North Myrtle Beach City Hall

North Myrtle Beach City Hall. Photo by Christian Boschult 

North Myrtle Beach City Council will likely place restrictions on times bicycles and other similar vehicles can be used on public beaches.

If it passes a second reading during a future council meeting, bicycles, tricycles or similar human, gas, or electric powered wheeled vehicles would be banned on public beaches from May 15 to Sept. 15 between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to public documents.

John Griffiths, a North Myrtle Beach local, said that he hopes the city will take more time to study just how potentially dangerous bikes are on the beach.

"I think they should study it first and see if there really is an issue before we make an ordinance that completely bans an activity that people have been enjoying for years," he said.

Council discussed the proposed amendment during its Wednesday public workshop. The possibility of enforcing a speed limit on such vehicles was discussed, but a speed limit restriction may not happen.

“Due to the fact that it may be hard to really enforce a speed limit, we are not very interested in at this time putting on a speed limit, as much as we are [interested] in controlling the hours,” Mayor Marilyn Hatley said during the workshop.

May Lauzon with the police department said during the workshop that she believes bikes are not an issue during high tide because there is less compact, wet sand available for riders to use.

“Most e-bikes have a hard time getting through the soft sand,” she said.

Lauzon also noted that e-bikes often are not able to exceed 20 miles per hour and that such bikes have a hard time getting even close to that speed when being operated on the sand.

Kelly Williams, owner of Myrtle Beach Electric Bikes, spoke during the workshop and said that she supports there being a ban on the times at which bikes can be used. 

Williams also said that mostly people over 45-years-old rent e-bikes from her business.

Hatley said that she is not worried about businesses that rent bikes, but rather, tourists and locals that own their own e-bikes. 

Councilman Fred Coyne said during the workshop that “we are a victim of our own success,” meaning that because North Myrtle Beach is such a popular tourist destination, the beaches become crowded in the summertime, which makes the operation of bikes and similar vehicles on beaches potentially dangerous.

The next city council meeting will be on Feb. 20 and this topic may be on the agenda for a second reading.

Reach Bryn by email or through Twitter with the handle @BrynDEddy. 

 
 
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