Police ramp up safety measures for Bikefest and Memorial Day holiday

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police will have a more focused approach during Bikefest, and it will mostly be on the north end, from Myrtle Beach through North Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle Beach Police, SLED and other agencies are coming together to patrol Memorial Day weekend.

Drivers will certainly notice it. The South Carolina Highway Patrol says it will seem like there are more troopers out than Harley week, but that's just because they'll be in concentrated areas. Police warn traffic is the heaviest in the afternoons and at night.

"Traffic is a very big issue," explained Captain Mike Baldasarre with North Myrtle Beach Police. "So it's easier to plan for because you know it's going to be there. So we have traffic control points. So we can plan for things like that and make sure traffic flows," he added.

Police say if you're not coming to Bikefest, your best bets for moving smoothly are Highway 31 and Highway 22 this weekend. There will be a heavy police presence through Monday.

"This is the 34th year," said Lewis Clark, one of the daytime event organizers. "So we think there's some significance of having a rally of this magnitude with the number of individuals that show up."

Last year North Myrtle Beach Police alone dealt with more than 1,000 calls for service. Between police and the highway patrol, they had to handle more than 30 accidents, and more than 5 people were killed in fatal accidents. It should be no surprise that one of the biggest issues police will focus on during this weekend are the traffic problems, because it usually leads to more issues.

"Mostly reckless driving," said Baldasarre. "People that are upset about sitting in the traffic waiting. And especially motorcycles they'll cut through traffic and cut through lanes which is you know really, really unsafe."

There haven't been any fatal accidents so far during this year's bike rallies, and police hope with stronger enforcement this weekend it will stay that way.

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