Nikki Haley’s About Face on Atlantic Beach Bikefest

By Paul Gable

It seems that Gov. Nikki Haley’s thinking with respect to the Atlantic Beach Bikefest has begun to enter the realm of reality.

After meeting with several local government leaders yesterday, Haley told the media everybody was working together to see that bike week (Atlantic Beach Bikefest) “is safe, that it is law abiding and that it moves forward.”

Haley said discussions were very productive and “we are now working on traffic issues, noise ordinances and all of those things on how we need to go forward…”

In four months, Haley’s public pronouncements about the event have progressed from demanding the end of Atlantic Beach Bikefest, immediately after the end of the 2014 Memorial Day event, to “looking forward to an event where everybody can enjoy themselves without breaking the law.”

Haley’s progression is a positive development because, maybe, she now understands that she has no power to unilaterally cancel an event over which state government has no control. Actually, she has no power, either, to unilaterally cancel an event over which state government does have control.

Haley was in Horry County yesterday to celebrate the Grand Opening of StarTek’s new building in Carolina Forest. But, it’s campaign season, and questions about Atlantic Beach Bikefest inevitably come up, so Haley meeting with local government leaders is good public relations.

However, the success or failure of controlling events next Memorial Day will rest totally on the shoulders of local government leaders regardless of Haley’s intermittent involvement.

They are the ones who will have to agree on joint, cooperative policies to attempt to maintain better control than we saw last Memorial Day weekend.

Toward that end, it seems that county council members are beginning to coalesce around the traffic plan introduced by council member Marion Foxworth yesterday. Several have voiced support for the plan as the one that makes the most sense for routing traffic while still leaving options open for public safety and local travel.


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