MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Bikefest is in full throttle, and with the thousands of bikers here from all over the country, it means more traffic and safety precautions.
Although people understood the reasoning behind the loop, bikers said they would rather get off their bikes and walk the boulevard, because the traffic is simply too overwhelming.
Ocean Boulevard was a ghost town overnight because many were not happy about it being a one-way street. Some bikers said it was hard to get around and thought the barricades were unnecessary.
Those who were new to Bikefest said they knew of the traffic loop before coming this year. People said those familiar with the event usually do not have problems, because visitors either already know what to expect or just simply know how to get around it.
However, some worry it will keep newcomers away next year, because Bikefest is not the same.
"We do not see the cars that we used to see, we do not see the girls that we used to see, the people like the traffic, we like being out here all night," a biker said.
The barricades also made it hard to miss all of the police presence on Ocean Boulevard. Although officials were either directing traffic or simply staying visible, bikers could not help but question why the loop is only in effect for Bikefest and not Harley week.
Police said the idea behind the 23-mile loop is to keep traffic moving. However, some bikers who have come to Bikefest for years said they thought the purpose of the event is to watch the motorcycles slowly cruise by as the riders show off their bikes. With police eliminating the two-way traffic pattern, it defeats that purpose, bikers say.
One biker said the police presence just doesn't make bikers feel very welcome in the city.
"It's definitely too many police out here, I'm scared of myself and I ain't even doing nothing wrong, I'm just scared," a biker said.
Many believe Bikefest is all about having a good time, meeting new people, and checking out all the other bikes.
Although some visitors may not be the biggest fans of the traffic loop, a majority of bikers say it won't get them down.
The traffic loop will continue through Sunday from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.