South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Myrtle Beach Helmet Law

American Motorcyclist Association

**PICKERINGTON, Ohio, June 10, 2010 **-- In a victory against motorcycle discrimination, the South Carolina Supreme Court has struck down a Myrtle Beach, S.C., law that required riders to wear helmets within the city limits, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. The measure was one of more than a dozen designed to keep motorcyclists out of Myrtle Beach.

The city passed the law in 2008 despite a state law that allows motorcyclists 21 or older to choose to ride with or without a helmet. The City Council had passed 15 laws and amendments at that time targeting motorcyclists who attended week-long bike rallies in the Myrtle Beach area, ranging from the helmet requirement to a ban on loitering in parking lots, in an attempt to keep riders out of the city.

The state supreme court, in a decision issued on June 8, said the Myrtle Beach helmet ordinance was pre-empted by state law.

"We find that the City Helmet Ordinance fails under implied field preemption due to the need for statewide uniformity and therefore issue a declaratory judgment invalidating the ordinance," the high court ruled.

"It is regrettable that the city of Myrtle Beach felt the need to alienate motorcyclists with the law, especially since motorcyclists had supported businesses in Myrtle Beach for years during rallies," said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. "But we're pleased that the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down the Myrtle Beach law, sending a clear message to all jurisdictions that discriminatory laws against motorcyclists are unacceptable."

The high court issued the ruling in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of about 50 riders who were ticketed for riding without helmets shortly after the new law went into effect.

To read the opinion, visit .

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. For more information, visit

South Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Myrtle Beach Helmet Law