There are many people who are homeless in Horry County who depend on their bicycles daily. They make life a whole lot easier when trying to move from place to place around the city, and they are also one of the most cost-efficient ways of getting around. There have been many folks in the past who have complained about how sometimes the local authorities mess with the homeless more than other citizens, mainly for things like loitering, sleeping in public, etc. So, it’s good to not give them another reason to bother you by knowing and obeying the bicycle rules in the city.
One of the main bicycle rules that I’ve seen broken by many of the homeless on the Grand Strand (especially in Central Myrtle Beach) is the one about lights. If you’re riding a bicycle at night, you’re supposed to have a red light on the back of your bike and a white light in the front. I’ll never forget a few years ago I got pulled over for a moped violation (I’ll put together an article on moped rules soon, by the way). During the stop, I had to park my scooter on the street, and go to Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center for that night. I met a guy in there who said that he was locked up only for not having those lights on his bicycle. I remember the police officer who let us out of the cell the next morning was casually asking us why we were locked up as each of us exited the cell door and walked towards the courtroom. When the fellow told him that the only reason he was behind bars was because of not having bicycle lights, that cop shook his head and said “Damn, they really must have been bored out there last night if they locked you up for that…”
Both the guy and myself got let out on a PR (Personal Recognizance) bond, meaning that neither of us had to pay any money to get let out of jail that morning. But, still, it was just a huge waste of time, all because he didn’t have a red light and a white light on his bicycle. If you don’t have them, don’t pay any money at a department store for them! Every dollar that you have right now while you’re homeless in Horry County is precious, so go down to Myrtle Beach City Hall and pick up a set of them for free.
Another rule that I see broken all the time is the one about riding your bicycle on the sidewalk where pedestrians are. Yes, it’s true, bicyclists are not allowed to ride there. They’re supposed to use the designated bicycle lanes, or stay as far to the right of the street as possible when riding. I don’t know how many times I’ve been walking and all of a sudden had a bicyclist roll around me on the sidewalk from behind. Most of the time, I don’t see them until they are actually going around me, because they don’t yell or ring a bell or anything. And, if I was a step or two to the left or right, they probably would have ran right into me! Police can also stop you if you don’t get off your bike at pedestrian crossings and walk it across the street, because it’s against the law to ride it across at those crosswalks.
Although this is the dead season, and there are considerably less cars on the road this time of year, as a bicyclist you still have to be aware that some drivers are irresponsible behind the wheel. And, being that business has slowed down on the beach, cops are picking up people more and more people for the smallest violations. That being said, be sure that you’re following all of the bicycle rules of the city, especially if you depend on your bicycle as much as many of the low-income and/or homeless in Myrtle Beach do on a daily basis.