Myrtle Beach contributes $50,000 to NAACP as part of bike week settlement

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 3:12 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The city of Myrtle Beach and the NAACP have reached a settlement in a lawsuit surrounding the traffic loop that is implemented during what is known as “Black Bike Week.”

The NAACP filed the lawsuit in 2018 which accused the city of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Police Department of implementing policies that discriminate against the mostly Black attendees of the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.

The lawsuit alleged that bikers are trapped in a 23-mile traffic loop and that they have seen a militaristic police presence that is implemented by the city and the police department.


The NAACP argued that the same policies are not in place during “Harley Week,” where the majority of the attendees are white.

While the city argued that the purpose of the traffic loop is to keep bikers moving safely, and it’s only used for 12 hours during the Memorial Day weekend. The city also noted in court documents that in 2018 the traffic loop was only used for four hours and in 2019 it wasn’t used at all.

The lawsuit was heard in federal court in December 2020, and neither the verdict nor the judgment in the case awarded monetary damages or granted injunctive relief. Instead, all parties took part in court-ordered mediation and all parties agreed to resolve the issue.

As part of the settlement, the city will have a traffic engineer and public safety consultant review data and make recommendations for inclusion in the city’s operations plans for the Atlantic Beach Bikefest during the 2022 Memorial Day Weekend.

The city said it intends to use input from the consultants in any way that will help manage the weekend more effectively.

“Our goal is to develop safety plans that will allow visitors and residents to enjoy themselves while also providing safeguards to ensure public safety,” City Manager Fox Simons said. The city also will compile traffic and crowd-related data. Further, as previously announced, the city is hiring a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion employee, showing our commitment to increasing staff diversity and inclusiveness. The DEI officer will serve as the staff liaison to the Human Rights Commission, which will receive input from the community, the Police Department and other city departments about the operations plans for Memorial Day Weekend.

Also, as part of the settlement, the city is making a $50,000 contribution to the NAACP.

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