It’s déjà vu all over again for the NAACP.
The civil rights organization is suing the City of Myrtle Beach and the city’s police department over the restricted route set up for the upcoming Bikefest 2018, also known as Black Bike Week.
Fifteen years ago, a similar suit was filed and ultimately led to a settlement. The city and the NAACP agreed on a traffic flow plan for Bikefest that kept everyone happy for a few years.
But that plan expired, and, in 2015, the city introduced a new traffic plan – one the NAACP claims discriminates against the motorcyclists who participate in the event.
Different Rallies, Different Rules
For riders during Black Bike Week, the city designates a restricted, one-way, 23-mile loop that starts and ends at 29th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard. For the Myrtle Beach Bike Week Spring Rally, which involves mostly white motorcyclists, the city does not impose similar restrictions.
In the lawsuit, the NAACP claims the route violates black bikers’ rights and that the city has a greater and more aggressive police presence during Black Bike Week.
City officials say the restrictions, which were introduced after a Memorial Day shooting left eight people injured, are necessary to control traffic during the event.
Haven’t We Done This Already?
In 2003, the NAACP sued the city over a similar plan that required participants in Black Bike Week to stick to a restricted, one-way traffic plan.
A federal judge agreed that the two biking events were treated differently and issued a preliminary injunction. The city appealed, but the two sides were able to reach an agreement. A new traffic plan was developed and used for both bike rallies for five years.
The NAACP says the city has gone back to how they used to do things and is putting more restrictions on black bikers than white bikers.
Stay Safe When Your Ride
If you plan to ride in either of the upcoming motorcycle rallies, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The convergence of souped-up vehicles, heavy alcohol consumption, big crowds, and unusual traffic patterns create an environment ripe for accidents.
One rider from last year’s Bike Week rally has filed a lawsuit against Horry county and two state agencies. He claims the signs that were placed to keep bikers on the designated route led him to a road that was unsafe for motorcycles, and that he crashed as a result.
While route restrictions can contribute to accidents, it is usually the carelessness of another driver that causes motorcyclists to crash. Drivers are accustomed to looking out for other cars and trucks, and often they don’t even see motorcycles until it’s too late. Sometimes, they don’t even look.
Motorcycles provide far less protection than other vehicles, and motorcycle accidents often result in horrible injuries and even death.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Here are some tips for staying safe on your motorcycle:
- Ride defensively – Don’t rely on other drivers to keep you safe. Keep in mind that other drivers may not see you – or even look for you – and approach intersections with care. Use your turn signals, and don’t follow too closely.
- Ride sober – Alcohol and other drugs slow your reaction time and increase your chances of using poor judgment.
- Ride with your helmet on – Even if you ride sober and stay alert, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t have an accident. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces your chances of a catastrophic injury.
- Ride with confidence – Take a state-approved motorcycle safety course and increase your skills.
Motorcycle Rallies in Myrtle Beach:
- Myrtle Beach Bike Week Spring Rally, May 11-20
- Bikefest, also known as Black Bike Week, May 25-28.
SC Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Myrtle Beach, call your personal injury attorney at Coastal Law immediately, before you speak to anyone representing an insurance company. We can help you get compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damages, and any other expenses that are compensable and caused by the other driver’s negligence.
Call the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Coastal Law, LLC, today at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to find out how we can help.