Beachside Chats

A woman rides a bicycle by a pair of paintings on display at the Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum and Education Center on Mr. Joe White Avenue. The photograph was taken in the summer of 2020. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

In an effort to save property, allow for bicyclists to secure their bikes and update the city code, Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday gave initial approval to new rules for bike racks.

“What we are looking to do is get bike racks everywhere,” cycling enthusiast Mike Snow said while speaking to the council.

If the ordinance passes a second and final vote, all new or substantial renovations of commercial, civic and subdivisions of more than three lots or containing a common area must have racks for at least two bikes on site. It will also requires that new or renovated areas that do not require on-site vehicle parking let the owners pay the city $600 that will be used to install public bicycle racks.

The Arts and Innovation District, while still being developed, does not require on-site vehicle parking and allows for development up to the property line leaving no room for bike racks. The district continues to be the focus of city leaders as they institute the downtown master plan outlining growth and development.

Snow is from the city’s bicycle and pedestrian committee. Snow rides his bike “hard core,” he said.

He said the pandemic has resulted in many biking for recreation and to commute to and from work. He said the high demand has left bike shops and big box stores with dwindling supplies and long waits for repairs.

And, he added, more bikes mean more bikes locked on whatever the cyclists can find – sign posts, trees, fences, utilities and benches. Those locks can sometimes damage whatever they are strapped on.

Currently the city does not have requirements for bicycle parking.

Kelly Mezzapelle of the planning department said the proposal passed the planning commission unanimously earlier this month.

Snow cited his committee’s 2018 master plan that states investing in bicycling and walking increases property values, creates jobs, attracts tourists and decreases traffic while improving quality of life.

The committee’s master plan states developing bike and walking projects creates 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent contrasted with seven jobs created for every $1 million spent on highway projects.

Council member John Krajc broke in the virtual conversation with a question about the $600 fee. He said he found a seven-bicycle rack online for $375 and another for two bikes selling for $120.

Mezzapelle said the prices don’t include installation. She said the custom-made racks the city has in several locations, including in front of the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center, cost $350 each, but that price does not include installation and hardware.

Mezzapelle added the ordinance outlines acceptable and standard bike rack styles in accordance with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. Those styles, or types, include inverted U's, a post and ring style with a circle made into the top part of the post so bikes can be locked on each side and a wheelwell-secure cradle.

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.

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