“Quiet and successful”: City of Myrtle Beach leaders give takeaways on 2019 Bikefest

Grand Strand

City of Myrtle Beach officials call this year’s Memorial Day Weekend Bikefest quiet and successful. 

For three nights in a row, the city did not enact the controversial 23-mile traffic bike loop– saying it wasn’t crowded or busy enough for it. 

Last year the city closed the loop down early two of the nights and didn’t implement it at all the third night. 

Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen said Tuesday the city’s goal for Bikefest is the safety of residents, visitors, and staff. 

“From that perspective I think this was a big success,” Pedersen said. “I think that the numbers were down, it’s a more manageable event, we didn’t have any significant injuries to our staff.”

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock noted it was quiet on the law enforcement side of things too.

“Not a lot of issues with crime,” Prock said. “We did have some traffic collisions, some serious injuries, but we felt that went very well other than those incidents.”

Some blame the lighter traffic on the return of the 23-mile traffic loop, one-way traffic diversion on Ocean Boulevard, and barricades on the side of the street. 

Many bikers told News13 over the weekend they were frustrated with the restrictions. 

“I got the beach this way and barricades this way. Why? Why would I want to pay for that?” One biker questioned. 

Police Captain Joey Crosby said if there’s not a need for it, putting the loop in place could actually make traffic worse. 

“Because the traffic conditions were flowing along Ocean Boulevard we made the decision not to implement the traffic pattern.”

Crosby said because Bikefest is not a permitted event it’s hard to predict what kind of crowds they will get. 

“We have to look at previous crowds, what’s happening over years past, because it’s not something like the Sun Fun Parade or Shriners Parade where you know exactly how many people will be coming into town.”

The exact number hasn’t been released, but officials say there were fewer bikers this year than the anticipated 100,000.

The department is still putting together numbers and data from this weekend, and after that’s compiled they will determine areas that can be improved upon. The city and MBPD will begin setting up the 2020 Bikefest plan in a few months. 

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