Businesses, officials weigh in on spring rally, look ahead to Bikefest

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office issued 892 citations during the spring Harley rally, according to spokesperson Jason Lesley.

Lesley said rain is the likely factor that kept some traffic off the roads during the rally. For others, it may have helped.

The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office will approach the Atlantic Beach Bikefest this coming weekend with the same care and plan of action as Harley Bike Week.

Owners of The Beaver Bar said they did better the first weekend of the rally compared to the second, but overall, it was a great event.

"It doesn't matter to us. We have such a large venue with the pavilion and with the bar. We do really well when it rains," said Leslie Beaver.

She said the rain can sometimes help business pick up.

"I think they're bored stuck in a hotel room, and they get in their car and come to The Beaver Bar for good food and good entertainment," she said. "They come and then they're here and it rains and they're stuck."

The Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire District said call volume overall this year for rally week was down, but calls for crashes were up.

Fire Chief Norman Knight said there were 142 total calls this year compared to 165 last year. However, this year there were calls for 19 motor vehicle accidents to last year's 16.

"They weren't as active over the course of Friday and Saturday as they normally are in the past, but I think too that over the course of the last couple of years we've seen a clientele that comes down here that is a little more safer in their idea of getting around," said Knight.

Alison Burns, director of the trauma center at Grand Strand Medical Center, said they take certain steps to prepare for the big bike events across the Grand Strand.

According to Burns, they experienced a 20 to 25 percent increase from last year in the total volume of trauma patients for this year's rally compared to last year.

"Generally our preparations for any of our bike months is to look at historical volumes," she said.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said their agency was mainly monitoring traffic in Murrells Inlet. He added the weather affected the rally, especially the rain on Saturday, but for the most part traffic was fairly quiet.

According to Collins, there were no fatal crashes in Murrells Inlet during the rally.

As the Harley Rally fades out, Atlantic Beach Bikefest gears up at the end of this week. The judge in the case filed by the NAACP against the city of Myrtle Beach, which references the 23-mile traffic loop, has not yet made a ruling about the loop's future.

Capt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said they have a variety of contingency plans in place, but at this point they just have to wait and see what happens and how exactly the judge rules.

Crosby says about 427 officers will be called in from outside agencies to help out for Bikefest, which is down from around 500 extra officers last year.

According to Crosby, many agencies across the state are facing shortages and need their officers for events happening in their own communities.

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