Coastal Alliance looks ahead to 2016 Bike Fest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Coastal Alliance met for the first time in 2016 and Memorial Day Weekend Bike Fest was the first item on the agenda.

Immediately following last year’s Memorial Day Weekend, several state and local agencies were asked to submit feedback on what worked and what didn’t work. Those comments were then compiled into an after-action report. Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster presented the report to the Coastal Alliance Wednesday.

Last year, the group created a task force with the goal of providing a safe environment for the community, participants and public safety personnel.

“We achieved that goal,” stated Webster.

However, he said there is room for improvement.

“I don’t want people to think oh we did so well this past year, lets not worry about it this year,” he explained.

The twelve page report lists recommendations made by various agencies, including better communication between command posts and with the public.

“These people that come in that do not know it’s Bike Week leave with an attitude ‘we’re never going back’ and we’ve got to make sure that we nip that in the bud,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.

He’d liked to see hotels inform visitors about Bike Fest before they make a reservation.

In reference to the 23 mile traffic loop, the report calls for additional information to be sent to taxi cabs and tour buses, and designated golf cart and moped exits.

“We had issues at the airport the first night. How do we make sure we get that information out,” added Webster.

The After Action Report didn’t include any feedback from bike fest participants.

“A lot of the challenges with the entire event itself is it’s not an organized event, so you can’t really reach out to one person or one group and say ‘hey, give me your feedback,'” said Webster

Statistics show a decrease in violence during last year’s event, and Mayor Rhodes hopes to keep that momentum going.

“With the cameras that we have today, it’s going to be a tremendous help in controlling activities,” he said.

The task force will meet and begin preparation for this upcoming Memorial Day Bike Fest on January 14.

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