Highway Patrol: Drivers should 'expect a motorcycle to be everywhere'

Bikers in Murrells Inlet. / Lisa Edge

We're now into the busiest time of the Spring Harley Rally on the Grand Strand. With the influx of bikers and tourists combined with the people who live here, law enforcement is working hard to keep the roads safe.

"No fatalities so far on the Grand Strand during this rally. As of Friday afternoon we have worked ten collisions involving a motorcycle but certainly no fatalities at this point. We're pleased about that but we do know that tonight and Saturday will be the biggest nights and we need to get through that," explained LCpl. Sonny Collins with Highway Patrol.

For decades crowds of bikers have traveled from all over the country to the Grand Strand for the spring rally. There's plenty to do and everyone is here to have a good time.

"Being around bikes, fellow bikers, of course you can't forget the good looking women that come with them," said Sam Raileanu. He and a group of friends arrived in town on Wednesday.

In the midst of the revelry, crashes occur. The biggest safety feature the Harley has going for it, is its unmistakable roar, but that's not enough.

According to Collins the biggest mistakes drivers make are pulling out in front of a motorcycle and making a left hand turn in front of them. Raileanu knows that all too well.

"Car pulled out in front of me. I avoided the car and pulled off the road. Flipped a couple times. Really wasn't too bad," he said. "That's what makes it hard about riding a motorcycle. You have to watch out for yourself and them. But it's still enjoyable, it's still fun. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

"For our motorcyclists you have to drive within your capabilities on a motorcycle. Typically when we have a crash involving them they're going too fast not paying attention possibly drinking alcohol and then driving a motorcycle. So always drive defensively we need both groups to do their jobs as move through these last 48 hours of the rally," added Collins.

Highway Patrol has increased the number of officers in town. They're looking for reckless drivers and also directing traffic in congested areas. Officers are also passing out flyers as part of the Ride Smart campaign.

"The goal is to get everybody in town, have a good time and get everybody home safely," said Collins

If you see a driver or a biker driving recklessly or erratically to call *HP (47).

Once the Harley Rally wraps up on Sunday, we'll have a break, then more bikers will head into town for Memorial Day weekend for the Atlantic Beach Bike Fest.