The South Carolina Supreme Court has overruled that the City of Myrtle Beach's motorcycle helmet law. The ruling that came down Tuesday morning invalidates the ordinance.
Thad Viers, a state representative, was the lawyer representing bikers who sued the city claiming the ordinance requiring helmet use is unconstitutional. Viers said he was told the Supreme Court's decision was unanimous, but declined to comment further until he had a chance to read the court's decision.
At the center of the suit was this question: Does the City of Myrtle Beach have the power to pass a mandatory helmet law when state law requires only those younger than 21 to wear one? In other words, does or can a city ordinance supercede state law?
The City of Myrtle Beach's lawyers contended that state law doesn't address helmets for riders 21 and older and since the law is quiet, they feel the city's law doesn't contradict anything.
Myrtle Beach says it passed the laws because of the overwhelming stress on local resources when the bikers come to town.
A spokesman for Business Owners Organizers to Support Tourism, a Grand Strand business group supporting the lawsuit, said he was pleased with the decision but not surprised. Tom Herron called the decision a hollow victory. "The damage was done two years ago, when the ordinance was passed," Herron said. "It proves the ends do not justify the means."
To read the ruling, click here.