and Cherry Grove," added Benton.

Long time Bikefest veteran Ted Thomas said the younger bikers tend to stay on the southern part of the Grand Strand which Thomas said has changed over the years.  But Thomas said Bikefest veterans tend to stay in Atlantic Beach.

"I believe a lot of bikers in bike clubs and veterans to bike week gravitate to North Myrtle Beach just because this is near the festival and they understand bike week is Atlantic Beach bike festival," said Thomas.

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