Chamber considers curfew, social media campaign for Bikefest 2015

Published: Jun. 20, 2014 at 5:03 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM EDT
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MYRTLEB BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is back at the drawing board, making plans against Bikefest violence.

Chamber President Brad Dean says this is not a biker issue, but rather a behavior issue, and other things besides adding more law enforcement need to start happening.

Dean says the Chamber noticed Bikefest was promoted a certain way on Facebook. Some posts encouraged people to come to Myrtle Beach and do whatever they want. Dean feels this goes against what the Chamber works hard to do daily. They promote Myrtle Beach on social media as a family-friendly destination.

The Chamber is now planning on joining the conversation.

"It's social media gone bad," Dean said. "It's a very viral promotional event that's promoted organically by the attendees. We want to turn that model around."

The possibility of curfews was also discussed in Thursday's Chamber meeting. Adding a city curfew has been a topic of conversation since the violence Memorial Day weekend.

One local lawyer does not think a curfew is the answer, especially if sending out the right message is a concern.

"Once we start putting a curfew on Myrtle Beach, we are admitting that we are a beach that's not safe," says Jim Irvin, Senior Partner at The Irvin Law Firm.

Irvin feels this would send a red flag to the millions of people that visit Myrtle Beach each year. He says curfews can go both ways. Some believe they can help police officers focus on other crimes that may be going on, but others feel that it's a waste of time and police babysit the youth.

Dean says the Chamber notices there is a younger generation involved in the Bikefest craze which is why they plan on using an outlet they are constantly connected to: social media.

Dean believes starting this campaign sooner rather than later will help get the message out that people coming to the area for Memorial Day weekend need to obey the city's laws.

Bike Fest may or may not be canceled next year, and Dean feels with Atlantic Beach's reluctance to end the event, it is the surrounding local leaders' responsibility to start preparing for next year regardless.

Chamber President Dean says a curfew and a social media campaign are amongst many things being talked about right now and even though it's a year away, they need to keep brain storming ideas for a safe Memorial Day 2015.

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