The chutes funneling traffic into Atlantic Beach for Bikefest won't be in place until 4:00 a.m. Friday, but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is already observing police activity and treatment of black tourists on the Grand Strand.
Since 2005, the NAACP has conducted Operation Bike Week Justice every year during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.
The NAACP says, "In recent years, the NAACP and African Americans have filed and successfully settled federal discrimination lawsuits against the city of Myrtle Beach and area businesses for unequal treatment of Black Bike Week visitors compared to those who attend Harley Week, traditionally help one week earlier and a predominately white event."
Mark Kruea, Spokesman for the city of Myrtle Beach, is quick to point out that the NAACP came to the city to settle the lawsuit they filed. He adds that Myrtle Beach was never found to be responsible for discrimination of any sort.
Laying out the terms of the settlement, Kruea says each side agreed to pay their own attorney fees. The city also agreed to implement the same traffic patterns on Ocean Boulevard - from 29th Ave N to 17th Ave S - for three days during both, the Spring Harley Rally and the Memorial Day weekend BikeFest.
Grand Strand officials admit that there is an increased presence of law enforcement officers at the beach during the Memorial Day weekend BikeFest, but that's due to the fact that it is not merely a bike rally weekend. It's also the unofficial kickoff to the summer season and the volume of tourists, who are not simply here for BikeFest but for all the other Grand Strand offerings, is expected to be significantly higher than previous weekends.
Kruea also stresses that the motorcycle ordinances are not limited to one bike rally or any bike rally, for that matter. He says the ordinances apply year round to anyone on any motorcycle.