Ohio tourists traveling from the Landmark Resort to Broadway at the Beach, on a clear and sunny Sunday afternoon told our team that the south end of Myrtle Beach had been loud and ugly all day.
A rain soaked Sunday night lead to a quieter Myrtle Beach as the clouds opened up just before 10 p.m., precisely when the loop forcing bikers into the communities of Carolina Forest and Forestbrook were to be put in place.
MyrtleBeachSC.com reached out to County Councilmen Johnny Vaught and Council Chair Mark Lazarus at 4:28 p.m. after continuous complaints had come in all Sunday morning from county residents as to why the loop ran through their neighborhoods, but not in the Myrtle Beach Golden Mile.
County Councilman Johnny Vaught told our team, “The traffic pattern for the loop was designed by public safety professionals whose job it was to provide safety for the participants with minimal disruption of the lives of all residents of the county. In my estimation it has worked well.”
MyrtleBeachSC.com could not be certain if a call was then made into the city or if city politicians had a change of heart. On Sunday night May 28th, fences were put up only around ocean boulevard. The traffic loop did not force bikers into the county.
On Saturday night, however, the loop did extend into the county. The loop drives traffic away from the Golden Mile of Myrtle Beach. Memorial weekend along the Golden Mile was one of the most tranquil of our entire area. Families walked the beach on Sunday as noise could only be heard in the far away distance. It could not be heard on the oceanfront beaches of the Golden Mile at all. We filmed at around 7 p.m. before the loop was in place. There were no bikers in the area. Paid parking and the loop had sent a strong message to bikers. Stay out of the Golden Mile.
Horry County along the loop and downtown Myrtle Beach were much different.
“If they are going to run this through our neighborhoods, why not the Golden Mile?” said county resident Barbara Skipper. “Maybe we should start calling it the privileged mile,” she added.
Last Fall, Hurricane Matthew did extensive beach erosion damages to the Golden Mile area. Those damages will cost millions to repair. While county residents are not allowed to park in that area, through federal taxes, state and local taxes, each are on the hook for some of the costs of beach re-nourishment to repair the damages done there.
Rich Malzone, of the Horry County resident group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe said, “Why is the bike loop not on the Golden mile? The city of Myrtle Beach counts the county population when they want to recruit businesses. They have no problem running the bike loop through our neighborhood. But yet they won’t let us park at the beach” (Golden Mile area).
County residents insist that the 2018 loop should not run through or on county property. Residents told us they do not wish to continue being caught up in the ongoing drama between black bikers and the city of Myrtle Beach.
One North Myrtle Beach politician, who asked not to be named said that Myrtle Beach City Councilmen, which include Randal Wallace and Mike Lowder, are simply not up to the challenges of solving the city’s problems.
The bike loop draws a lot of national attention to the city, putting a large focus on the city of Myrtle Beach instead of Atlantic Beach and surrounding beach towns.
County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus did not respond to our request for comments.