Breaking News. City Of Myrtle Beach Helmet And Eyewear Ordinances
Declared Invalid.

During the last 2 years a lot has been said and written in this Blog about the City Of Myrtle Beach trying to discourage motorcycle rallies in the City and around. For this purpose Myrtle Beach passed  a number of ordinances and amendments dealing with rallies and motorcycles, one of them being the Helmet And Eyewear Ordinance. A group of individuals cited by the City Of Myrtle Beach police for not wearing the requisite helmet and/or eyewear while traversing the city filed lawsuit against the city, petitioning for having these ordinances declared invalid. The Supreme Court Of South Carolina heard both parties argument on February 3rd, 2010 and published its judgment today June 8, 2010.

To determine the validity of the local Myrtle Beach ordinances, the Court had to make 2 decisions. 1- did the local government have the power to enact the local ordinance, and if so 2- is the ordinance consistent with the constitution and general laws of this State.

Because State Laws already require all riders under age twenty-one to wear a protective helmet and utilize protective goggles or a face shield, the local Myrtle Beach Helmet And Eyewear Ordinance requiring all riders, regardless of age, to wear a helmet and eyewear is in contradiction with State Laws and declared invalid. In addition, it’s invalid because riders opting not to wear helmets or eyewear in other areas of the state would be obliged to carry the equipment with them if they intended to pass through a city with a helmet ordinance like Myrtle Beach. In contrast, local Myrtle Beach ordinances regarding parking of trailers on public streets or unlicensed private lots remain in effect.

Bikers, if you are above age of  21 you can again cross the city of Myrtle Beach without wearing a helmet. Full judgment by jumping (no helmet required) to State Of South Of Carolina In The Supreme Court. “Aakjer, et al v. City of Myrtle Beach” (thanks Rogue)

24 Responses to “Breaking News. City Of Myrtle Beach Helmet And Eyewear Ordinances
Declared Invalid.”

  1. 1 Chief Waldo Jun 8th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    It just might be fun to hold a “SC Supreme Court Decision” ride through Myrtle Beach…

  2. 2 Slimy Louie Jun 8th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Myrtle Beach is invalid. Could you imagine if every town could adopt it’s own laws. It would be the end of free travel in the U.S. – one town would ban pants on the ground, another tats, still another woman with bit tits . . .

  3. 3 fuji Jun 8th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Ok, So who wins and who loses ?

    Take a ride if you will trough Myrtle beach, good chance is that your exhaust will be an alternate reason for another infraction or any other of how many.

    One would stand a better chance riding through town two up with Jeff Nicklus and my semi nude sister.

  4. 4 just my opinion Jun 8th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    The next law that needs to be shot down is that ” anti filming the cops law” maybe the attorneys that over turned this one would be willing to give those laws a few hours of needed attention.

  5. 5 live2rideaglide Jun 8th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Hey guys. It kinda makes you proud to be an American and a biker. Hey all you Myrtle Beach communists maybe next you can go after the Girl Scouts. Kudos to some judges who had the insight and the guts to support the real law of the land. I doubt that this in anyway changes the minds of the comrades in MB, NOR DOES IT CHANGE MANY BIKERS attitudes , it just feels good.
    Down with facists , up with freedom and the biker brotherhood. glidin-free. Peace.

  6. 6 Tyler Jun 8th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Does it really matter? The painful truth is Myrtle Beach DOES’NT really want bikers in their city! They have proven this time and time again. Amazing to me with the current state of the economy that any biker event “HOST” city would continue to deter our hard earned money into their city.

  7. 7 Jeff Nicklus Jun 8th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I am happy the law was over turned, however, Myrtle Beach will not be seeing me anytime soon!

    Over & Out,


  8. 8 BadMonkeyMW Jun 8th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    The Hot Fist of Justice just went right up MB’s ass. Feel the burn, baby.

  9. 9 hpierce Jun 8th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    decision came through right after the rallies were over this year. and i don’t think that’s by accident at all. still not going into the city if I can help it. I will be in North MB in a couple of weeks, might be hard to do.

  10. 10 Todd8080 Jun 9th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    The SC Supreme Court really had no choice in their verdict, the helmet law was clearly unconstitutional. If they’d have been crazy enough to uphold it, the litigants would have simply appealed to a higher court (and undoubtedly won).

    They did have a choice as to when to announce their verdict, though, and as has been speculated in several news articles, it looks as though they purposely waited until both 2010 rallies were over, giving the City of Myrtle Beach two years of rallies squelched by illegal ordinances, purportedly as a “political favor.”

    I’ve followed this whole fiasco very closely since the City Council first made known its plans to dismantle the 70-year-old rally. They may have destroyed the rally but they’ve also destroyed the future of their city in the process.

    Property taxes keep rising to cover lost revenue, business are closing and many, many Myrtle Beach residents are very unhappy.

    Incidentally, the City of Myrtle Beach just got rid of all their police Harleys and replaced them with quieter oriental bikes. Why? Because even stock Harleys couldn’t pass their own ridiculous new noise ordinance.

    So before you start thinking it’s now cool to breeze through Myrtle Beach lidless, you may not get a helmet ticket but if you’re riding a Harley don’t expect to get by without a fine of some sort. Somebody’s gotta make up for all that lost revenue.

  11. 11 Scott Jun 9th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Just what is the fascination with the yuppie mecca of Myrtle Beach? If you don’t like how they operate don’t go there! It really is that simple. Quiterbellyakin and move on with life.

  12. 12 Boss Hawg Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Although I live a very easy & beautiful country/coastal ride away (3-1/2 hrs) and MB used to be a must attend, unfortunately MB bull shit drove me and my com-padres away. It used to be mandatory that we did the spring and fall rallies, plus display at times.

    However, as it is by choice, if you do go, you should take heed to Fuji’s comment regarding noise, etc… Jeff Nicklus and my semi nude sister….love it

    Fact is there are many more great venues that love to welcome us with open arms.

    Boss Hawg

  13. 13 Scat Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I’m confused. Does state law require or not require helmets and eye protection? The article says state law requries both.

  14. 14 Cyril Huze Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Scat. Only if you are under 21.

  15. 15 Paul Revere Jun 9th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    >>If you don’t like how they operate don’t go there! It really is that simple.<<

    The problem with that is who the hell are they to essentially wall themselves off from a particular class of Americans? This kind of stuff ignored is the beginning of worse to come. And there are several issues every American should be jumping all over:

    The cops and cameras thing is a given. What we really need is a law stating a police officer cannot legally point a weapon at anyone, at anytime, for any reason, unless they intend to employ deadly force. When did it become okay to do this when in one case out of ten thousand it's actually warranted. I can live with it being un-holstered and pointed down but screw some twenty year old kid that points a loaded automatic at me just because I'm on a Harley.

    Those "motorcycle only" checkpoints we all hear about in up-state New York. Man, 200,000 of us should be camped out on the Capital steps in Albany over that one. (And a case of the slippery slope in action because we all rolled over and accepted sobriety check points.) Which, while yes, there's an upside to them, they are unconstitutional as hell. Hello, you can't pick and choose your freedoms! (You can spot these types easy enough. They're the ones who bag on the ACLU for supporting the rights of someone they don't happen to agree with.)

    Free speech zones? Damn, don't get me started on that one . . .

  16. 16 bigalyts Jun 9th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Let all the Myrtle Beach “Wasps” bite each other!

  17. 17 RidinWind Jun 9th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    It was good while it lasted. I am sure many bikers will stay away from the city. Ya just don’t know what you might get stopped for. I run straight pipes, so Im scr$!ed

  18. 18 just my opinion Jun 9th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Myrtle Beach is dead put the dirt in the grave already.

  19. 19 Bikers of Lesser Tolerance Jun 9th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    A number of Bikers of Lesser Tolerance members were parties to the litigation that led to the Supreme Court decsion, along with many other bikers, biker rights advocates and freedom fighters who defied the Myrtle Beach municipal helmet ordinance. The Myrtle Beach ordinances were unique in some respects, including the City’s motivations for enacting them, but this was not the first time that muncipalities have sought to enact anti-motorcyclist city ordinances, and it it likely won’t be the last. The Salt Lake City mayor sought a similar helmet ordinance in the semi-free state of Utah, the same preemption argument was made, and the Mayor ultimately backed down. Various cities, including the city of Delray attempted to enact municpal noise abatement ordinances, banning bikes from certain upscale streets, lowering proscribed decibel levels, and raising fines above those provided by state law. Each attempt was thwarted by the preemption argument, and it is important for riders throughout the country to be knowledgeable about preemption when confronting municipal oppression of motorcyclists.

    Preemption simply means that where the state has enacted a law, and it explicitly states or if it can be reasonably inferred that the state intended to control the subject matter of the law, that any conflicting municipal law enacted on the subject is void as a matter of law. The South Carolina Supreme Court inferred that the state “21 and over” law was intended to control the subject matter, and therefore, the Myrtle Beach local ordinance, requiring that all riders, regardless of age, wear helmets, was preempted. And rather obviously the state intended the “21 and over” law to control the subject, as the Supreme Court inferred. Clearly the state so intended. To rule otherwise would countenance varying helmet laws from municipality to municipality with riders permitted by state law to ride without a helmet required to carry helmets, and then pull over and put them on every time they cross a municipal boundry.

    As it applies to municipal noise abatement ordinances, these too are susceptible to the preemption argument, as the states have enacted noise abatement ordinances. The preemption argument was brought to the attention of the City of Del Rey and immediately it ceased its efforts to enact the ordinances.

    Preemption is a very easy legal argument to make. Indeed, all that is required is to juxtapose the state law against the conflicting municipal law, and any biker group can present this argument informally to the Mayor or City Council or City attorney, before the ordinance is enacted, or formally, in a simple injunction or declaratory relief proceeding. There is no requirement that witnesses be called. Rather, the case is susceptible to determination “as a matter of law” which is why, I suspect, the Supreme Court took the case up without the necessity for a “fact finding” trial. Usually the fact that the legislature intended the state law to control the subject matter will be obvious, as in the case of helmet laws and noise abatement laws, rather obviously preempting conflictng municipal ordinances. But in points and authorities the lawyer or bikers, appearing in pro per, can elaborate by pointing out the obvious, that state law was intended to control across the state, as otherwise riders permitted to ride without helmets would be required to conform to inconsistent municipal ordinances, with the attendent necessity to carry helmets, or specific types of helmets to comply with the particular city ordinances. Similarly with regarde to state noise abatement laws, the obvious can be pointed out, that the state laws were intended by the state legislature to apply throughout the state, as otherwise riders would have to remove and install pipes with lower decibel levels to travel across the state through cities requiring bikes to meet lower decibel levels. And then, if the attorney or riders in pro per want to get really fancy, they may consider the legislative history surrounding the state law, and as with an over-21 helmet law, for example, certainly a compromise was reached between legislators who would have preferred freedom for all, and on the other side, those legislators who would have preferred that all riders wear helmets. And then, I think the court should again see clearly that a municipality should not be permitted to overturn a compromise arrived at by the state legislature.

    To be clear, Bikers of Lesser Tolerance opposes all helmet laws, including over-21 helmet laws. We do not consider that the government should so paternalistically intrude upon the freedoms of any rider old enough to ride a bike. We are organizing in South Carolina, we are actively fighting the law in North Carolina on constitutional due process grounds, and we are actively fighting in the courts in many other states, from California to Michigan, and we do not accept that a returning veteran old enough to decide to put his life in danger to fight for his country should be told upon his return that he isn’t old enough to make the decision to ride without a helmet here at home. We must never accept the status quo, if that means that any of our brothers are denied freedom. BOLT will never accept compromise. South Carolina is not a free state. There is more work to do. And the work won’t be done until all riders are free to ride free of state government intrusion upon our rights as a communiity of older and younger riders to decide whether or not to wear a helmet. Semi-free is semi-shackled, semi-oppressed, semi-enslaved. Those who are willing to compromise the freedom of any of our brothers are the enemy, whether they wear suits or leather jackets.

    Ray Henke
    Bikers of Lesser Tolerance

  20. 20 Mark Infield Jun 10th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Good Job Ray! I would also like to remind everyone that this case sets a HUGE precedent for the whole country. It is a victory for us all on the road to total freedom. Please remember that Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Firm VOLUNTARILY came to the protest and took on the fight for FREE. They spent countless hours and dollars on research, filing legal documents and mailings to all involved BECAUSE TOM SAW THE INJUSTICE in Myrtle Beach’s action against us. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude and loads of respect for stepping up to the plate in this fight. In case that you were not aware, the city attorney filled charges against Tom with the bar association charging him with encouraging and participating in illegal activity for attending this protest. There is no escape from these allegations and Tom has to defend himself before the bar association and I think you know that is serious. I am not sure if those charges will be dismissed due to the favorable verdict, but it is still something that he endured for the cause. Our cause.
    I think a little note of thanks to Tom and is staff is in order. You can send it to Matt Danielson at:

    Proud to be BOLT
    Mark Infield
    Editor / Owner
    The Carolinas’
    Full Throttle Magazine

    We are bikers who publish a magazine, not publishers who own motorcycles!

  21. 21 Hank Jun 14th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Only a moron would not wear a helmet!

  22. 22 Bigwoody Jun 14th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    A moron with a 160 I.q.sorry Hank,have ridden for forty-five years. Served in Military,worked a lifetime,,still lidless.
    Why don’t You move to Myrtle Beach, they supress individual freedoms.

  23. 23 burnout Jun 14th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Gonna be in Myrtle for 10 days starting this Sat (6-19). 13 yr old baseball tourney. Takin my 97″ S&S with V&H 2into 1 pipe. Will let you guys know if I have any trouble! peace

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