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Protesting new helmet law

February 25, 2009

Protesting new helmet law

Bikers are gearing up for a protest run against new ordinances in Myrtle Beach.

In South Carolina, if you’re 21 years old or older, it’s your choice to wear a helmet.

This Saturday, some bikers say they’re choosing not to wear a helmet in Myrtle Beach, even though it will be against the law.

“What most people don’t understand about motorcyclists is most of the time you see a large group of motorcyclists together they’re usually running and riding for a charity,” said Tom McGrath, motorcyclist attorney. “This run will be a protest that says look, we are here, we are over 21. The law of the state says we can ride free, that is we can choose to wear or not wear a helmet.”

Saturday, a Myrtle Beach law goes into effect that requires all riders to wear helmets inside city limits.

The city passed a number ordinances aimed at bikers because of resident’s complaints, and to get rid of bike rallies.

“We don’t look forward to the month of May turning into a bike month. It’s already three straight weeks and we’re ready to be done with that,” said Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach’s spokesperson.

Bikers aren’t ready to be done with helmets, though, and this Saturday they will ride into Myrtle Beach, past helmet required signs, likely, without helmets.

Myrtle Beach Police are aware of the helmet freedom run, and while the department doesn’t plan to staff extra officers in anticipation of perhaps hundreds breaking the law, officers do plan to enforce the helmet law.

A citation is $100, or offenders can go to an administrative court.

McGrath said he will represent them for free. “Because I believe in what I’m doing and I think that it’s wrong, and I think when there’s a wrong, people can’t afford attorneys.”

He’s already told bikers to have current tags, their license and registration, and he’s given tips on what to do if pulled over.

Those participating in the ride say it’s not just about helmets, it’s about freedom and fighting for their state-given rights.

Bikers haven’t announced their route yet. They say there is no one organizer of the event, and it’s up to each biker whether to wear their helmet.

For a list of all the new Myrtle Beach Ordinances, click here:  New Ordinances

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