But for many Myrtle Beach residents, including the majority of its elected officials, the moves are a form of self-defense against what they call nonstop civil disrespect – a month-long May invasion that has outgrown its destination.
For bikers, "it's all about trying to find some independence here in America," says William Dulaney, a consultant to National Geographic's upcoming "Outlaw Biker" series. "Why bikers don't like helmet laws and pipe laws, it's all about choice: If states came out and required bikers by law to ride without a helmet, they'd all wear one, it's that funny."
The problem, he says, "is that there's hardly any common ground for the public and bikers to understand each other's perspective."
Cut to Myrtle Beach, the lumberman's retreat that grew into the 89,000-hotel-room jewel of the "redneck Riviera." Last year, citizens groups began a "Take Back May" campaign that saw families and children at city council meetings holding signs that said, "We want our beach back!" What had begun nearly seven decades ago as a three-day weekend rally had become drawn out to nearly a month, with organizers failing to self-police the events, city officials say.
The city's attempts to address issues of noise, lewdness, and massive congregations of bikers resulted in a lawsuit by the NAACP, which claimed that the rules unfairly targeted one part of the festivities: the younger, mostly black sport-bike rally known as "black bike week."