Jury finds racial bias behind city’s Black Bike Week route

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Myrtle Beach, S.C., was motivated by race when it created a traffic plan designed to “suck the fun” out of Black Bike Week, a federal jury has found. But the same jury sided against the bikers, saying the city probably would have imposed the plan anyway.

Civil rights groups accused the city of racially discriminating against the Black tourists by treating them differently from white bikers who attend Harley Week earlier each May and who are responsible for many of the same public nuisances, from binge drinking to noise complaints.

The Black bikers have been particularly frustrated by a 23-mile one-way no-exit traffic chute that funnels them out of town during the peak nights of Atlantic Beach Bikefest, otherwise known as Black Bike Week. The city also puts up barricades and increases its police presence in ways that don’t apply to the mostly white bikers during their event, their attorneys said.

The jurors — five Black and four white — deliberated for more than three hours before delivering their verdict Thursday. They agreed that “race was a motivating factor,” but they also found that Myrtle Beach “would have made the same decision anyway, even if it had not considered race in its official actions regarding Black Bike Week.”

Read the rest of the story here: North Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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