Traffic loop will return for 2018 Bikefest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The first meeting of the Bikefest Task Force was held Wednesday, and officials said it will be business as usual when it comes to handling this year's event over Memorial Day weekend.

That means the 23-mile traffic loop that runs along Ocean Boulevard and goes through other parts of Myrtle Beach will remain intact, despite a lawsuit against the city filed by the NAACP.

"This is our fourth year as a task force and each year we've gotten more and more accustomed to what we are doing every year, so it's really down to a science," said Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster. "And every one of the subcommittees know what to do over time throughout the year, so when we come to a meeting like today, it's pretty, well, simple. There is not much to do, not much to change, and overall it's really the same thing we've done every year."

The traffic loop began in 2015 as a response to the violence of the 2014 Bikefest, where three people died in shootings along Ocean Boulevard. It runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

NAACP officials have called the traffic loop "23 miles of shame, 23 miles of humiliation and 23 miles of discrimination."

Last month, the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the city of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Police Department, claiming discrimination against African-American tourists during Bikefest, which is also known as "Black Bike Week."

The suit alleges there are "stark differences in the treatment of African-American bikers during Black Bike Week compared to the treatment of majority-White bikers during Harley Week."

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