Fewer motorcycle crashes during spring rally this year
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has reported fewer motorcycle-related traffic accidents during this year's Harley Davidson Cruisin' on the Coast Rally than in years past, despite yesterday's fatal accident that is still under investigation.
The police do acknowledge, however, that the busiest portion of the rally usually occurs Thursday through Sunday of the Biker Week. They are projecting that Saturday will be the busiest day.
So far this year, there have been 11 reported crashes involving motorcycles since May 7. Last year, there were 24 wrecks total during the Harley-Davidson rally, including three fatal crashes.
The death of James Marlow, 28, of Florida Thursday afternoon when he was rear-ended while slowing down to make a left turn by an Oldsmobile is the only serious accident to be reported.
The lack of motorcycle-related crashes could be due to the lower turnout of motorcyclists in the Myrtle Beach area this year. New helmet laws and other ordinances passed in Myrtle Beach in 2008 that discourage rallies have had an effect on the numbers of bikers appearing for Biker Week in 2009 and 2010, much to the dismay of Myrtle Beach tourists industry employees and vendors.
This year's turnout is down in comparison with the past, but similar to the numbers in 2009. Traffic, for the most part, has been running smoothly, even on U.S. 17 Bypass, which in past years has had standstill traffic. Many bikers are steering clear of Myrtle Beach, and gathering near the south end, especially Murrell's Inlet.