Extra Courts Planned for Atlantic Beach Bikefest

By Paul Gable

Increased numbers of bond hearings are being planned for as the Atlantic Beach Bikefest over Memorial Day weekend draws near.

Part of planning for the weekend includes special bond hearings beginning at 6 a.m. Friday morning and convening every six hours thereafter through Sunday night.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from these preparations is that many more arrests are expected this year.

As the event draws closer, more restrictions are being put in place, more arrests are expected and more detainees in jails are being planned for.

We are quickly running into the area of “be careful what you expect because you’re probably going to get it.”

After Atlantic Beach Bikefest exploded in number of attendees in the late 1990’s, arrests made during that event didn’t differ significantly from the number of arrests made during Harley Davidson Bike Week earlier in May.

In 2009, the Take Back May movement, headed by now Congressman Tom Rice, claimed to have effectively ended both events in Myrtle Beach. And for a couple of years, a number of bikers boycotted Myrtle Beach even if they came to the events.

However, it’s tough for a tourist venue to turn away tourists, something Rice did not understand or care about.

Both events are now back with numbers reminiscent of 10 years ago, but planning for the events is significantly different.

The Harley event will be in town this week and the area will look much as it does during any other heavy tourist week.

The Atlantic Beach Bikefest crowd will descend on what is taking on all the aspects of an armed camp.

Extra preparations such as these don’t necessarily deter unlawful behavior. Extra militarization often brings out the worst from both sides leading to self-fulfilling prophecies.


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